Maduro States Venezuela Is Breaking Allies With The US

Opposition leader Juan Guaido greets a patient outside the University Hospital of Venezuela's Central University in Caracas

Opposition leader Juan Guaido greets a patient outside the University Hospital of Venezuela's Central University in Caracas

Washington, along with many countries in the western hemisphere, has recognized Guaido as the legitimate president, arguing that Maduro stole his second term, and imposed potentially crippling sanctions this week that are likely to further weaken the OPEC nation's struggling oil industry.

Guaido argues that Maduro was re-elected in a sham election a year ago, and is invoking two articles of Venezuela's constitution that he says allow him as the leader of the national assembly to assume the presidency and call elections when the current president is holding power illegitimately.

His comments come as Venezuela continues to face a crisis as president Nicolas Maduro attempts to maintain his hold.

The source noted how the U.S. government ultimately wants to keep Venezuela's oil company PDVSA - and its U.S. subsidiary, Citgo - operational.

A Venezuelan air force general rejected the authority of President Nicolas Maduro Saturday, becoming the highest-ranking military officer to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's acting president.

He says that the "international contact group" announced on Thursday by the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, "should help to cease the usurpation of power by Maduro and establish a transitional government until new elections".

In a speech to supporters, Maduro said the powerful government-controlled Constituent Assembly would debate calling elections this year for the National Assembly parliament, which is opposition-controlled.

Guaido, who declared himself interim president last week, has spoken at great length about his team's push to safeguard Venezuela's assets so that they can be used to fund the flow of humanitarian aid into the crisis-torn nation.

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FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in in Caracas, Venezuela February 1, 2019.

"For the foreseeable future, we feel like we can maintain a good stable operation and a safe operation on the ground in Venezuela", Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said Friday in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. "Maduro is crucial to enabling a change in government, and the majority of those in service agree that the country's recent travails are untenable", he wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times.

Although Maduro has control of virtually all of Venezuela's political institutions and enjoys the support of the military, many blame him for the country's economic woes. The socialist government of Spain, which has strong historic, cultural and economic ties to Venezuela, has said it will do so on Monday if Maduro doesn't call a general election by Sunday. "We don't know. We don't know because this man (Maduro) doesn't want to leave and is very defiant".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, asked if China had been in touch with Guaido, said they were "maintaining close communication with all parties through various means regarding the situation in Venezuela". "Being here now at this moment, we see hope finally", she said, speaking through a translator.

We have the agreement, the will and the professionals to immediately address the problems of Venezuelans, Guaido wrote on Twitter. "They have given the order from the White House that Maduro be killed".

"Such acts of intimidation are seen as very serious, very egregious by the United States", the USA official said.

"As President Trump said just last week: The fight for freedom has begun", Pence said then abruptly had stopped because the room interrupted him with applause and exuberant cheers.

Russia, China, and Iran also support Maduro, as does Turkey.

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