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

The Contact Group chided Maduro over the deaths of 40 opposition protesters last month and told him to respect "the country's institutions, particularly the democratically elected National Assembly".

Asked what would happen if the Venezuelan military blocks the aid from going in, Whitaker said any obstacles would be dealt with as they arise and reiterated that Trump has made clear nothing is off the table - though, he added, the priority is to arrange a broad worldwide mission. "This is the only way toward enduring peace in the country".

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blocked American aid from reaching the country this week, accusing the USA of trying to smuggle weapons to opposition factions and using the offer of aid to suggest he was unable to care for his people's needs.

On Thursday, Venezuelan Minister of Communications Jorge Rodriguez claimed he presented "proof" of what he called a US-backed coup attempt against Maduro's government in January.

He said Venezuela is now experiencing the worst situation of any country in Latin America, with thousands dead and dying due to a lack of food and medicine.

But bringing in humanitarian aid is crucial to Guaido's challenge to Maduro's authority.

He did not provide any details on how the U.S. military might respond.

"We believe these to be those first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill", the official said this week, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This is a very anti-Western, anti-democratic, anti-American regime".

Maduro accuses Guaido and his supporters, including the United States, of staging a coup.

"Venezuela is not suffering the humanitarian crisis fabricated by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country".

Justice Mendoza says Guaido is usurping presidential powers.

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

The goods stored at the border city of Cucuta, which is just across the river from Venezuela, consist of corn, flour, lentils and cans of tuna.

A worker organises humanitarian aid for Venezuela at a warehouse near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, February 8, 2019.

He maintained weakening Cuba's government and making sure Maduro leaves office would help both Venezuela and Cuba turn toward Democracy.

'We have been threatened by the USA empire, ' said Venezuela's embattled president Nicolás Maduro.

No Venezuelan officials or opposition leaders participated in the meeting.

"The Trump administration expects further military defections from Maduro's side", Reuters reported, "despite only a few senior officers having done so since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president last month, earning the recognition of the United States and dozens of other countries".

Huizenga said Friday that the committee has asked to send a mission to Venezuela, and has seen informal signs that this might be agreed.

Major European countries have joined the United States in backing Guaido but they have stopped short of the sweeping oil sanctions and financial measures that Washington has imposed. "Maduro hasn't had a new line of credit since 2016", said Guaido. Iohannis, in charge of the country's foreign policy, said Romania needed to have "quick, fundamental and firm reactions" to global developments.

General Francisco Yanez of the air force's high command became the first active Venezuelan general to recognise Guaido, but he is one of about 2,000 generals.

Venezuela's Constituent Assembly was established by Maduro in 2017 to replace the country's opposition-controlled National Assembly.

  • Jon Douglas