USA wants natural resources of Venezuela — Maduro

People protest in Venezuela

Juan Guaido addresses a rally on Monday.

Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress met Tuesday to discuss a proposal for Venezuela's return to a regional defense agreement that dates from the Cold War - a move that could provide political cover for greater worldwide involvement in the nation's crisis.

Guaido, however, expressed the hope that the army would eventually come on board. While US officials have previously dangled what they called "off ramps" for those hit with sanctions who abandon Maduro, this is the first time the Trump administration has made good on its pledge.

The insurrection quickly petered out, and 25 rebel soldiers sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy.

"Today all that needs to happen is for the armed forces and certain (public sector) employees to overcome their fear", said Guaido.

Shanahan met Tuesday with Columbian Vice President Marta Ramirez at the Pentagon, where they discussed ongoing events in Venezuela, including Maduro's military, the acting secretary said.

In a speech meant to offer carrots and display sticks, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced the lifting of sanctions on Venezuela's former intelligence service, warned the 25 magistrates of the country's supreme court of possible punishment and reiterated "all options are the table" to remove President Nicolas Maduro.

"He no longer trusts even in his high command, he doesn't even have any trust in his environment".

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said separately that 18 arrest warrants have been issued for "civilians and military plotters" tied to the uprising.




Guaido has tried to keep up the pressure with massive street protests, but his latest call for demonstrations on Saturday drew only several hundred people.

"I think the only one who really hurts himself is Maduro".

"Make no mistake, we have a full range of options".

While speaking to BBC on Sunday, Guaido said he's considering asking the US for military intervention.

But Mr Maduro - who is backed by Russia, China and the leaders of Venezuela's military - has refused to cede power.

"We hope this action will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera and other members of the military", Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech prepared for a conference at the State Department.

The foreign minister continued on by saying that the number of Russian military experts in Venezuela may be increased.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obador also said that his country will adhere to its constitution and the principles of non-intervention, self-determination of the people and peaceful settlement.

Last week, he launched a failed attempt to spark a military rebellion and force Maduro out of power.

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