Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

VP Mike Pence calls for end to Maduro government in Venezuela

VP Mike Pence calls for end to Maduro government in Venezuela

Venezuela is now facing large-scale anti-government protests with opposition leader Juan Guaido having declared himself the country's interim president in a bid to ouster Maduro. "We must prevent this from happening in Venezuela", he warned.

Britain, France, Germany and Spain are expected to announce their direct recognition of Guaido from Monday, assuming an eight-day deadline they set last Saturday for an election is not met, diplomats said.

It is unclear whether Maduro's government, which denies the country is suffering a humanitarian crisis, will let any foreign aid through.

In a possible sign of Maduro's weakening support, riot police who had planned on blocking demonstrators from reaching the rallies made a decision to let them pass in at least three cities, according to Guaido and Reuters witnesses.

About 190,000 Venezuelans live in Florida, and many have arrived in recent years as the country spiraled downward as a result of an economic and political crisis under Maduro and former President Hugo Chavez.

But the USA government rejects recent suggestions that Uruguay, Mexico, or the Vatican should play a mediating role between Maduro and Guaido, the official said. 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.

The US has so far failed to rule out the option of military intervention in the poverty-stricken South American country.

He added: "Venezuela is friendly to us and is our strategic partner".

The Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions on the national oil company PDVSA, effectively blocking Maduro from exporting crude to the USA, and granted Guaido control of Venezuelan assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. "It's time for Maduro to get out of the way", Bolton's tweet said.

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A defiant Mr Maduro remains dug in, blaming the White House for openly backing what he calls a coup to remove him from power and exploit his country's vast oil wealth. He retains support from powerful allies, including Russian Federation and China, but is growing increasingly isolated as more nations back Guaido.

Maduro on Friday continued a show of might as commander-in-chief that has seen him crisscross Venezuela to oversee military exercises as he vows to defend his socialist government no matter the cost.

"We're in a historic battle", Maduro told several hundred troops standing in formation around armoured vehicles. Guaido led a peaceful demonstration Wednesday with residents stepping out of their homes and workplaces for two hours.

The European Parliament called on the European Union's 28 member states Thursday to recognize Guaido.

"There is no possible discussion here".

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycott by the opposition.

"The English stole the gold in the Bank of England", Diosdado Cabello, the powerful No. 2 in Maduro's socialist party, said in a speech broadcast on state television this week.

"We have to erode the pillars that support this dictatorship", he said.

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