Guaido calls for more protests as Maduro displays military might

Mr Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013 and has the support of the armed forces, has refused to stand down and rejected an worldwide ultimatum to call elections within eight days.

A few hours earlier, Netanyahu had issued a statement declaring Israel's recognition as Guaido as interim president of the Latin American country.

Jerusalem was said to have been stalling on an announcement amid concerns the Maduro regime could respond with measures that could imperil members of the Venezuelan Jewish community.

A handout photo made available by the Miraflores Press, shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) as he leads a military exercise, in Caracas, Venezuela, 27 January 2019.

Australia has joined the United States in backing Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

"The Maduro regime relinquished any remaining legitimacy when it seized power through fraudulent elections", Freeland said, renewing calls for him to "cede power to the National Assembly, the only remaining democratically-elected institution in Venezuela in line with that country's constitution".

Guaido took a symbolic oath of office Wednesday proclaiming himself the nation's constitutional leader on grounds that Maduro's re-election past year was fraudulent - an allegation supported by the U.S., the European Union and many other nations.

The second, on Saturday, will be a "big national and worldwide rally to back the support of the European Union and the ultimatum" from Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands that they would recognize Guaido as interim president unless Maduro calls elections by February 3. "Just think logically", Peskov said, addressing reporters.

Maduro has received backing from China, Russia, Syria and Turkey, as well as longtime allies Cuba and Bolivia.

"We have continued to expose the corruption of Maduro and his cronies, and today's action ensures they can no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people", Bolton said at a White House news conference.

Maduro stated that they are going to overcome the problem in his country with laws and justice, and added he is "open for dialogue". Everybody can see the security guards who protect Maduro.

In Washington, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, considered a key architect of the USA policy on Venezuela, played down the possibility of a military intervention despite his and Trump's warnings earlier in the week that "all options are on the table".

Colonel Jose Luis Silva Silva, Venezuela's top military diplomat in the US, said in a video widely circulated on social media Saturday that he supports Guaido.

Pompeo urged nations to end financial transactions with Maduro's government, which has struggled to pay bills despite the country's oil wealth.

High U.S. crude oil production, which rose to a record 11.9 million barrels per day (bpd) late past year, has been weighing on oil markets, traders said.

It follows similar declarations by the US, Britain, Germany and France.

  • Eleanor Harrison