Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido (L) comforts oncological patient Mildred Valera during a special consultation commission meeting at the National Assembly building in Caracas on August 27, 2019.  / AFP /…
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido (L) comforts oncological patient Mildred Valera during a special consultation commission meeting at the National Assembly building in Caracas on August 27, 2019. / AFP /…

WASHINGTON - The United States said Wednesday it has opened a diplomatic mission for Venezuela in Colombia, months after suspending its embassy in Caracas as Washington seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

The Venezuela Affairs Unit, located inside the US embassy in Bogota, will focus on supporting Juan Guaido, the opposition leader whom the United States and most other Western and Latin American countries consider the interim president.

The unit "will continue to work for the restoration of democracy and the constitutional order in that country, and the security and well-being of the Venezuelan people," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The US diplomatic presence in Venezuela will still be sharply curtailed. A US official said the unit in Bogota would not provide consular services such as issuing visas.

The United States suspended operations at its embassy in Caracas in March and pulled out all remaining staff as the political crisis intensified following years of severe deterioration of the economy.

President Donald Trump has vowed to oust Maduro as part of what he calls a campaign to rid the Americas of socialism.

But a half year of US pressure including sweeping sanctions on Venezuela's key export of oil has failed to remove Maduro, who enjoys the support of the military leadership as well as Russia, China and Cuba.