Venezuela: New protests as Maduro claims victory

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro

He urged cooperation with U.S. allies in Latin America in solving Venezuela's political crisis, and said the USA should maintain a "consistent military presence" across the Western Hemisphere.

Maduro also used the televised address to reiterate that he maintained the backing of the country's military and would be punishing dissidents.

As he spoke on a highway overpass outside La Carlota air base in Caracas, troops loyal to Mr Maduro sporadically fired tear gas from inside the adjacent facility towards the crowd of a few hundred civilians.

"The radical opposition in Venezuela has once again turned to violent methods of confrontation", the communique said.

Dunford, who also testified in the House alongside Shanahan on Wednesday, said the USA military was closely monitoring the ongoing situation.

On Tuesday, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido called for demonstrators to take to the streets to demand for the ouster of the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The assertion by the USA secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was part of an "information war", said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry. "Military action is possible".

He said demonstrators will be prosecuted "for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace". "If that's what's required, that's what the United States will do", Pompeo said on Fox Business Network, as reported by AFP.

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Maduro has accused the United States and Guaido of staging a "coup".

"But in this case we have not been given (the) sort of orders that you're discussing, no", Wheelbarger told the House Armed Services Committee.

Maduro retains control of state institutions and the loyalty of the armed forces, frustrating Guaido's bid to assume the day-to-day functions of government, which he says would be a prelude to calling new elections.

Russian Federation has significant political and financial reasons to preserve the Maduro regime.

Guaido - whom the USA and 53 countries recognize as the nation's legitimate leader - called for further protests in a statement on social media last night.

On the same day, the White House National Security Council held a meeting on the next steps facing the political turmoil in Venezuela.

Maduro can't trust his defence minister any longer, Maduro claimed, adding that the beleaguered leader spent most of Tuesday at a military prison in Caracas that the USA says is a key Cuban command post "because he doubted the loyalty of the Venezuelan armed forces". This is a mistake on their part. Government workers wearing the socialist party's red waited to be bused from state offices to a rally at the presidential palace. Others thought it might end in February, when the opposition entered the country with trucks of US aid to help the people of a once prosperous country where many now go without food and medicine amid a deep economic crisis.

A 24-year-old Venezuelan man died in the state of Aragua during protests unleashed after the attempt of the opposition Juan Guaidó to lead a military uprising in Venezuela.

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