Venezuela in Crisis: All the Latest Updates

Maduro says military must be prepared to combat ‘traitors’ after forces failed to respond to Guaido’s ‘uprising’ call.

Venezuela has plunged into a major political crisis amid a growing row over President Nicolas Maduro’s future as the country’s leader.

Maduro started a second term on January 10, following a widely boycotted election last year that many foreign governments refused to recognise.

On January 23, Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president.

Shortly after Guaido took an oath swearing himself in, US President Donald Trump publicly recognised him as the country’s leader.

Maduro accused Guaido of staging a coup and ordered his arrest.

Here are all the latest updates as of Monday, May 6:

Backers ‘failed to follow through’ in abortive uprising: Guaido

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Monday that people who had pledged support for his abortive uprising last week had “failed to follow through” to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro.

“There were people who failed to follow through,” Guaido told AFP in an interview in Caracas, adding that “it doesn’t mean that they won’t do it soon.”

Guaido said it was “obvious today, there is widespread discontent from which the armed forces aren’t immune”.

“We are very close to achieving change in Venezuela,” he said.

Venezuela ‘ready’ for any U.S. attack: FM Jorge Arreaza

Venezuela is ready to see off any attack from the United States, the country’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Monday in Moscow.

“We are ready for all scenarios. The first is diplomacy, dialogue, peace,” Arreaza told a press conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

But if Washington “opts for the military path, we have an armed force, a people, a national guard that will be able not just to resist and fight, but also to win,” he said.

Sunday, May 5

Guaido evaluating ‘all options’

In an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Juan Guaido reiterated that he was not ruling out the option of asking the US for military support.

The opposition leader stated he will “evaluate all options”, to overthrow President Maduro.

“I believe that it is not only wise to assess it given the crisis and tragedy that Venezuela is living through, but to prepare alternatives, if the regime intends to continue radicalising a process that has brought us to disaster,” Guaido said.

“I, as the president in charge of the national parliament, will evaluate all the necessary options,” he added.

Friday, May 3

Florida senators say Venezuela is national security issue

Senators from the US state of Florida are increasing pressure on the Trump administration to act on the Venezuela crisis, calling it a national security matter.

After a Friday discussion with Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan exiles, Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio chastised Cuba for aiding President Maduro in a standoff with US-backed Guaido.

The Cuban government denies accusations it has troops in Venezuela.

Trump says he and Putin discussed getting humanitarian aid to Venezuela

US President Trump said on Friday he focused on humanitarian aid for Venezuelans during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, backing away from his administration’s recent harsh rhetoric about Russian involvement in the crisis.

Trump and Putin spoke for more than an hour, their first known conversation since December and since tensions flared in Venezuela, where Washington backs Guaido and Moscow supports Maduro.

Trump told reporters at the White House: “He (Putin) is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he would like to see something positive happen … and I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid – right now people … have no food, they have no water.”

Thursday, May 2

Venezuela’s top court orders Lopez’s arrest

Venezuela’s top court has ordered the arrest of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition activist who took refuge in the Spanish embassy after joining an attempt to topple President Maduro this week, for violating the terms of his house arrest.

On Tuesday, Lopez appeared outside a military base in Caracas with Guaido, who urged the military to overthrow Maduro. When the military did not heed the call, Lopez and his family sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence. They later moved to the Spanish embassy.

Lopez was previously detained for leading anti-government protests in 2014 and had been under house arrest for two years.

Two more protesters die following Venezuela clashes

Two more opposition demonstrators, both minors, have died from injuries sustained in clashes with Venezuelan security forces, the opposition said on Thursday, bringing the death toll in two days of unrest to four.

A 14-year-old, Yoifre Hernandez, died after being shot during May Day clashes in Caracas, lawmakers and family members said.

They said the other youth, Yosner Graterol, 16, died after he was shot during unrest in the northern town of La Victoria on Tuesday.

Trump says ‘repression’ in Venezuela must end

Trump said the “brutal repression” of the Venezuelan people must end soon, adding that the Venezuelan people are starving and have no water.

Trump spoke Thursday at the White House as part of a National Day of Prayer ceremony. He began the event by saying he was sending prayers to the people of Venezuela in their “righteous struggle for freedom.”

Pompeo, Russian FM to meet as Venezuela spat intensifies

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet next week with his Russian counterpart as a dispute between Washington and Moscow over Venezuela intensifies.

A senior State Department official says Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will resume an as-yet unproductive discussion on Venezuela when they are both in Finland for an Arctic Council meeting. The two traded warnings over the situation in Venezuela in a telephone call on Wednesday, and the official says they’re expected to pick up that conversation when they meet. The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military unity after clashes

Maduro has called for military unity in an appearance with soldiers, two days after security forces failed to respond to Guaido’s call for an uprising.

Flanked by commanders, Maduro said on national television Thursday that the military must be prepared to combat “traitors” and that the opposition had sought to provoke bloodshed in Caracas since Guaido’s failed bid to take power.

Spain acting FM: Lopez hasn’t asked for asylum

Spain’s acting foreign minister denied that a Venezuelan anti-government activist had asked Spanish authorities for political asylum.

Josep Borrell said Lopez is staying as a guest of the Spanish embassy in Caracas, adding that, under Spanish law, requests for asylum can be made only in Spain.

Woman killed by ‘bullet in the head’

A 27-year-old woman died on Wednesday night at a Venezuelan clinic after being shot in the head during anti-government protests in Caracas, according to a human rights organisation.

“We condemn the murder of the youth Jurubith Rausseo,”

who was hit by a “bullet in the head during demonstration,” the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict said on Twitter.

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