Guatemala’s next president has announced that the country will break diplomatic relations with Venezuela. Alejandro Giammattei said on Monday that diplomatic relations with Venezuela will be broken when he takes office in January.
Giammattei won a run-off election back in August and will take over as president of Guatemala on January 14. He confirmed to reporters that his administration will recognize Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela.
Juan Guaido stepped in as interim president of Venezuela earlier this year. Since then, Guaido and opposition officials have been meeting with supporters and the international community to bring a solution to Venezuela’s economic and political crisis.
Guaido is recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 40 countries. Among those countries is the United States, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. Guatemala will join those countries when its next president takes office.
The announcement from Guatemala’s next president comes as the US is bringing more pressure against Maduro and supporting officials. On Tuesday, the US announced more sanctions against officials.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the action demonstrates the US is continuing to maintain its maximum pressure on the former Maduro regime. The sanctions are against five officials.
In the past, the US has brought pressure against Maduro by freezing assets and signing executive orders that prohibit business with the South American nation. Several officials supporting Maduro have been sanctioned by the US in recent years.
The countries supporting Guaido see Maduro as an illegitimate president since he held an election last year without many of the popular candidates of the opposition. The presidential election was originally scheduled to take place in December 2018 but Maduro and officials moved the election to early 2018.
Maduro refuses to step down and claims he is the legitimate president of Venezuela after winning last year’s election. Guaido and Maduro have been in a battle for power ever since the former president of the national assembly announced that he was taking over as interim president.
It’s been nearly a year since Guaido announced to a large crowd in the capital that he would be interim president. During that time, the US has announced several sanctions against the South American country, the latest was an executive order signed in August that prohibits business with the nation.
The executive order forced several companies to leave the country, including Adobe. The company recently returned after it received a license to continue operating. The service has announced that subscribers will receive 90 days of free service. Adobe was one of at least three companies that decided to leave the country when the executive order was signed by the US.
A few days ago, El Salvador ordered the expulsion of Venezuelan government diplomats. The diplomats were given 48 hours to leave the country. The order came after El Salvador’s president said it was not recognizing Maduro’s government as legitimate. Venezuela responded on Sunday, giving Salvadoran diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. El Salvador’s president mocked the announcement, saying the diplomats ordered to leave were part of the country’s previous administration, which supported Maduro.
The recent sanctions from the US aim to bring more pressure against Maduro. But the former president continues to have the support of Russia and China.