Venezuelan military vows to back Maduro amid unrest

"That would create a risky precedent for any other person who would want to proclaim themselves the president of something".

But Brussels has called on authorities in Caracas to respect the opposition leader's "civil rights, freedom and safety" and indicated it favored a peaceful transition away from Maduro.

The most notable holdout is Mexico, whose new leftist president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has pledged a foreign policy of non-intervention.

Speaking later to red-shirted supporters outside the presidential palace, Maduro recited USA interventions in Latin America during the Cold War.

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, and Guatemala have also recognized the 35-year-old Guaido as Venezuelan president.

Private military contractors who do secret missions for Russian Federation flew into Venezuela in the past few days to beef up security for President Nicolas Maduro in the face of USA -backed opposition protests, according to two people close to them.

Pompeo demanded that the military, whose leadership has confirmed its loyalty to Maduro, protect Guaido, a day after deadly street clashes.

Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, holds a copy of Venezuelan constitution during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela Wednesday. Trump promised to use the "full weight" of US economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela's democracy.

Did this come as a surprise?

During his speech, he also addressed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's act of taking oath as the country's "interim president" as a political coup conspired with the support of the United States.

Mr Guaido has been recognised as President by Donald Trump's United States and a raft of other south American nations.

However, Trump has taken an increasingly tough line with Venezuela since he took office in January 2017, imposing an escalating series of targeted sanctions.

European Union foreign ministers today (28 May) agreed to "swiftly" adopt new sanctions against Venezuelan officials involved in Nicolas Maduro's re-election, which they said "lacked any credibility".

"I am the only president of Venezuela", Maduro said.

This isn't the first time the United States has inserted itself into Latin American politics. Moscow has also provided support for its military and oil industry.

A half-dozen generals belonging largely to district commands and with direct control over thousands of troops joined Maduro in accusing Washington of meddling in Venezuela's affairs and said they would uphold the socialist leader's rule. They don't have friends or loyalties.

The US said it stood ready to use "all options" if Maduro tries to quash the opposition, in what was an implied threat of military force. Its hardships are further exacerbated by pressure from Washington that seeks to depose the current government led by Maduro.

Duque was asked if military intervention in Venezuela was a possibility.

Dimitris Pantoulas, a political analyst in Caracas, said discontent was spreading across the country.

"As the famous phrase goes, 'You can cut the flower but you cannot keep spring from coming,"' Guaido said.

  • Eleanor Harrison