Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

USA military action in Venezuela 'possible', says Pompeo

USA military action in Venezuela 'possible', says Pompeo

Opposition leader Juan Guaido faced a key test of support on Wednesday after calling for the "largest march" in Venezuela's history to try to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro, even as the military has so far resisted calls to help remove him.

"We denounce before the global community the support of the Colombian government for this new attempt at a coup d'etat in Venezuela". Jorge Rodriguez, the country's information minister, wrote on Twitter that the "military traitors" who were seeking to promote a "coup" were being confronted.

"We're going to Miraflores palace to defend the revolution, to defend Nicolas and to defend the legacy of Hugo Chavez", said Cabello in a phone call to state TV. But Guaido, the leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, appeared undaunted in a video message posted on social media late Tuesday, vowing to keep up the pressure on the embattled Maduro.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Washington stands with the "People of Venezuela and their Freedom". Pompeo added that the United States would prefer a peaceful transition of power.

"We have to identify all those people who fired weapons and go find them and submit them to justice, deliver them to the Prosecutor's Office and the courts to all", Maduro said.

Television images showed soldiers and Guaido supporters on a road outside the base milling around without urgency.

He also said that Venezuela would never surrender to "imperialist forces".

Just before Maduro addressed the nation, Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido called on his followers to continue the coup attempt, which began on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, Lopez appeared on an overpass by the La Carlota air base, joined by Guaido and several dozen soldiers who had disavowed Maduro.

The United States and Russian Federation traded warnings against interfering in Venezuela on Wednesday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Moscow of stopping President Nicolas Maduro from leaving the country.

Giancarlo Morelli of the British analysis group Economist Intelligence Unit said Maduro faces peril whatever path he takes.

The United States and major Latin American powers including Brazil, Peru and Chile swiftly backed Guaido, followed later by European Union nations.

Russia, Iran, China, and Cuba are among countries supporting Maduro, who started a second term in January following a May 2018 election marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging, leading to mass street protests.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that Maduro was surrounded by "scorpions in a bottle" and it was only a matter of time before he leaves power.

The reports come as tensions reached new heights in the South American country.

Russian Federation and China provide crucial diplomatic support, with Moscow also offering military technical assistance and Beijing providing vital credit as it buys Venezuela's oil.

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