U.S. Warns Americans Not To Travel To Venezuela

U.S. Warns Americans Not To Travel To Venezuela

Maduro's latest comments, which came via interviews and a video posted online, arrived just ahead of planned street demonstrations by the nation's opposition on Wednesday and amid new threats via US national security advisor John Bolton who continues to lead the charge for regime change on behalf of the Trump administration.

The fight to control Venezuela, which has the world's largest oil reserves, has intensified with new USA sanctions and legal moves that may bring the arrest of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido.

The man challenging Maduro's claim to the presidency is urging Venezuelans to step outside their homes and workplaces for two hours beginning at noon in the first mass mobilization since he declared himself the nation's rightful leader a week ago during another round of big protests. Then, by Wednesday morning, a desperate Maduro was pleading with Americans to stop Trump from intervening on Guaido's behalf and saying he would sit down and talk with the opposition for a peaceful solution. Given the failure of previous rounds of dialogue, including one led by the Vatican, opponents are suspicious, believing Maduro uses them to quell protests and buy time.

The court also said prosecutors could investigate Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping us sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday.

Guaido launched a direct challenge to Maduro's authority last week when he declared himself acting president.

Guaido, who has the support of the United States, and several countries in the region, joined the protests outside the University Hospital of Venezuela's Central University where students chanted, "Guaido is here, Guaido is here and hope comes with him". Wednesday's action would not be a major march, but a series of small concentrations, he said.

Over the past week, 35 people have died in protests - most shot by security forces as they took part in late-night pot-banging demonstrations in slums, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict. Hundreds have also been arrested, including children.

More news: European rights envoy talks with France about yellow vests

The previously little-known Guaido has re-invigorated the opposition movement by pushing for three immediate goals: to end Maduro's "usurpation" of power, establish a transitional government, and hold a new presidential election.

"The regime is in its final throes", said Guaido.

In a telephone call, US President Donald Trump congratulated Guaido on his "historic assumption of the presidency", the White House said.

On his Twitter account, he posted in English: "People from #USA, I ask for your support in order to reject the interference of Donald Trump's administration which intends to turn my Homeland into a "Vietnam war" in Latin America".

"The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law", Mr Trump said in his statement.

Venezuela owes China and Russian Federation billions of dollars and Maduro vowed to honour the debt.

Related Articles