Maduro warns United States against military action in Venezuela

Jeannie Matthews
January 31, 2019

According to the United Nations, at least 40 people have already been killed in clashes since the power struggle erupted last week. No amount of pressure from inside or outside the country, can force him out with loyal troops.

Maduro, who accuses Guaido of staging a US-directed coup against him, still has the support of the top military brass, and is unlikely to back down unless that changes.

Socialist Party boss Diosdado Cabello, widely seen as the second most-powerful person in the country, blasted the U.S. and its "lackeys" in the region for trying to topple Mr Maduro by violent means.

He said the United States aims to get Venezuela's oil reserve, the world's largest, and fundamentally destroy the spirit of Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan leader who influenced the independence movement in Latin America.

"Do you want to be a coward?" he yelled in a call and response session with hundreds of soldiers on Wednesday.

The US slapped oil sanctions on Maduro's regime earlier this week in an attempt to starve the government of its funding.

The court move came after USA national security adviser John Bolton warned that the Maduro government would face "serious consequences" if Mr Guaido is harmed.

He also called on the European Union to level "more sanctions" against Maduro's government.

The flight, operated by Russia's Nordwind Airlines, left Venezuela at 4.52 pm local time (2152 GMT), a Reuters witness said.

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Another mass street demonstration is planned for Saturday.

Maduro is willing to sit down with the opposition "for the sake of Venezuela's peace and its future", he told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. Pence said they discussed recent sanctions actions, "highlighting that these deprive Maduro and his cronies access to corrupt income and. preserve the country's wealth for the people of Venezuela".

Russian Federation has been one of Maduro's staunchest supporters, providing the South American country with loans and weapons.

The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Juan Guaido (C) speaks to the press as he arrives at the Parliament headquarters, in the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 29, 2019.

Elections would merely give Maduro the chance to regain control of the National Assembly.

Trump tweeted Wednesday there's a "Massive protest expected today".

He knows, though, that he must convince the military to switch sides in order to dislodge Maduro, a former bus driver. The declaration came less than two weeks after Maduro, who won re-election in a vote the opposition called illegitimate, was sworn into office for his second presidential term.

As well as a shortage of basic necessities, Venezuela has suffered failing public services, with 90 percent of its public transport system paralyzed due to the scarcity and high cost of spare parts.

The US has urged Venezuela's armed forces to "accept the peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power". He ordered the creation of 50,000 popular defense units, community groups he said would be charged with the "integral defense of the fatherland".

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