Venezuela denounces US decision to hand over facilities

By Lokman Ilhan </p> <p> <p>CARACAS, Venezuela (AA) – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced the U.S. decision to hand diplomatic premises in Washington to the opposition Monday. </p> <p> <p>The U.S. government gave control of three Venezuela diplomatic premises, two buildings belonging to Venezuela’s defense ministry in Washington and one consular building in New York, to opposition leader Juan Guaido’s representative, Carlos Vecchio.

“Venezuela's diplomatic assets in the U.S. can only be used by the official personnel that represent the government of President Nicolas Maduro, ” read a statement by Arreaza.

He said the decision violates the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Even in a rupture in diplomatic relations, Venezuela respects the U.S. rights on its embassy in Caracas, he added.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions flared when Guaido declared himself acting president Jan. 23 — a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.

Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have thrown their weight behind Maduro.

Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic