Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Outrage After Maduro Troops Intimidate Guaido at His Home

Outrage After Maduro Troops Intimidate Guaido at His Home

The general's defection came as tens of thousands of opposition supporters, many sporting clothes in the yellow, blue and red colours of the Venezuelan flag, turned out at rallies nationwide to protest against Maduro and show support for Guaido.

"We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the United States or anywhere else".

Elections for the opposition-controlled National Assembly aren't supposed to take place again until 2020.

"Maduro is not president and the Constituent Assembly has no legitimacy, no value", he said.

Maduro also says the opposition strategy of trying to push him from office is illegal and led by hawks in the Trump administration, such as the recently appointed USA special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, a veteran diplomat involved in the armed interventions in Central America in the 1980s.

Dressed in full uniform, Major-General Francisco Yanez appeared on a video posted on social media to declare his support for Guaido, the National Assembly head who has led the most serious challenge yet to Maduro's rule.

During the call, the Foreign Secretary said to Juan Guaido that there are many people in the United Kingdom who admire his courage and support what he is doing under the Venezuelan constitution.

In a YouTube video, Yanez described Maduro as a dictator and referred to Guaido as his president. "Already the transition to democracy is imminent".

Wearing military uniform, Gen. Yanez identifies himself as director of strategic planning in the high command of the Venezuelan air force.

At an opposition rally in Caracas, Guaido told his supporters he expected more to follow Yanez's example. "We are going to give a demonstration of strength, in a pacific and organized manner", Guaido tweeted on Saturday.

"Sechin used to be a KGB interpreter during the Angolan war", said Pedro Burelli, a former member of the board of the Venezuelan state oil company and a frequent visitor to Moscow. "We want this country's sovereignty to be respected".

Venezuela is now in a hard economic and political situation, after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president and was recognized by the United States and some other countries.

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

"It was a very traumatic crossing because of lack of transportation, lack of gas, lack of cash - innumerable technical difficulties to get out of the country", Arellano said through a translator.

"We are aware of the initiative taken by Mexico and Uruguay", said Dujarric. "It won't be an easy task". "Mr. Nicolas Maduro is the head of state and his government is our partner in Venezuela", he stressed, TASS news agency reported.

On Saturday, Maduro said he was willing to sit down for talks with the opposition in an effort to promote national "harmony".

Last week, the Bank of England denied Maduro officials' request to withdraw $1.2 billion of gold stored there after top US officials, including Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, lobbied their United Kingdom counterparts to cut off the regime from its overseas holdings.

China has denounced outside interference in Venezuela but - unlike Russian Federation, another major creditor that has backed Maduro - so far has declined to pick sides.

In a bid to pressure Maduro financially, Washington has imposed sweeping sanctions on state-owned oil firm PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], although these risk exacerbating the plight of ordinary citizens by curtailing hard currency necessary for imports.

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