Canada Backs Venezuelan Opposition Leader As Interim President

The European Union and United States ratcheted up the pressure on Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro as his power struggle with the opposition leader intensified on Friday (Jan 25).

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday the government would defend Citgo, the US refining subsidiary of state oil company PDVSA, as opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido reportedly considers naming a Citgo board.

Maduro was inaugurated on January 10 to another term in office following a widely boycotted election past year that many foreign governments described as a fraudulent.

French President Emmanuel Macron called Venezuela's elections "illegitimate" in a tweet on Thursday, and saluted the bravery of Venezuelans demanding freedom.

Eight generals also expressed their "absolute loyalty and subordination" to Maduro.

And the Supreme Court - made up of regime loyalists - doubled down by reaffirming its allegiance to Maduro's "legitimate authority".

Even as Venezuelans fill the streets rallying behind opposition leader Juan Guaido and the list of foreign nations recognizing him as the country's rightful president grows, the top members of the all-important military are sending a different message: Forget about it.

In that light, "Maduro's fall does not appear imminent", the analysts wrote.

"The time for debate is done".

And the US State Department said "former president Maduro" did not have the authority to sever relations.

Berlin recognizes the opposition-run Venezuelan National Assembly, chaired by Guaido, as "the only democratically legitimate institute, which plays a special role on the country's path to democracy", according to Seibert.

The Republican president has found rare support from the Democratic Party over Venezuela, but one prominent dissenting voice was independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

"We consider the attempted usurpation of power in Venezuela as. a breach of the foundations of global law", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call.

Such a move would significantly strengthen the hand of Guaido, who swore himself in as interim head of state on Wednesday with the support of Washington and nations around the region.

"The President of Russian Federation expressed support for the legitimate authorities of Venezuela in the context of a domestic political crisis that has been provoked from the outside", it said.

China also opposed external interference in Venezuelan politics on Thursday.

Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have voiced their backing for his government.

An estimated 3 million people have fled the country amid hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items like medicine and food.

Gunfire during the protests and looting left 21 dead between Wednesday and early Thursday in the capital of Caracas and throughout the country, according to Marco Ponce, co-ordinator of the non-profit Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict. Inflation is forecast to hit 10 million percent this year. While Mexico, under President Lopez Obrador who took office in December, has taken a "non-intervention" stance toward Venezuela.

"On 23 January, the people of Venezuela have massively called for democracy and the possibility to freely determine their own destiny". The UN urged dialogue in Caracas to avoid "disaster".

Speaking at the World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis's spokesman said he was "praying for the victims and for all the people of Venezuela".

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