Maduro hails support of Turkey, Russia, China

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to a crowd of supporters flanked by his wife Cilia Flores and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to a crowd of supporters flanked by his wife Cilia Flores and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro not to use force against mass demonstrations and urged further global support for the self-declared acting president.

Venezuela's president expressed his gratitude to Turkey, Russia and China on Thursday for their support after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself "interim president".

Pompeo restated the US warning against "any decision by remnant elements of the Maduro regime to use violence to suppress the peaceful democratic transition" now in progress in Venezuela.

"We must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups - as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and the Dominican Republic", Sanders said in a statement, while also condemning Venezuela's crackdown on protesters. But the International Monetary Fund has said it will follow the position of its member states, which have come down on both sides of the question.

Citing contacts in a Russian state security structure, Shabayev said the contingent flew to Venezuela at the start of this week, a day or two before opposition protests started. Its hardships are further exacerbated by pressure from Washington that seeks to depose the current government led by Maduro.

Questions remain about how the United States and other countries will now deal with the Maduro government's finances and diplomats and how events inside Venezuela will unfold if Maduro continues to show no signs of losing the vital support of Venezuela's military. A US official said intermediaries were used to deliver messages to Guaido's political mentor and opposition power broker Leopoldo Lopez, who is under house arrest after he tried and failed to lead a mass uprising against Maduro in 2014.

Like other U.S. diplomatic missions around the world, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is considered sovereign U.S. territory and is protected by a unit of U.S. Marines who reside within the walled compound.

"In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the president therefore vacant".




He said it was the only way to end the Maduro "dictatorship" in Venezuela, which has seen millions flee in recent years to escape sky-high inflation and food shortages.

Venitez, who works with a lobby and aid organization called the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum, said when she announced at the protest that Guaido had declared himself to be interim leader, people had tears in their eyes.

He initially said he was open to discussing Brazil hosting a United States military base, before changing his mind when the idea sparked objections from his military brass.

In an address Thursday, Maduro recalled the long history of heavy-handed USA interventions in Latin America during the Cold War as he asked his allies for support. Many Venezuelans believed the election should not be recognized because Maduro banned his opponents from running against him.

However, he still has no control over the Venezuelan state and the military, which appears to still be loyal to Maduro despite a deep economic and political crisis.

Many Venezuelans were looking for Guaido to re-emerge and provide guidance on the opposition's next steps.

Colombian President Ivan Duque, another USA ally also at Davos, told reporters his country was behind Guaido and will "accompany this process of transition to democracy so that the Venezuelan people free themselves of their dictatorship".

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