WashPost: Venezuela's Opposition Leader Discussing Military Force to Oust Maduro

President Nicolas Maduro played up their symbolic importance during an address broadcast across the country. Some 75 per cent of the country's cash-generating oil shipments go the U.S., according to Barclays, but Mr Maduro retains the support of Russia, China, Turkey and Iran and is likely to divert shipments to them.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido said on Saturday he had met with government officials to convince them of the need for new elections, after a lawmaker said a meeting took place this week.

However, Mexico - once a vocal member of the Lima Group regional bloc created to pressure Maduro to enact democratic reforms - struck a discordant note under new leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, saying it would not take sides and branding support for Guaido a violation of sovereignty.

On Saturday, they were joined by four European Union countries.

In an unexpected display of solidarity with the Jewish community, young Iranians are taking to social media to mark worldwide.

"Nobody respects the weak, cowards, traitors".

"If Maduro stays in power, Venezuela could suffer a humanitarian catastrophe", said Francisco Rodriguez, chief economist of New York-based Torino Capital.

While small rebellions against Maduro have broken out in Venezuela's armed forces in recent months, there has been no large scale military uprising against him. The leader of the attack, which was quickly subdued, said he was calling for a transitional government.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after Guaido declared himself interim president, citing a fraudulent election. With Venezuelan allies China and Russian Federation holding veto power, there was little chance the United Nations body would agree to take action.

Maduro cruised to re-election in May previous year amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the government.

The strategic alliance was in evidence past year, when two Russian nuclear-capable bombers landed in Venezuela.

Last week Juan Guaidó, the elected head of Venezuela's parliament, declared himself the legitimate president of the nation, on the basis that Nicolás Maduro had usurped power after widely discredited elections.

Countries around the world have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader, and the United States vowed to starve Maduro's administration of oil revenue after he was sworn in January 10 for a second term that was widely dubbed illegitimate.

Venezuela has sunk into turmoil under President Nicolas Maduro, with ongoing food shortages and daily protests amid an economic and political crisis.

Maduro also described a demand by officials from France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom that he call an election within eight days or else lose their support as an "ultimatum", adding that "all of Europe is bowing down to Donald Trump".

But as the deadline expired, Maduro said he had begun negotiations to set up within 30 days an Interests Section in Caracas to maintain a minimum level of diplomatic contact, similar to the arrangement the USA had with Cuba until their 2015 rapprochement.

  • Rogelio Becker