Germany: Venezuela needs fair, free elections or Guaido should be interim leader

"The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela".

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot back that Maduro no longer has any authority and the diplos are staying put.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a ceremony to mark the opening of the judicial year at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), in Caracas, Venezuela, January 24, 2019.

US military intervention is widely seen in Washington as an unpalatable and unlikely option. He responded: "We're not talking about military intervention".

Russian Federation accused the U.S. on Thursday of trying to usurp power in Venezuela and warned against military intervention, putting it at odds with Washington and the European Union which backed protests against one of Moscow's closest allies.

Venezuela's top military brass pledged their unwavering support to Maduro, delivering vows of loyalty Thursday before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in several areas, after a rally on Tuesday evening left a reported four people dead.

The watershed moment was President Donald Trump's stunning remark in August 2017 from the steps of his New Jersey golf club that a "military option" was on the table to deal with the Venezuelan crisis.

Oxhorn said if the Venezuelan military were to drop its support for Maduro that may create a path to peaceful change. We weren't silent against the coups, and we won't be.

A major oil producer, Venezuela has been wracked by hyper-inflation, food shortages and intense crime since Maduro came to power in 2013.

Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the opposition-controlled national assembly, called for massive protests next week at an open-air press conference in Caracas, interrupted by frequent cheers of "presidente".

Guaido has promised a transition to a new government in a nation suffering a hyperinflationary economic collapse.

"All member states who have committed to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter must now recognize the interim president".

Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido the night before Maduro's searing-in ceremony to offer her government's support should he confront the socialist leader, the Canadian official said.

For some years, the focus of the opposition - both of Guaido and his mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, the well-known head of the Popular Will party, now under house arrest - has been ousting Maduro from power.

The election a year ago was criticized by much of the global community because Maduro's most popular opponents were barred from running and it lacked basic guarantees like a team of impartial observers.

The chief American diplomat announced the US would provide more than $20 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela, funding food supplies and relieving the dire impact caused by the economic crisis.

"The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law".

Luis Almagro, president of the Organization of American States, Carlos Trujillo, U.S. ambassador to the OAS, and other senior State Department officials also helped secure Latin American diplomatic support, officials said.

In a televised speech on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he opposed any kind of coup attempts all around the world, regardless of the identity of perpetrators.

"If there are no diplomatic relations, no problems", he added. "Don't trust the gringos".

  • Zachary Reyes