Five-Star lawmakers decry European Parliament's recognition of Guaido

04 February, 2019, 17:11 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • What Russia stands to lose in Venezuela

Maduro's call for early legislative voting is likely to intensify his standoff with rival Juan Guaido, who heads the opposition-controlled National Assembly and is demanding a new presidential election.

The United States and a dozen Latin American countries rapidly recognized Guaido after he declared himself acting president in a January 23 speech, posing a direct challenge to Maduro's authority.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores acknowledge supporters at the end of a rally in Caracas, Venezuela.

Mr Maduro's supporters will concentrate in Plaza Bolivar in the heart of Caracas, 10 kilometres from the European Union offices.

Speaking earlier outside the National Assembly, Guaido said he is aware of personal risks, but added, "Venezuela is set on change, and the world is clearly conscious of what's happening".

Mr Maduro, sworn in on January 10 for a second term after disputed elections past year, accuses Mr Guaido of staging a US-directed coup against him.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has talked to the United States about the risks of delivering humanitarian aid to Venezuela without the approval of security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, an official with the agency said Friday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused U.S. President Donald Trump of ordering his assassination while Russian Federation called on Wednesday for mediation in a standoff deepening geopolitical splits.

Violent street demonstrations erupted last week after Guaido during a huge opposition rally in Caracas declared that he had assumed presidential powers under the constitution and planned to hold fresh elections to end Maduro's "dictatorship".

Guaido told CNN that he was appreciative of the U.S. support, which included a phone call Wednesday from President Donald Trump, adding that he has also spoken with a number of other world leaders. "We will not surrender".

While small rebellions against Maduro have broken out in Venezuela's armed forces in recent months, there has been no large scale military uprising against him.

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Self-proclaimed interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido on Saturday said that he will "steer the country to democracy" from the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the South American nation. He considers Maduro's election win fraudulent.

"People of Venezuela, 90 percent of the armed forces of Venezuela are not with the dictator, they are with the people of Venezuela", General Francisco Yanez of the air force's high command said in a video circulating on Twitter on Saturday.

Under Maduro's stewardship, oil-dependent Venezuela has lurched into an economic crisis that has left the country with hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

Bolton, while announcing a new round of sanctions against Venezuela and its state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) at a press conference Monday, carried a notepad under his arm with the words scribbled on the top of a largely blank page.

Guaido has called for a new, fair presidential election after the disputed vote won by Maduro past year.

"We reject the declarations made by General Yanez who betrayed his oath of loyalty to our nation and chose to follow foreign plans", the command wrote.

"The opposition has been willing to negotiate".

Guaido has thus far managed to avoid arrest, and the Supreme Court did not strip him of his legislative immunity, though the new investigation may signal that Maduro's socialist government is moving to take a more punitive approach.

Zeleyka Muskus, a 53-year-old tax collector from Caracas, blamed the opposition for the country's current economic woes, saying that they have staged years of protests that have gotten people injured and killed.

Wirth also said Chevron's refining operations in the US are well-prepared to handle an expected disruption of Venezuelan crude supply due to the sanctions. The Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions on the national oil company PDVSA, effectively blocking Maduro from exporting crude to the USA, and granted Guaido control of Venezuelan assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.

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