“There is a lot of talk going on between members of the Venezuelan parliament and military elements in Venezuela about what can happen and how they can move to support the opposition,” Bolton said in an interview with ABC television.
Bolton’s announcement follows the rally of thousands of Brazilians in Caracas in demonstrations against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and a major power cut that has plunged Caracas and most of the country’s cities into darkness for four days.
Meanwhile, supporters of Maduro took part in demonstrations in support of the president, who accused “imperialism” of causing his country’s crises.
Maduro had said the power failure was caused by an “electronic attack” on the electronic monitoring system at Gori Electric Station, which supplies Venezuela with 80 percent of electricity.
CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|The European Parliament has voted to recognise Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido, and urged the European Union to follow suit.
The motion urged Brussels to accept Guaido as “the only legitimate interim president of the country until new free, transparent and credible presidential elections can be called in order to restore democracy.”
It does not change EU policy, but adds to calls for the EU executive and its member states to join the United States, Canada and Brazil in backing Guaido.
Four major European member states have told Maduro to call those elections by the weekend or they will recognise the opposition-backed parliamentary speaker.
The motion urges Brussels accept Guaido as “legitimate interim president of the country until new free, transparent and credible presidential elections can be called in order to restore democracy.”
The text was proposed jointly by the major political groups in the parliament, and backed by a 439 deputies against 104 “no” votes and 88 abstentions.
The vote also came as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini demanded that Venezuelan authorities loyal to Maduro release detained foreign journalists.
Leader Nicolas Maduro is seeking to neutralise the American-backed opposition chief.
Venezuela’s Juan GuaidóSource: AP/PA Images
AIWA! NO! |AFP|VENEZUELA’S TOP COURT has barred self-declared president Juan Guaidó from leaving the country, freezing his bank accounts yesterday, as leader Nicolas Maduro seeks to neutralise the American-backed opposition chief.
The 35-year-old head of the National Assembly legislature “is prohibited from leaving the country until the end of the (preliminary) investigation” for having “caused harm to peace in the republic,” high court president Maikel Moreno said.
The move by the court, which is stacked with Maduro loyalists, comes after the US State Department revealed that Guaido – the National Assembly head and self-proclaimed interim president – has been handed control of Venezuela’s US bank accounts.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the order last week, which was then followed on Monday by US sanctions targeting Venezuela’s state oil giant PDVSA, the cash-strapped government’s main source of hard currency.
“This certification will help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Guaidó shrugged off Maduro’s efforts to choke his progress as “nothing new”.
“I’m not dismissing the threats, the persecution at this time, but we’re here, we’re continuing to do our jobs,” he told reporters as he arrived at the National Assembly.
Guaidó, who has been recognised as interim leader by US President Donald Trump, sent a message to the country’s top court on Twitter warning that “the regime is in its final stage.”
“You shouldn’t sacrifice yourselves for the usurper and his gang,” Guaidó added.
In Washington, Prsident Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton warned of “serious consequences” if any harm comes to the Venezuelan opposition leader.
“Let me reiterate – there will be serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido,” Bolton tweeted.
The opposition-controlled legislature, meanwhile, named “diplomatic representatives” to a dozen countries that, like the US, have recognised Guaido as interim president.
At the White House, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Guaido’s appointed charge d’affaires in the United States, Carlos Vecchio, to discuss the ongoing crisis.
The 35-year-old engineer stormed onto the political stage as a virtual unknown on 3 January, when he was sworn in as the president of the National Assembly, a body that had been largely neutralised by the Supreme Court.
On 23 January, he declared himself the country’s acting president and vowed to lead a transitional government that would hold democratic elections.
To keep up the pressure, he has called two more mass demonstrations against the government this week, and has appealed to the powerful military to change sides, offering amnesty to those who do.
At least 40 people have been killed in clashes with security forces nationwide and at least 850 arrested since 21 January when a brief military rebellion was put down in Caracas, according to the UN human rights office in Geneva.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has not rules out a US military deployment.
The Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada, however, is opposed to “military intervention” in Venezuela, Peru’s Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio said.
Six European nations – Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain – have all said that they will follow suit unless Maduro calls elections by 3 February.