Venezuelan military official drops allegiance to Maduro

11 February, 2019, 22:56 | Author: Carlos George
  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez and first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval to the White House

This comes after reports of the United States being engaged in direct contact with members of Venezuela's military, encouraging them to pledge allegiance to self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, while also working on new sanctions to ramp up pressure on Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro has said the US help is part of a plot to overthrow his government and said Venezuela doesn't need it.

Maduro and his "corrupt regime" has been backed into a corner and will soon crumble, with or without outside help, because 90 percent of the population are fed up and want change - and the army will soon too side with Venezuelan people, Guaido claimed. "This a crime against humanity, men of the armed forces".

Medicine and food sent by the United States has been blocked on the border in Cucuta, Colombia after Venezuelan soldiers closed a bridge linking the two countries. The military's backing is critical to the sway of power in Venezuela.

On Sunday, the Venezuelan military announced it had started conducting exercises, set to run until February 15 across the country, to "reinforce the country's defensive capacity".

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez and first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval to the White House
Venezuela's Guaido warns military on blocked aid

The Venezuelan oil minister, who now holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said it was important to listen to all the consuming countries that represent oil demand to maintain the balance of demand and supply in the markets.

The sanctions gave US oil companies working in Venezuela, including Chevron and oil service firms Halliburton Co HAL.N , General Electric Co's Baker Hughes BHGE.N and Schlumberger NV SLB.N , a deadline to halt all operations in the South American country.

There are more than 8 million barrels of Venezuelan crude idling all over the Gulf of Mexico in an area that stretches from USA coast to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, according to cargo-tracking and market intelligence company Kpler.

An global Contact Group, made up of European and Latin American countries, called for snap presidential elections following a meeting in Montevideo this week.

Tensions rose when opposition leader Guaido declared himself acting president on January 23, a move which was supported by the USA and many European and Latin American countries.

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