Venezuelan opposition banking on protests, military backing

Juan Guaido who has appointed himself interim president speaks to supporters in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.                     Image DPA  PA Images

Thousands cheer as Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro claims the government needs its foreign assets to alleviate the shortages of food and medicines, which he says is being used by the Washington-backed opposition to paint a picture of a humanitarian crisis to justify a USA military intervention.

On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country's Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country's capital of Caracas.

Jerusalem was reportedly hesitant to throw its backing behind Guaido amid concerns the Maduro regime would respond with measures that could imperil members of the Venezuelan Jewish community.

"The armed forces will have a few days to decide whether to stand by the constitution and allow the entry of humanitarian aid", Guaido told his supporters, ramping up the pressure on Maduro.

"Time is running out for Nicolas Maduro, a government that has no future, no ideas and no support in the population", Guaido said, adding that Maduro faces "a movement that is growing, and we will not retreat and postpone a process that is inevitable". Colonel Paz, a doctor, urged soldiers to help the aid get into Venezuela.

An aid convoy supplied by the United States and Colombia arrived in the Colombian border town of Cucuta last week, where it is being held in warehouses.

Thailand’s Movie Star Princess Is Running for Prime Minister
The siblings are the children of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016 after a record breaking 70 years on the throne. The election committee has also not responded to her announcement yet, saying its members would gather on Monday.

Guaido, who heads Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, invoked a constitutional provision last month to declare himself president. The U.S.is calling for elections in Venezuela and for global aid deliveries to be allowed to enter the country.

But the government insists aid is not needed and that in reality the United States is trying to get its hands on Venezuela's abundant oil reserves, replicating U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Lybia.

Speaking to AFP last week, Guaido refused to rule out asking for foreign intervention.

The Venezuelan military meanwhile announced it had started conducting exercises, set to run until Friday, to "reinforce the country's defensive capacity". Many people fear the opposition will run out of steam, that it will not be able to keep up the pressure on the streets or that the global community will soon turn to another trouble spot if it sees no development in Venezuela.

US President Donald Trump's administration has been pushing for the worldwide community - including Israel - to back President Nicolas Maduro's ouster. "They hate us, they belittle us, because they only believe in their own interests, and in the interests of the United States", he said.

Maduro is refusing to step down or call for a new election, accusing the US of orchestrating a coup attempt.

He also rejected a call by European Union countries to hold elections, prompting them to recognize Guaido.

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