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A man without a country? Opposition leader Juan Guaidó struggles to find a safe way into Venezuela.

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó vowed Thursday to return to his crisis-ridden country “in the next few days,” even as he said he and his family have been the target of threats from the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

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Venezuela opposition eyes negotiated transition

CARACAS: Venezuela’s opposition is trying to convince ruling Socialist Party officials to join a transition government, shifting focus as it seeks to unseat President Nicolas Maduro, who has clung to power in the face of growing international pressure .
Last month, Venezuelan opposition leader and Congress chief Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s reelection in May 2018 illegitimate.He swiftly received recognition from the United States and Latin American powers.In an effort to secure the backing of Venezuela’s military, Guaido proposed an amnesty for officers who turn on Maduro’s government.But defections have been minimal and top brass has declared allegiance to Maduro, dimming hopes of a quick end to an economic disaster that has prompted millions of desperate Venezuelans to flee abroad, fueling a regional humanitarian crisis.Amid fears the changes have stalled, opposition leaders have begun to talk in the past week about bringing ruling Socialist Party stalwarts into a potential transition government.
“This transition requires a large national agreement between the country’s political forces,” Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the opposition-run National Assembly, said in an interview.In an effort to secure the backing of Venezuela’s military, Guaido proposed an amnesty for officers who turn on Maduro’s government Zambrano said any transition must include “Chavismo,” the left-wing movement founded by Venezuela’s late leader Hugo Chavez, who hand-picked Maduro as his successor.
“You cannot disappear Chavismo and you cannot go from persecuted to persecutor. This is not political revenge,” he said.It was not immediately clear how actively the opposition is building bridges. Opposition leaders say they maintain contact with government officials and military officers but keep such talks confidential to avoid affecting those involved.Maduro says he is the victim of a US-orchestrated coup attempt and has refused to resign.Many rank-and-file opposition supporters hope to see Maduro and his allies exiled or behind bars, and would be frustrated by attempts to bring them into the transition.
Many rank-and-file opposition supporters hope to see Maduro and his allies exiled or behind bars Guaido’s decision to assume the interim presidency revitalized Venezuela’s fragmented and disillusioned opposition and led to a flurry of street protests.Hopes of quick change were fueled by diplomatic support from numerous countries and tough US sanctions on Venezuela’s vital oil industry, which has bankrolled Maduro’s government.
Some in the opposition quietly predicted a military pronouncement in favor of Guaido as early as Jan. 23, the day he proclaimed himself president at a rally in Caracas.Top military officials were silent for hours after Guaido’s pronouncement, leading to speculation that Maduro was frantically negotiating with officers not to switch sides.Yet only a handful of active officers backed Guaido.Expectations of a quick military proclamation have given way to concerns over a slow and complicated path forward, both in Caracas and Washington.“I don’t think (Washington) understood the complexities of the target, of Venezuela: all the overlapping security that Maduro has available; the things at his disposal,” said one former US administration official in touch with current officials.

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Thousands of Venezuela volunteers receive US aid

CARACAS: Thousands of volunteers in Venezuela will begin mobilizing on Sunday to bring American aid into their crisis-hit country despite a blockade by President Nicolas Maduro who claims the assistance could be cover for a US invasion.
But even as the political battle pitting Guaido against Maduro continued to deepen, Caracas confirmed talks had taken place with an envoy for US President Donald Trump’s administration.The oil-rich country’s economic meltdown under Maduro has left millions in poverty facing shortages of medicine and food, with hyperinflation making purchases impossible.US aid that has been piling up in the Colombian border town of Cucuta has become the frontline of the confrontation between Guaido and Maduro.
“Venezuela is preparing for the humanitarian avalanche,” Guaido told about 4,000 supporters clad in white T-shirts and green scarves who gathered Saturday to sign up as volunteers.The throng included doctors, nurses and students.Six hundred thousand people have registered to help bring aid in through border points, Guaido told the Caracas rally, asking the volunteers to meet in town councils on Sunday to get instructions about the process.Without revealing details that could jeopardize the operation, Guaido said volunteer brigades will travel in a bus caravan to entry points for the aid which he wants to come in next Saturday.
Coromoto Crespo, 58, told AFP he volunteered because of the urgent need for supplies. “To find medicines requires a miracle.I need tablets for high blood pressure, and what I find, I cant pay for,” Crespo said.”One of my relatives died because of a lack of antibiotics.” Guaido has targeted February 23 for entry of the aid, more of which arrived for the stockpile on Saturday. Three US military cargo planes delivered several dozen more tons (tonnes) of food assistance to Cucuta.
Another US aircraft is due in the Caribbean island of Curacao from Miami on Tuesday, and a collection center for Brazilian aid will open Monday on the border, Guaido’s team said. The US shipment Saturday was accompanied by a delegation led by Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development.
US assistance has been blocked by containers which Maduro loyalists placed on a border bridge to prevent access. On another front, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza confirmed having held two meetings with special US envoy Elliott Abrams.
Arreaza, who traveled to New York on February 13, said he held the talks with Abrams at the request of the State Department. He declined to comment on the substance of their discussions.Guaido repeated his call on Venezuelas military — whose support for Maduro has been crucial — to let the aid pass. “You have, in your hands, the possibility of fighting alongside the people who are suffering the same shortages you are,” Guaido said in a tweet addressed to soldiers.A State Department spokeswoman, Julie Chung, issued a similar plea during a news conference in Cucuta, urging the military to stand aside at a time when Venezuelans are “dying of hunger.”Maduro asserts that aid could be used as a way for the United States to invade.
He called for reinforced border security and dismissed the arriving “crumbs” as “rotten and contaminated food.”On Friday Maduro instructed his army to prepare a “special deployment plan” for the 2,200-kilometer (1,370-mile) border with Colombia.He said he would examine “what new forces” might be needed to keep the frontier “inviolable.”Maduro has assailed the US aid as a “show” but Arreaza said he would be willing to meet with “the devil” if it helped ensure Venezuelan sovereignty.About 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 as the crisis intensified, according to the United Nations.Guaido accuses Maduro of being a “usurper” over his controversial reelection last year in polls widely branded as fraudulent. Maduro, the hand-picked successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, blames Venezuelas woes on US sanctions, more of which were added on Friday.He said six million families had benefited from subsidized food boxes and he claimed to have bought 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba and Russia, his main international allies. “We paid for it with our own money because we’re beggars to no one,” Maduro said.

