US, UK say Venezuela's Maduro 'illegitimate', Russian Federation and Turkey express support

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to a crowd of supporters flanked by his wife Cilia Flores and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez

Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan's spokesperson, said that the Turkish president called his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday night and told him: "My brother, stand tall, we are with you!"

As expected, the government of Cuba is fully behind its chief economic and political ally, the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, in the stepped-up tension in the South American country, amid renewed massive protests and pressure from the United States and its allies.

"Out! Leave Venezuela. Here we have dignity, damn it", Maduro said, giving U.S. diplomats 72 hours to depart.

The State Department is ordering non-essential diplomats and staff at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to leave the country.

The United States and Britain said on Thursday that Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro is not legitimate, while Russian Federation and Turkey expressed their support to the legal authorities.

To ratchet up pressure on Maduro, who began a second term on January 10 following an election a year ago widely considered to be a fraud, the United States is seeking to cut off funds for his government, USA officials said on Thursday.

"The problem is that we can't recognize somebody who was not elected democratically", said one European Union diplomat.

That was the conclusion drawn from USA contacts with Guaido in the days ahead of his declaration, including two phone calls with Pence, officials said, asking to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party issued a statement on Friday bearing recognition to democratically elected constitutional President Nicolas Maduro. Both countries have also had oil pacts dating back to the 1980.

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Rubio led a delegation of Florida lawmakers to discuss Venezuela with Trump on Tuesday, although an aide said Trump had decided before the meeting to recognize Guaido.

Juan Guaido has said he needs the backing of three key groups: The people, the global community and the military.

A letter by a U.S. Embassy security officer requesting a police escort for a caravan of 10 vehicles was leaked earlier in the day and published on social media by a journalist for state-owned TV network Telesur.

Why has Donald Trump sided with Juan Guaido?

And the family of one former Venezuelan military official who Maduro accuses of being disloyal has been living in Canada.

Even Orhan Osmanoglu, the grandson of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, was among Maduro's supporters.

Tweeting from the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where he and other leaders were attending the World Economic Forum, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said: "Brazil recognises Mr. Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president". "They only have interests, guts and the ambition to take Venezuela's oil, gas and gold", he said, rattling off a long list of US-backed military coups, including in Guatemala, Chile and Brazil.

"I am the only president of Venezuela", Maduro said.

In September 2008, U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy left Venezuela amid accusations by then-leader Hugo Chávez of an American plot to remove him.

The country's top military command has so far remained silent but is expected to remain loyal to Maduro, who has vowed to fight on despite protests, inflation and food shortages which have prompted millions to flee the country.

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