PM Netanyahu: Israel recognizes opposition leader as president of Venezuela

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the recognition of the new leadership in Venezuela, joining the United States, Canada and most Latin American and European countries.

“Israel joins the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela”, Netanyahu said.

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Israel reportedly delayed the announcement due to concern over possible repercussions against the small Jewish community in the country.

There are about 6,000 Jews living in Venezuela, down from some 20,000 more than three decades ago. Most left the country for places such as the United States, Canada and Israel, after facing anti-Semitism and economic turndown under Chavez and Maduro.

Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro broke relations with the United States on Wednesday after the Trump administration and many other nations in the region recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, a move that Maduro called a coup attempt.

The United States on Saturday called on the world to “pick a side” on Venezuela and urged countries to financially disconnect from Nicolas Maduro’s government, while European powers signaled they were set to follow Washington in recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.

Earlier Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council: “Let me be 100 percent clear — President Trump and I fully expect that our diplomats will continue to receive protections provided under the Vienna Convention. Do not test the United States on our resolve to protect our people.”

During the debate, which was requested by the U.S., Pompeo urged all nations to end Venezuela’s “nightmare” and support Guaido.