The Venezuelan diplomat Scarlet Salazar, second in the Consulate General of Venezuela in Miami, announced in a video posted on social networks that recognizes Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, as president “in charge”.
In a video published today exclusively by the Venezuelan journalist based in Florida Carla Angola, Salazar called on the other Venezuelan diplomats stationed abroad to follow in his footsteps.
The diplomat promised to continue providing consular services from Miami, whose offices are closed by order of the Government of Nicolás Maduro.
The Consulate General in Miami, which was reopened in 2018 after having been closed for six years by decision of the late President Hugo Chavez, does not respond to telephone calls today.
A recorded message says that you can not answer calls and ask to leave messages.
Exile sources told Efe that the consulate is “empty.”
The sources consulted by Efe indicated that the consul general, Ana Gómez, and other consular officials left the United States after the rupture of diplomatic relations with the United States. announced last week by Nicolás Maduro, who took on January 10 a presidential mandate not recognized by the international community.
On Wednesday, Guaidó proclaimed himself president and the US government. He recognized it as such, what other countries on several continents have also done.
In the video that she recorded on Sunday, Salazar said that she made the decision to recognize Guaidó carried out by the “democratic principles and values” that she has as a career diplomat and attached to “the Constitution and national laws” of Venezuela.
On Sunday, the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, announced that he accepted Carlos Vecchio as Venezuela’s charge of business in Washington, after the opposition was appointed to that position by Juan Guaidó.
“Mr. Vecchio will have authority over diplomatic matters in the United States on behalf of Venezuela,” the US foreign minister said.
Salazar does not mention in his video neither Vecchio nor Maduro.
Vecchio, political coordinator of the Partido Voluntad Popular (VP), the same party of Guaidó and Leopoldo López, has been in exile in Florida for more than four years, due to the fact that he had an arrest warrant related to the 2014 protests in Venezuela, that resulted in violent acts.
His confirmation as head of the diplomatic mission of Guaidó, which the White House recognizes as the legitimate president of Venezuela, points to the formation of a parallel embassy in the US, after the Venezuelan president broke diplomatic relations with Washington .
Maduro ordered the return to Caracas of personnel posted at consulates in the US, but the Venezuelan Defense attache in Washington, Colonel José Luis Silva Silva, announced his break with Chavez and his support for Guaidó.
The Miami General Consulate serves the states of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Last Wednesday in front of the consulate, located on the main road of the financial center of Miami, an open meeting was held to reject the “usurper” Maduro and defend the legitimacy of Guaidó as president.
The Consulate General of Venezuela in Miami reopened at the end of February 2018 in the same offices where it operated until its administrative closure in January 2012.
As reported by the newspaper “El Nuevo Herald”, the reopening was possible after the payment of 145,000 dollars that the Venezuelan State owed to the owners of the offices for unpaid rent since September 2017.
Maduro reordered the reopening on February 14, 2018 so that Venezuelans could register and participate in the early presidential elections that were to be held on April 22 and were finally held in May of that year.
The consulate was closed in January 2012 by order of Chávez following the expulsion of the consul of Venezuela in Miami, Livia Acosta Noguera, by the authorities of the United States.
According to Venezuelan sources in Miami, when the consulate general closed in 2012 there were some 20,000 Venezuelans registered there to vote, but in 2018 the figure had climbed to around 220,000, due to the unprecedented economic and social crisis that the South American country is already experiencing. the persecution of the opponents. EFEUSA