Juan Guaido Talks to Demonstrators During Rally in Caracas

Juan Guaido Talks to Demonstrators During Rally in Caracas

Juan Guaido Talks to Demonstrators During Rally in Caracas

Guaido - who Maduro has called a puppet of Washington - invoked Venezuela's constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

"Investigations have succeeded in proving that General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera has been recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency for more than a year", Maduro said, adding that justice would be served on the "traitor" Figuera "sooner rather than later".

Further arrests could cripple the functioning of the legislature, which has been a crucial part of the opposition's strategy to unseat Maduro amid a hyperinflationary economic collapse that has fueled an exodus of millions of citizens.

Maduro also accused his sacked intelligence chief of being a CIA "mole" and the architect of the failed military uprising.

He has ordered the arrest of senior officials, purged the military and forced leading opposition politicians into hiding. In a letter circulated after he broke ranks with Maduro, he wrote that his decision was prompted by his desire to "rebuild the country" and fight rampant corruption.

Guaido has repeatedly echoed comments from the United States administration that "all options" are on the table for removing Maduro.

Venezuela's pro-government Constituent Assembly has stripped Guaido and eight other opposition legislators of their parliamentary immunity to prosecution following requests by the Supreme Court.

He has branded Guaido a USA -backed puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.

Washington has lifted sanctions on a former Venezuelan general who had broken ranks with Maduro to support Guaido.

Now Trump is concerned Bolton "boxed him into a corner", a US official told the newspaper.

In past days, Padrino also denounced what he said were attempts by the U.S. military to sow discord inside Venezuela's barracks, inviting an angry response from U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, the head of South Command, who said he "stands ready" to assist Guaido.

"We have instructed our ambassador Carlos Vecchio to meet immediately. with the Southern Command and its admiral to establish a direct relationship", Mr Guaido said at a rally in Caracas.

The 35-year-old called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.

"The regime has kidnapped the first vice president", Mr Guaido said on Twitter.

The opposition hasn't been able to generate major support within the military to topple Maduro.

As he spoke with La Stampa, Guaido argued a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela was an option, claiming that after a failed coup attempt, the country's opposition would have "more opportunities because more people are joining Operation Liberty". Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino separately said on Saturday a United States coast guard ship had entered Venezuelan territorial waters, which he said "we will not accept".

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