Canada to host regional leaders for Venezuela crisis talks

Trump asked Graham - who has taken out a hard line on the use of force in Iraq and Syria and confronting Russian Federation - for his views weeks ago, before announcing he was recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido amid a series of massive street protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Mr Maduro said Venezuela has held numerous elections of late - including presidential elections in May (which the United States and several Latin American nations did not recognise as legitimate) - and the European countries should withdraw their demand.

Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after Guaido on Wednesday declared himself interim president before cheering supporters in the capital, Caracas, citing a fraudulent election a year ago.

Guaido took advantage of a major street demonstration on January 23 to swear himself in as the country's rightful leader, accusing Maduro of usurping power following a disputed 2018 re-election that countries around the world described as a fraud.

Both Mr Guaido and Mr Maduro's communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, have said Mr Guaido has met with Maduro-aligned officials.

The caution came after Spain, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany said Saturday they would recognize Guaido as interim president unless Maduro calls elections within eight days.

Still, Venezuela has consistently been the third- or fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, and any disruption of imports could be costly for refiners. Venezuelan diplomats in Washington were already returning to Caracas on Saturday, he said.

The country's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that far-left President Nicolas Maduro was suspending the expulsion of USA diplomats, to allow for a 30-day window to negotiate with American officials.

"We're seeing oil prices really start to break down here", said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

Countries around the world have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader, and the United States vowed to starve Maduro's administration of oil revenue after he was sworn in January 10 for a second term that was widely dubbed illegitimate. Maduro led on Sunday military maneuvers with soldiers, as the opposition went to barracks to deliver to the uniformed of the country the text of a law with which they seek to get them to disown the president.

"We expect USA crude oil prices to range between $50-$60 per barrel in 2019 and about $10 more per barrel for Brent", Tortoise Capital Advisors said in its 2019 oil market outlook. They should take back this ultimatum.

Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro insisted Sunday the military is on his side as he watched military exercises using Russian-built rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft machine guns. "No one can give us an ultimatum", he said. Despite the regime's threats to throw out diplomats and cut off electricity, the USA had refused to close its embassy.

For that reason, a small group of the USA and Venezuelan diplomats were present in each other's countries to take part in 30-day negotiations, he added.

  • Anthony Vega