Venezuela detains top aide to Guaido, opposition says

Venezuela detains top aide to Guaido, opposition says

"The risk of participating in politics in Venezuela is your life, your freedom, and the persecution of those closest to you", Guaido said.

"He should be released immediately and his safety guaranteed", Bolton demanded.

The arrest was denounced earlier Thursday by Guaido as a "vile, vulgar kidnapping". Lawyer Roberto Marrero was taken away by intelligence agents in an overnight operation that was promptly condemned by Guaido as well as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called for the immediate release of the opposition figure.

The U.S. and about 50 other countries support Guaido's contention that he is the rightful leader of Venezuela and that Maduro's re-election a year ago was illegitimate.

"The worldwide community is closely watching Maduro's actions and will respond accordingly to any that threaten the safety of the opposition and Interim President Juan Guaidó", said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

The situation in Venezuela is at an impasse, however, with President Maduro daily denouncing a United States "imperialist" plot to dislodge him, and Mr Guaido rallying supporters in a nationwide tour.

Uruguay has stayed neutral on Venezuela's political crisis and has called for dialogue, while China, Russia and regional ally Cuba have backed Maduro.

"We would like to inform the national and worldwide communities that our intelligence services have dismantled ... a terrorist cell that was planning to carry out a series of targeted attacks", Reverol said in a broadcast on state channel Venezolana de Television.

Maduro, who is the elected President of the nation, decried the events and accused the United States of plotting a coup to overthrow him by supporting Guaido.

More news: Daily Marijuana Use And Highly Potent Weed Linked To Psychosis

Guaido supported the sanctions designation in a Twitter post.

More than 40 Sebin agents raided the two homes wielding "long weapons" and searched them for three hours, Vergara tweeted.

The United States and about 50 other countries recognize Guaido as the real president.

The Trump administration considers Maduro's government a dictatorship and says he was re-elected in an illegitimate election.

Guaido has countered that Maduro's hold on power is slipping, pointing to western sanctions against state-run oil company PDVSA and several high-profile banks in the country.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday, China's foreign ministry said, "A handful of countries ignored the aim of the annual meeting, ignored China's stance and concern and disregarded the host country's honest efforts".

US President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly warned Maduro to not arrest or intimidate Guaido or his aides, or else face unspecified consequences. And Trump has not always been kind to impoverished nations like some in the region.

Since January, Venezuelan authorities have arrested over 1,000 people in connection with anti-government demonstrations, majority arbitrarily, rights groups say.

Related Articles