US Special Envoy to Venezuela suggests self-exile for embattled President Maduro


At the same time, Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan National Assembly leader recognized as the country's rightful leader by more than 30 governments, was attacking Maduro for refusing to admit the supplies and called for street protests Tuesday.

The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela's military urging them to abandon President Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.

The U.S., Canada, most countries in Latin America and over 20 European nations have lent their backing to Guaido following the announcement.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying's statement comes in response to a question about a meeting Thursday of an "International Contact Group" led by Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez and attended by leaders of 14 countries, including Spain, Italy, Portugal and Sweden.

Under Maduro's guidance, Venezuela has descended into economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities including food and medicine.

Guaido has claimed 300,000 people could die if Maduro doesn't allow the humanitarian aid to enter.

In the Colombian border town of Cucuta, where the first USA aid arrived Thursday, the American ambassador called on the Venezuelan security forces to allow the aid in.

Guaido has accused Maduro's troops of being complicit in a crime against humanity by blocking food and medical care.

"I'm sure that Moscow as much as Beijing is very aware of the situation in Venezuela, that Maduro doesn't have popular support, the he can't stabilise the economy. all the while holding the biggest oil reserves in the world".

The pro-Maduro Supreme Court has already barred Guaido from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts while prosecutors investigate what they call his anti-government activities.

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China insists that peaceful dialogue and political means are the "only way" toward enduring peace in Venezuela, the foreign ministry said, adding that it backs multinational efforts to reach such an outcome.

Venezuela, already crippled by Maduro's economic policies, was plunged in political turmoil previous year when he greatly reduced the power of the opposition-controlled National Assembly and created a parallel parliament that gave more control to regions of the country where he is more popular.

More defiantly, the socialist president contends that the aid is part of a US -led coup against him, with a goal to colonize Venezuela and exploit its vast oil resources.

"I am convinced that the way we are going to pass this aid is with the Venezuelan people", Toledo said at a press event unveiling the aid. They squeeze us by the neck and then make us beg for crumbs'.

Humanitarian organizations have warned that attempting to force the aid into the country would be unsafe, and a top US official on Thursday said Washington did not plan to do so.

The bridge is at the same site where officials plan to store humanitarian aid that Guaido is vowing to deliver to Venezuela. United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in NY, "humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives". Opposition leaders said three countries in the region will become aid hubs and that some nations, like Colombia, will likely have more than one collection site.

"We do not agree with the content of the document", Maduro said.

Turning his ire on the Contact Group, Maduro fumed: "You don't listen to the truth in Venezuela".

On January 23, Guaido, the president of the National Assembly, used an obscure part of the Venezuelan constitution to declare himself interim president. "This body has usurped numerous constitutional powers of the legitimate National Assembly, and embodies [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro's destruction of democratic institutions".