Venezuela's rival factions rally as power struggle persists

Venezuela between crisis marches and rallies

Venezuela between crisis marches and rallies

The United States has encouraged Maduro to step down to make way for Juan Guaido, the interim president recognized by western democracies. "We have been immersed in a disaster, in a catastrophe, a tragedy, in a massacre to our kids and elderly but I know that very soon with the help of the global community, with the people mobilized in Venezuela that have not stopped fighting and haven't given up, we are going to regain the liberty and the democracy", she added.

Russian Federation and China support Maduro, who has said Guaido is a puppet of Washington.

The Venezuelan Red Cross has more than 2,600 volunteers working across the country, including 500 who deliver first aid.

Thousands of Venezuelan opposition sympathizers protested on Saturday against recurring blackouts that crippled much of the country this month and have aggravated the OPEC nation's economic and social crisis.

Oil provides 90 percent of export revenue for OPEC member Venezuela. "And we want everyone in the streets around Venezuela on April 6", Guaido said at a rally in Los Teques, not far from Caracas.

Despite a multi-year political crisis that has seen crippling sanctions levied against his government, Maduro has hung on to power, in part due to longstanding military support.

Ms Zakharova said: "The Russian side clearly stated the goal of the arrival of its specialists to Caracas".

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Moscow came to Maduro's aid on Saturday, warning the United States to stop interfering in Venezuela's political crisis, a week after the Kremlin sent military planes to Caracas.

The military specialists are apparently helping to fix a malfunctioning Russian S-300 ground-to-air missile system, USA envoy Elliott Abrams said Friday.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross in Caracas says it is ready to deliver aid.

"The Red Cross is open to accepting aid from various countries and donors as long as those donations meet the charity's standards for impartiality and neutrality", Rocca added.

Background: Venezuela was long dependent on buying chemical thinners from the United States to dilute its thick, sludgy crude.

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with Venezuela to cut off revenues to President Nicolas Maduro, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters TV on Friday. Crucially, Maduro also still has the country's powerful military on his side.

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