Published: Tue, January 29, 2019
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Venezuelan Opposition Calls For New Protests

Venezuelan Opposition Calls For New Protests

The United States is far and away the larger purchaser of Venezuelan oil, although in absolute terms the volume has been sliding lower for a number of years.

The Venezuelan president also denounced an alleged conspiracy aimed at spreading rebellion in the army, saying thousands of messages were being sent to soldiers every day over WhatsApp and other social media platforms from neighboring Colombia.

Venezuela has sunk into a crushing economic crisis under Maduro's policies, with widespread food and medical shortages that have forced millions of people to starve or flee.

Maduro has responded that Washington attempted to stage a coup d'etat in Venezuela and announced his decision to cut off diplomatic ties with the United States.

Mr Maduro has had the door slammed in his face by Canada, Australia, Israel and a host of Latin nations, including Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, who have all followed the United States lead and recognised Mr Guadio.

Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after Guaido on Wednesday declared himself interim president before cheering supporters in the capital, Caracas, citing a fraudulent election past year.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk aired on Sunday and dubbed into Turkish from Spanish, Maduro said Guaido had violated the constitution by declaring himself leader.

Over the weekend, Israeli officials told Channel 13 news that State Department officials had made the request to diplomats at the embassy in Washington DC on Thursday, and that other USA allies who have yet to declare their support for either side have also been asked to issue statements in support of Guaido.

People in Spain protest against Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and in support of an opposition leader self-proclaimed as the interim president of the country.

Washington has threatened to intervene if any threats are made against American diplomats or Guaido, with President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton warning any such actions will be met with "a significant response".

Pope Francis, winding up a trip to Panama, said Sunday he was praying that "a just and peaceful solution is reached to overcome the crisis, respecting human rights".

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

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told members of the U.N. Security Council Saturday to "pick a side" in Venezuela. On Saturday, Venezuela's top military diplomat in Washington, Colonel Jose Luis Silva, defected from Maduro's government. Since the government of Mr Maduro's late mentor Hugo Chavez, the Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) nation has invested heavily in Russian weaponry, including Sukhoi fighter jets and heavy armour.

The small number of USA diplomats in Venezuela, he said, "will remain and comfortably continue their lives with the protection we will provide for them".

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

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