Australia recognises Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaido as interim president

Pompeo tells UN: Venezuela's choice is freedom or mayhem

Venezuela's opposition leader is in talks with the country's military and civilian officials about the possibility of using military force to oust President Nicolas Maduro, according to a report in The Washington Post.

He contends that Maduro's re-election to a second six-year term was fraudulent.

Pompeo urged countries to help isolate the Maduro regime economically, saying they should "assure that they disconnect their financial system from the Maduro regime".

Pompeo went after Russian Federation and China, accusing them of trying "to prop up Maduro while he is in dire straits ... in the hopes of recovering billions of dollars in ill-considered investments and assistance made over the years".

White House national security adviser John Bolton warned on Sunday (Jan 27) against violence or intimidation of American diplomats in Venezuela or opposition leader Juan Guaido, saying such action would trigger a response from the United States.

National security adviser John Bolton tweeted that "any violence and intimidation against USA diplomatic personnel, Venezuela's democratic leader, Juan Guaido, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response".

After taking office on January 5, Guaido, 35, began to press for a "transitional government" and new elections, calling on the military to break with the government in exchange for an amnesty. President Nicolas Maduro's election to a six-year term last year has been widely criticised as a fraud created to keep him and his military allies in power despite the country's years-long spiral into misery and hunger.

The first major military officer to publicly switch his support to Guaido was Venezuela's military attache in Washington, Army Colonel Jose Luis Silva.

The Australian Government has recognised Venezuela's Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, as the country's legitimate leader.




The fact that Maduro blinked and opened a thirty-day window for negotiations is a positive sign, but it seems unlikely in the extreme that either side will back down at this point.

Maduro retains the loyalty of the armed forces, though Venezuela's top military envoy to the United States on Saturday defected to Guaido. "I sent many messages to Donald Trump", he said in the CNN Turk interview.

Juan Guillermo Requesens, father of opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens, a prisoner since August, said, "It is good to bring people on board to restore the democratic order, but the violation of human rights can not be pardoned".

Sunday's announcement by Netanyahu earned immediate praise from US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who hailed the Jewish state for "standing with the people of Venezuela and the forces of freedom and democracy".

Each man appeared ready to defend his claim to the presidency no matter the cost, with Guaido telling supporters that if he is arrested they should "stay the course" and peacefully protest.

Mr Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013 and has the support of the armed forces, has refused to stand down and rejected an global ultimatum to call elections within eight days.

Venezuela has defused a potential showdown with the United States by suspending a demand that US diplomats leave the country even as Washington called on the world to "pick a side" in the South American nation's fast-moving crisis. The former union leader cruised to victory after blocking the main opposition candidates from running.

China's U.N. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said his government "firmly opposed" the US accusations and doesn't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

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