Israel recognizes Venezuela’s opposition leader as new president

Netanyau confirmed recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s president, notwithstanding concerns about potential fallout for Venezuela’s Jewish community.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

On Sunday, Israel recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying Israel was joining “the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela.”

Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 and has since strengthened its ties with the Lebanon-based Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Last week Guaido declared himself interim leader on the grounds that socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent.

Jerusalem initially hesitated to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s news president out of fear that there could be dangerous fallout for Venezuela’s Jewish community.

After the U.S. recognized Guaido as the country’s legitimate president, the Maduro regime demanded that U.S. diplomats leave the country. The demand was eventually abandoned, with Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry claiming it extended the deadline for U.S. diplomats to leave following it’s rupture in relations.

It says it will provide a 30-day window for negotiating with U.S. officials about setting up a “U.S. interests office” in Venezuela and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States.

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Venezuela had initially given U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave.

The U.S. for its part refused to accept Maduro’s order to close its Caracas embassy, with U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton sending a new warning to Maduro that there would be “a significant response” to “any violence and intimidation against U.S. diplomatic personnel, Venezuela’s democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself.”