Venezuela rocked by clashes between opposition, Maduro govt as USA backs uprising

Sanctions add another layer of permafrost to the already icy relations

Sanctions add another layer of permafrost to the already icy relations

Some sense a real opportunity to overthrow the government after months of turmoil, during which Mr Maduro has withstood an onslaught of domestic protests and worldwide pressure.

Venezuela's information Minister Jorge Rodriguez responded on Twitter, saying the government is confronting a small group of "military traitors" that are seeking to promote a coup. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., again voiced support for the opposition and its stated push for democracy.

Demonstrations turned violent Tuesday after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared he was starting the final phase of the process to oust President Nicolas Maduro. Pence wrote, "To @jguaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad-Estamos con ustedes!"

He tweeted that it was an important step in Venezuela's "return to democracy and freedom".

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He called on government supporters to amass at the presidential palace to defend Mr Maduro from what he said was an attempt of a US-backed coup.

The U.S. has been embarrassed by acting too soon in the past.

Feature Photo | Juan Guaido, left, President of National Assembly and self-proclaimed interim president speaks with lawmaker Carlos Paparoni during a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2019.

Shortly thereafter, Bolton said in a tweet addressed to Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino that the country's security forces must protect the country's constitution and stand with the parliament that Guaidó heads. "They are very actively collaborating", said Mark Weisbrot, who is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and has called for a negotiated end to the political crisis.

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Gunshots could be heard as the chaos commenced on Tuesday morning after Guaido called on Venezuelans to help him remove Maduro from power.

"We've watched throughout the day, it's been a long time since anyone's seen Maduro", Pompeo said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room".

"What was going to happen, we were told, was that they would announce their support for the constitution", he told reporters at the State Department.

Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan opposition's envoy to Washington, said in a news conference earlier today that the USA played no role in coordinating today's protests. "But it is always worth it".

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

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