Venezuela's Guaido courts Russian Federation; powers divided on Maduro

Sanctions Donald Trump has ordered action against Maduro

Sanctions Donald Trump has ordered action against Maduro

The official said Maduro and a dozen other Venezuelan officials were standing in the way of a political transition, and the USA government was open to conversations about how to help them leave the country.

Guaido argues that Maduro was re-elected in a sham election past year, and is invoking two articles of Venezuela's constitution that he says allow him as the leader of the national assembly to assume the presidency and call elections when the current president is holding power illegitimately.

Maduro, who has been in power since 2013 and began a second term earlier this month after disputed elections past year, has said Guaido's actions are an attempt at a USA -backed coup.

Guaido declared himself interim president last week before tens of thousands of cheering supporters and vowed to topple Maduro's administration, which he labelled a "dictatorship".

The officer later confirmed he would not give further statements until given authorisation by "the commander-in-chief of the legal armed force which is President Juan Guaido".

Maduro has accused US President Donald Trump and a "group of extremists around him" of plotting to topple him to seize Venezuela's oil.

Pence said the United States was working to get more aid to Venezuela.

"Pursuant to the request of Interim President Juan Guaido, and in consultation with his officials the United States will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid-medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela".

The European Parliament welcomed the decision by "many democratic states" to recognise Guaido as the interim president of the Latin American country, according to the draft resolution.

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"Being here now at this moment, we see hope finally", she said, speaking through a translator.

"For us Venezuelans, there is only one president - President Nicolas Maduro".

Opposition leader Juan Guaido called for demonstrations today to increase pressure on Maduro to resign.

Nervous that Guaido's decision to declare himself president could set an example for other opposition leaders around the world, European Union foreign ministers agreed in Bucharest this week to back him only until a new election could be held.

The South American country has been rocked by protests since January 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

A defiant Mr Maduro remains dug in, blaming the White House for openly backing what he calls a coup to remove him from power and exploit his country's vast oil wealth. The socialist government of Spain, which has strong historic, cultural and economic ties to Venezuela, has said it will do so on Monday if Maduro doesn't call a general election by Sunday. Last week, street protests turned violent in days of unrest that killed almost three dozen people in clashes with government security forces.

Protesters marched in Caracas on Wednesday calling for Maduro to stand down.

Guaido is trying to force the socialist leader from power so he can set up a transitional government and hold new presidential elections.

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