Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

The United States recognised Guaido, who heads Venezuela's National Assembly, in late January when he declared himself the country's legitimate leader after maintaining that a presidential election a year ago was rigged to keep Maduro in power.

The EU nations had attempted to pressure Mr.

Britain said it was now considering imposing sanctions to help bring about change in Venezuela and has urged Guaidó to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

Mr Guaido, who leads the National Assembly, declared himself caretaker leader last month in a move splitting global powers and bringing Venezuelans onto the streets.

Mr. Putin has called Mr. Maduro to relay his support for the regime, and Russian officials reacted angrily to President Trump's suggestion Sunday that US military action was an option to resolve the crisis.

Canada has announced a humanitarian relief package for Venezuela.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, accusing the United States of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejecting a US -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country.

Guaido appealed to the military's "conscience" to let the aid reach those most in need. She also emphasized the temporary nature of the Lima Group's recognition of Guaido as interim president.

On Monday, he accused Maduro of trying to illicitly transfer up to $1.2 billion from public coffers to a bank in Uruguay.

But with Mr. Maduro defying calls to step down, the Russian mission may be more extensive than reported, said John Marulanda, a USA -trained intelligence officer and adviser to conservative Colombian President Ivan Duque, an opponent of Mr. Maduro. Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Lithuania also lined up behind Guaido, who also has the backing of the United States and many South American nations. Ten EU countries have yet to announce their position.

"Soldiers of the fatherland: We need the humanitarian aid to come, for your mother, your sister and all your family", Guaido said at a news conference at the National Assembly to thank the European governments for their support.

But the socialist leader showed no signs of caving in and lashed out at the European Union and the Trump administration, which has also put pressure on the Venezuelan government by imposing sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports and demanding Maduro's departure. "I hope we will have a positive answer [from him]", Maduro told Italian news channel SkyTg24.

Since 2007, up to 4 million Venezuelans have left the country - with 2 million between 2016-17 alone (an exodus rate higher than that of Syria's).

Maduro started a new term in office last month after 2018 elections that were branded invalid by the opposition.

A group of Latin American and European states are to hold their first meeting of a contact group in Montevideo on Thursday.

At the beginning of a week of intense diplomacy, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meanwhile pledged $40 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans as he hosted a meeting of the Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada.

He said he finds the global endorsement of Guaido "problematic" but his main concern is the prospect of military intervention - something the US, which is not a member of the Lima Group, has mused about.

"The global community has a duty to help and ensure that this happens with the necessary guarantees". We did not participate, none of us, at the inauguration of Maduro on January 10.

Forty people were killed in clashes with security forces in the week of protests coinciding with Guaido's self-proclamation as acting leader, with hundreds more arrested, according to the United Nations.

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