Wife of Venezuela's Guaido says army is key to political change

Wife of Venezuela's Guaido says army is key to political change

The new economic sanctions are created to weaken Maduro and strengthen the hand of Juan Guaidó, whom the United States recognized last week as interim president of Venezuela.

Mr Guaido, who has not yet appointed a cabinet, faces the intricate legal challenge of nominating new leadership for PDVSA and its subsidiaries, including Citgo Petroleum, who would manage the companies during a transition.

The trips have apparently paid off, as support for Guaido quickly poured in from right-wing governments in Latin America, in what the Financial Times called an "apparently co-ordinated move".

President Donald Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, called for security forces "to accept the peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power".

Transferring authority over US -based accounts to Guaido "will help Venezuela's legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people", Palladino said in his announcement.

Guaido reportedly told Skai he is concerned about Greece's hesitation to condemn Maduro and invited Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to visit the country to witness first hand the state of its economy.

Mr Guaido called for a two-hour strike Wednesday "to demand that the armed forces side with the people" ahead of a "big national and worldwide rally" on Saturday.

Following a trip to Panama, Pope Francis said he was afraid the escalating crisis would become "a bloodbath". Maduro is backed by a number of countries, including Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands stated that they would recognize Guaido as the interim president, unless Maduro announced new elections by February 3. USA officials said the sanctions on PDVSA were meant to prevent Maduro's government from siphoning off funds from the oil company.

The interim President also said the decision to appoint new boards of directors for PDVSA and its only profitable business, Citgo, was part of a drive for "taking progressive and orderly control of the assets of our Republic abroad" to "speed up the political transition".

As a legislator who also heads the National Assembly, Guaido has immunity from criminal investigation that can be removed only by the Supreme Court. "If measures are not taken soon, inflation will continue to rise, generating a great discontent among the population", Pina added.

The Trump administration has issued licenses to USA refineries that continue to operate in Venezuela; if Caracas wants to continue to sell the USA oil - "which we'd like to buy" - the money would go into blocked accounts that would be protected for the Venezuelan people, according to Mnuchin.

VICE News was on the streets of Caracas trying to catch Guaidó in action.

Several opposition leaders had been forced into exile, jailed or barred from standing in the election, leading the opposition to boycott the poll.

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