Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Venezuelan opposition leader seeks 'direct communications' with U.S

Venezuelan opposition leader seeks 'direct communications' with U.S

After last week's US-backed coup failed to install Juan Guaido in power in Venezuela, Guaido remains keen to be supported by the United States, and told Italian newspaper La Stampa that he would "probably accept" a USA offer to invade.

"Well, in theory and by what they said, all options are on the table; this allows anticipating that it is an alternative", he said.

"Listen to the word I used - military cooperation on Venezuelan soil, not intervention. Why?"

"We crossed the red line a long time ago", he concluded.

Opposition leaders and global officials also condemned the arrest.

On Saturday, the Maduro's government said that the "promoting, organizing, and financing" actions designed "to produce a change of government by force", state-backed Telesur TV reported.

The U.S. has thrown its support behind Guaido but Maduro remains in the country, vowing he is not going anywhere.

On Friday, he told Italy's La Stampa newspaper he "would probably accept" an intervention if the USA proposed it.

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Guaido told supporters during a rally in Caracas on Saturday that he's sending his envoy in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, to meet immediately with Florida-based Southern Command, which oversees US military activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, "to be able to establish a direct and far-reaching relationship in terms of cooperation".

"The US will take further action if Cuba continues to receive Venezuelan oil in exchange for military support", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"When invited by @jguaido & the legitimate government of #Venezuela, I look forward to discussing how we can support the future role of those @ArmadaFANB leaders who make the right decision, put the Venezuela people first & restore constitutional order", he said.

Venezuela's information ministry, Argentina's foreign ministry and its embassy in Caracas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Guaido has repeatedly said he does not rule out a US military intervention, and even once said he could "authorize" it, sparking rebukes even from some members of the US Congress.

The Southern Command is part of the United States military responsible for operations and security in Central and South America, along with the Caribbean.

The US and most Western nations back Juan Guaido, an opposition leader who invoked Venezuela's constitution in January to declare himself president, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said last week the International Contact Group is prepared to begin a "mission at the political level" in Caracas.

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