Rival Protests Underway in Venezuela as General Defects

Guaido has been recognized by President Trump from the onset of the political crisis in Venezuela.

A general from the Venezuelan air force has announced he no longer recognises Nicolas Maduro as the country's president, in what appears to be the highest ranking military defection to hit the regime.

He told Pence and other elected officials that aid efforts need to begin immediately.

Chavez, the army officer whose oil-fueled spending raised millions of Venezuelans out of poverty, assumed office as Venezuela's president February 2, 1999 at the head of a socialist movement.

Guaido said during the VOA interview he would order new elections "when we achieve the capacity to convene elections". "The head of state is [President] Mr. Nicolas Maduro, whose government is our partner in Venezuela", he said.

VENEZUELAN opposition leader Juan Guaido waves to crowds in Caracas yesterday as the European Parliament called on member states to recognise him as the country's legitimate leader.

Spokesmen for Russian President Vladimir Putin have been sharply critical of USA policy, saying it amounts to a coup against Maduro.

A week ago, the European Union called on Maduro to move "over the next days" toward elections and dangled the prospect of recognizing Guaido as interim president in the absence of any announcement on a new ballot. They had, though, been weighed and separated for shipment, the person said.

Cardenas said Russian Federation may seek to prolong the political crisis in Venezuela but will eventually pull up stakes rather than defend Maduro at greater cost.

US officials who have warned Maduro will face "serious consequences" if he harms Guaido denounced the incident as a disgraceful intimidation tactic. He told the Associated Press on Thursday that he planned to defy a government ban on accepting the aid by sending large convoys of medicine into the country with the help of neighboring countries.

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

Citizen Control, a non-governmental watchdog led by San Miguel, estimates that 180 members of the military were arrested in 2018, and some 10,000 members of the armed forces have left the service since 2015.

On Saturday morning, streams of marchers walked from middle-class and poor neighborhoods to gather at points across the capital of Caracas for a demonstration to demand Maduro's resignation and a transitional government that will hold new elections in the South American country. The blocking of the shipment comes just a week after the Bank of England denied Maduro officials' request to withdraw $1.2 billion of gold stored there.

This comes as Reuters is reporting the Maduro government plans to sell gold from central bank vaults to the United Arab Emirates for cash, as new sanctions from the USA threaten to further cripple the country's economy.

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Twitter that "the world is watching - and we will not tolerate harm to those who are fighting for freedom and democracy in Venezuela".

"The Kremlin would deny that but the Kremlin does work through private mercenaries", Wigell said, adding that "the Maduro regime doesn't entirely trust its own armed forces anymore".

  • Rogelio Becker