Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro, Juan Guaido vie for military control

Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro, Juan Guaido vie for military control

The U.S. administration reiterated that threat Monday in announcing sweeping sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company.

The US now considers Juan Guaido to be Venezuela's interim leader-and any "violence or intimidation" against him, or against American diplomats, will be met with a "significant response", John Bolton warned Sunday.

Asked about the possibility of a military option against Venezuela, which has rallied troops in support of Maduro in recent days, Bolton said that "the president has made it very clear.that all options are on the table".

Maduro's refusal, at least so far, to order Guaido's arrest reflects mistrust in his own security forces as well as the Trump administration's warning that any harm to the man the US recognizes as Venezuela's legitimate leader would be crossing a unsafe red line. Speaking with CNN Turk, Maduro said the European countries " should withdraw this ultimatum.

Maduro has stood firm in the face of demonstrations against his rule this week, winning the endorsement of key military leaders and vowing to defeat what he calls a US -backed coup against his government.

The country's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that far-left President Nicolas Maduro was suspending the expulsion of U.S. diplomats, to allow for a 30-day window to negotiate with American officials.

Meantime, Maduro called for unity and said he wants to see the military grow "more loyal to the people, more loyal to the revolution, more loyal to the country and more loyal to the constitution".

As Venezuela's chaotic political crisis unfolds, President Nicolas Maduro is alleging the United States orchestrated a coup to remove him from the helm of the embattled nation.

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Meanwhile, Guaido also sent a message to the military on Sunday, asking for support and ordering it not to repress civilians during an event in which supporters handed out copies of a proposed amnesty for people accused of crimes in the Maduro government.

He also rejected an ultimatum set by some European countries for fresh election in Venezuela, calling those countries "insolent".

The United States has condemned last year's Venezuelan election, in which Maduro won another term, as a charade that was neither free or fair.

The small number of USA diplomats in Venezuela, he said, "will remain and comfortably continue their lives with the protection we will provide for them".

Meanwhile, Juan Guaido said in a statement on Monday that he had ordered Venezuela's congress to begin the process of naming new boards of directors to the PDVSA and United States refining subsidiary Citgo.

"Where do you get that you have the power to establish a deadline or an ultimatum to a sovereign people?" said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

On Friday, he held a news conference in a Caracas plaza announced hours in advance on social media, and on Sunday he attended a church service for victims of anti-government unrest. With Venezuelan allies China and Russian Federation holding veto power, there was little chance the United Nations body would agree to take action.

On Saturday, Venezuela's military attaché in Washington, Col. José Luis Silva Silva said he stands with Guaido.