Venezuela's Maduro proposes early elections amid presidential power struggle

Foreign Secretary call with Juan Guaido: 30 January 2019

Foreign Secretary call with Juan Guaido: 30 January 2019

Mr Guaido said the European Union should consider increasing pressure on Maduro through further sanctions, and should collectively recognise him - Mr Guaido - as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela.

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

They want our oil?

Thousands of Guaido's supporters, carrying flags and blowing horns, converged on a handful of locations around Caracas in support of his call for early elections and the establishment of a transitional government amid mounting global pressure for Maduro to step down. We have the agreement, the will and the professionals to immediately address the problems of Venezuelans, Guaido wrote on Twitter.

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

The parliamentary elections had been scheduled for 2020.

He said it would be up to pro-government constituent assembly - which he set up in 2017 to weaken the NA's power - to decide whether or not to back his proposal.

Speaking from an unknown location, Yanez said "90 percent of the armed forces don't support the dictator, they're with the Venezuelan people".

"My advice to bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators, and other businesses: don't deal in gold, oil, or other Venezuelan commodities being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Maduro mafia, " Bolton said in a tweet.

"With the events of the past hours, the transition to democracy is imminent; to continue ordering the armed forces to continue repressing our people is to continue with the deaths from hunger, from disease and, God forbid, combat between ourselves", he warned.

The high command's web page lists him, along with a photo, as the air force's head of strategic planning. Yanez is the first high-ranking general to publicly support the opposition leader.

The newspaper on Saturday quoted Guaido as replying: "We hope to soon hear a pronouncement by the pope". The Trump administration has banned USA companies from doing business with PDVSA but allowed a six-month grace period for those with ongoing operations in the South American country. Those assets form a key part of the fierce battle for control of Venezuela's finances between Maduro and Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader who is trying to install a transitional government with the support of the US and other countries across the region.

It comes on the heels of the Trump administration officially recognizing Guaidó as the official president of Venezuela.

Guaido was at the main Caracas university to present his "rescue plan" for a country in economic meltdown. "It won't be an easy task".

On Saturday, Maduro said he was willing to sit down for talks with the opposition in an effort to promote national "harmony".

"Such acts of intimidation are seen as very serious, very egregious by the United States", a senior US administration official told reporters on a conference call.

This month's protests, however, have received overwhelming support from overseas, with the U.S., Canada and many others already recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

China has denounced outside interference in Venezuela but - unlike Russian Federation, another major creditor that has backed Maduro - so far has declined to pick sides.

Venezuela 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.

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio sent a tweet to the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington on Thursday warning that anybody transporting Venezuelan gold would be subject to U.S. sanctions.

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