US VP says time for Venezuela's Maduro to go

Venezuelans take to the streets of Caracas on Jan. 23 to protest the government of President Nicolás Maduro

National Assembly President Juan Guaido is leading a charge to force Maduro from power after he took the oath of office last month for a second, six-year term widely considered illegitimate.

Several opposition leaders have been jailed in recent years as Maduro cracked down on growing dissent in the Latin American country, where resistance has escalated with Guaido's spectacular self-proclamation.

But he added that the opposition will have to continue to apply pressure mechanisms until Maduro's "usurpation of power has ceased".

Maduro's supporters will concentrate in Plaza Bolivar in the heart of Caracas, 10 kilometers (six miles) from the European Union offices.

Alejandro Segovia Marquez, a former city councilman who says he was accused of working for the Central Intelligence Agency, told Pence in a discussion that Venezuelans can't wait any longer because time equals deaths. "We don't know. We don't know because this man (Maduro) doesn't want to leave and is very defiant".

Guaido had earlier urged the armed forces to allow into the country humanitarian aid that would be gathered in Colombia, Brazil and a Caribbean Island.

Guaido has not been arrested, though Maduro's government has launched investigations of him, and Guaido has said intelligence agents visited his home.

Following the US -led campaign against Venezuela's democratically elected President Maduro, EU lawmakers voted 429 in favor to 104 against, with 88 abstaining, at a special session in Brussels to recognize Venezuelan Congress head Guaido, who illegally declared himself interim president last week. This is time for action, & the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship!

Mr Guaido's call for a massive show of popular support coincides with a huge pro-Maduro demonstration.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said in a tweet on Friday that the United States "will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid - medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela". "We will not surrender".

"Maduro does not protect Venezuela, he doesn't protect anyone's investments, and he is not a good deal for those countries".

Earlier this week, the United States announced sanctions that will bar Venezuelan oil imports and could cost the Maduro administration up to $11 billion over the next year. He considers Maduro's election win fraudulent.

"People of Venezuela, 90 per cent of the armed forces of Venezuela are not with the dictator, they are with the people of Venezuela", Gen Yanez said in the video.

In a bid to pressure Maduro financially, Washington has imposed sweeping sanctions on state-owned oil firm PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], although these risk exacerbating the plight of ordinary citizens by curtailing hard currency necessary for imports.

Guaido said that he is still sees transparent elections as the best way out of Venezuela's spiraling political crisis, but realizes that Maduro will not easily grant them unless he is pressured to do so by economic sanctions, street protests and Venezuela's military.

"We reject the declarations made by General Yanez who betrayed his oath of loyalty to our nation and chose to follow foreign plans", the command wrote.

On Saturday, Maduro said he was willing to sit down for talks with the opposition in an effort to promote national "harmony".

It also voted to condemn the continued violence and the detention of journalists in the South American country.

Maduro said the talks could be held with mediation of other countries.

"Chavez is the love of my life" she said, referring to the late Venezuelan president.

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth says that, "For the foreseeable future, we feel like we can maintain a good stable operation and a safe operation on the ground in Venezuela".

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