Venezuelan military: the muscle behind Maduro

Posted January 26, 2019

Russia, which has backed Maduro's socialist government to the tune of billions of dollars, this week promised to stand by him after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president with Washington's endorsement.

From then on, countries in the region realized they had a partner in the US willing to tackle a crisis that had been years in the making but which previous USA administrations had chosen to play down because of limited national security implications, said Fernando Cutz, a former senior national security adviser on Latin America to both President Barack Obama and Trump. A USA 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.

Pompeo says the USA doesn't recognize the authority of Maduro and that he doesn't have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the U.S.

We encourage other Western Hemisphere governments to recognise National Assembly President Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela, and we will work constructively with them in support of his efforts to restore constitutional legitimacy.

"They believe they have a colonial hold in Venezuela, where they decide what they want to do", Maduro said in an address broadcast live on state TV.

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Corbyn tweeted a picture of himself and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, and said he "set out Labour's agenda and exchanged ideas on a future relationship based on mutual respect and human rights".

It's unclear how many U.S. Embassy staff remain in Caracas.

Maduro's presidency has coincided with a decline in Venezuela's socioeconomic status, with crime, inflation, poverty, and hunger increasing. If the opposition doesn't take power, Canada will be left trying to deal with a government it has denounced as illegitimate.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Colombian leader Ivan Duque said Maduro should "step aside and let the Venezuelan people be free". Maduro, who has presided over a spiraling political and economic crisis, still controls both the army and the Supreme Court.

Maduro's key ally Russian Federation denounced Guaido's bid as a "usurpation" of power and warned that "this is a direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed".

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At an emergency meeting Thursday, 16 nations from the Organization of American States recognized Guaido as interim president.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet's office said Friday that it had credible reports that security forces or members of pro-government armed groups had shot at least 20 people during protests on Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, Trump has taken an increasingly tough line with Venezuela since he took office in January 2017, imposing an escalating series of targeted sanctions.

Maduro's claims the United States has a $120-million fund for "buying" Venezuelan officers.

"Maduro relies on the military, and they rely on him, to enrich themselves and avoid facing trial if the regime ultimately falls", said Salamanca.

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Maduro responded by saying he was cutting off diplomatic ties with Washington, as his riot police clashed with opposition supporters in Caracas. The Venezuelan president's main financial backer China said it opposes "interference" in Venezuelan affairs.