Venezuelans rally in Barcelona to support Guaido

Venezuelans rally in Barcelona to support Guaido

Kerry Wise
February 3, 2019

Some danced to popular songs, while a banner included a large photo of late President Hugo Chavez and read: "20 years of popular victories".

Tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Caracas Saturday in rival displays for and against embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as an air force general became the highest-ranking officer to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the crisis-torn country's acting president.

Major European countries have set a Sunday deadline for Maduro to call snap presidential elections.

"Maduro's tyranny must end and must end now", US Vice President Mike Pence told a rally of exiled Venezuelans in Miami on Friday.

The socialist government of Maduro called the rally to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chavez's rise to power.

The lawmaker says he welcomes the EU's involvement "because we are going to need its cooperation during the initial stages of the recovery of our country". Mr Maduro's supporters will concentrate in Plaza Bolivar in the heart of Caracas, 10 kilometres from the European Union offices.

After fleeing to the United States, Arellano said his father was kidnapped back in Venezuela.

In a country where the socialist leader's foes often end up behind bars, Guaido has thus far managed to avoid arrest, but in recent days authorities have let it be known that even as his powerful worldwide support grows Guaido isn't untouchable.

Putin: Russia will only deploy new missiles if USA does
Russia's foreign minister said the U.S. withdrawal from the pivotal pact has further upset strategic stability. Putin has previously threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under the INF treaty if it is scrapped.

Gen. Francisco Yanez is the first high ranking officer to leave Maduro's government since January 23, when Guaido declared himself the country's legitimate leader by invoking two articles of the Venezuelan constitution that he argues give him the right to assume presidential powers.

Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany are among nations pushing the European Union to recognize Juan Guaido "as president ad interim of Venezuela", according to a draft communique obtained by Bloomberg, in the latest move by the west to isolate President Nicolas Maduro. He says that the "international contact group" announced on Thursday by the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, "should help to cease the usurpation of power by Maduro and establish a transitional government until new elections".

The worldwide heave against Maduro's leftist regime came after weeks of behind-the-scenes diplomacy including secret talks in Washington between Guaido and U.S. officials.

Novaya Gazeta's sources said vehicles owned by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates met the Russian plane upon its landing in Dubai. "It's time for Maduro to get out of the way", Bolton's tweet said. "And the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all".

Among Latin American nations, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua remain solidly behind Maduro, while Mexico and Uruguay are calling for mediation.

Previous negotiations all had the same "unsatisfactory result", Guaido wrote. The person didn't know where the gold was supposed to go or the exact nature of the planned transaction, but the fate of the bars had become a cause of great concern both in Venezuela and overseas.

The general's defection signals a shifting view towards the socialist government that is struggling to maintain support among the people amid economic hardship and repression of social liberties and instead have to rely on brute force to assert its legitimacy.

The military high command, led by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, has sworn absolute loyalty to Maduro despite signs of unrest within the ranks.