UPDATE: Maduro says he's ending all relations with the United States and is kicking out all diplomats within 72 hours.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence officially recognized Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela Wednesday. As a result, the United States no longer recognizes dictator Nicolas Madura as the country's leader.
The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. Today, I have officially recognized the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. https://t.co/WItWPiG9jK— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
Brazil, Canada, Colombia and others have joined the U.S. in recognizing Guaido.
Yesterday Vice President Mike Pence indicated the administration would be making this move after speaking directly to the Venezuelan people about their ongoing plight.
As the good people of Venezuela make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say: estamos con ustedes. We are with you. We stand with you, and we will stay with you until Democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of Libertad. pic.twitter.com/ThzIAqBoRn— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 22, 2019
The economic and humanitarian situation in Venezuela has suffered tremendously under Maduro, who "won" a rigged election in May 2018. From NPR:
Maduro, 55, replaced Hugo Chavez when the longtime Venezuelan socialist died of cancer in 2013. Since then, Maduro has presided over a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, widespread hunger and a mass of refugees trying to escape the desperate conditions. The country has been further hit by falling oil exports and U.S. imposed sanctions.
Fewer than half of registered voters turned up at the polls, but the opposition, which has boycotted the election, said even that figure was inflated.
Those opposed to Maduro have long maintained that the election is fraudulent, not least because the opposition's most popular leaders — the ones with the best chance of unseating the president — were barred from running.
Demonstrators took to the streets across Venezuela yesterday, demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro and burning a statue of ex-president Hugo Chavez. https://t.co/UEyRyOmlqt pic.twitter.com/9eO8oXIhxB— ABC News (@ABC) January 23, 2019
Maduro, who is an avid Twitter user, hasn't responded. Last year he accused the United States of trying to kill him with a drone at a rally.