Once-wealthy Venezuela is gripped by a power struggle between socialist leader Maduro and Juan Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who proclaimed himself interim president last month and now has the backing of more than 50 countries.But even as the political battle pitting Guaido against Maduro continued to deepen, Caracas confirmed talks had taken place with an envoy for US President Donald Trump’s administration.The oil-rich country’s economic meltdown under Maduro has left millions in poverty facing shortages of medicine and food, with hyperinflation making purchases impossible.US aid that has been piling up in the Colombian border town of Cucuta has become the frontline of the confrontation between Guaido and Maduro.
“Venezuela is preparing for the humanitarian avalanche,” Guaido told about 4,000 supporters clad in white T-shirts and green scarves who gathered Saturday to sign up as volunteers.The throng included doctors, nurses and students.Six hundred thousand people have registered to help bring aid in through border points, Guaido told the Caracas rally, asking the volunteers to meet in town councils on Sunday to get instructions about the process.Without revealing details that could jeopardize the operation, Guaido said volunteer brigades will travel in a bus caravan to entry points for the aid which he wants to come in next Saturday.
Coromoto Crespo, 58, told AFP he volunteered because of the urgent need for supplies. “To find medicines requires a miracle.I need tablets for high blood pressure, and what I find, I can´t pay for,” Crespo said.”One of my relatives died because of a lack of antibiotics.” Guaido has targeted February 23 for entry of the aid, more of which arrived for the stockpile on Saturday. Three US military cargo planes delivered several dozen more tons (tonnes) of food assistance to Cucuta.Another US aircraft is due in the Caribbean island of Curacao from Miami on Tuesday, and a collection center for Brazilian aid will open Monday on the border, Guaido’s team said. The US shipment Saturday was accompanied by a delegation led by Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development.US assistance has been blocked by containers which Maduro loyalists placed on a border bridge to prevent access. On another front, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza confirmed having held two meetings with special US envoy Elliott Abrams.
Arreaza, who traveled to New York on February 13, said he held the talks with Abrams at the request of the State Department. He declined to comment on the substance of their discussions.Guaido repeated his call on Venezuela´s military  whose support for Maduro has been crucial — to let the aid pass. “You have, in your hands, the possibility of fighting alongside the people who are suffering the same shortages you are,” Guaido said in a tweet addressed to soldiers.A State Department spokeswoman, Julie Chung, issued a similar plea during a news conference in Cucuta, urging the military to stand aside at a time when Venezuelans are “dying of hunger.”Maduro asserts that aid could be used as a way for the United States to invade.He called for reinforced border security and dismissed the arriving “crumbs” as “rotten and contaminated food.”On Friday Maduro instructed his army to prepare a “special deployment plan” for the 2,200-kilometer (1,370-mile) border with Colombia.He said he would examine “what new forces” might be needed to keep the frontier “inviolable.”Maduro has assailed the US aid as a “show” but Arreaza said he would be willing to meet with “the devil” if it helped ensure Venezuelan sovereignty.About 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 as the crisis intensified, according to the United Nations.Guaido accuses Maduro of being a “usurper” over his controversial reelection last year in polls widely branded as fraudulent. Maduro, the hand-picked successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, blames Venezuela´s woes on US sanctions, more of which were added on Friday.He said six million families had benefited from subsidized food boxes and he claimed to have bought 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba and Russia, his main international allies. “We paid for it with our own money because we’re beggars to no one,” Maduro said.

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Oil market to lose almost third of Venezuelan crude due to US sanctions: report

Nearly 370,000 barrels of crude oil per day, produced by the Venezuelan state-owned PDVSA company, will be left without a market by March due to the US sanctions , imposed on the oil giant amid the Venezuelan political crisis, S&P Global Platts has …

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Italian Interior Minister Salvini To Meet With Guaido-Led Delegation In Rome On Monday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 11th February, 2019) Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini will hold a meeting with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and his delegation in the Italian capital of Rome on Monday.

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