Venezuela's Guaido, protesters urge military to reject Maduro

US announces new sanctions against Venezuela

In a telephone call, US President Donald Trump congratulated Guaido on his "historic assumption of the presidency", giving him a new sense of legitimacy, the White House said.

Opposition leader and self-proclaimed "acting president" Juan Guaido (center), marches surrounded by students during a protest he convened against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, outside Venezuela's Central University (UCV) in Caracas.

Maduro ruled out an early presidential election, saying the next one was not due until 2025, but said he would support snap parliamentary polls. Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis.

Mr Guaido, the eldest of six children from a working-class family who emerged from virtual anonymity as a political activist, is recognised as president by the United States and most Western nations.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused U.S. President Donald Trump of ordering his assassination while Russian Federation called on Wednesday for mediation in a standoff deepening geopolitical splits.

Guaido declared himself the nation's interim president last week after the Assembly declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate, arguing that his re-election in May 2018 was not fair, with most opposition candidates either prevented from running or boycotting the race. Washington has massive leverage in staunching the trade, considering Venezuela sends 41% of its oil exports to the United States.

Trump and Guaido spoke by telephone on Wednesday.

Maduro calls his regime a "solid democracy", despite overwhelming evidence that he has orchestrated fraudulent elections for most of his tenure, most prominently in May 2018, when he was "elected" president in an election barring opposition candidates from running.

Earlier in the day, Venezuela's Attorney General Tarek Saab asked the court to launch a criminal probe against Guaido.

Maduro accused an "oligarchy" in neighbouring Colombia of being behind an attempt by military deserters to drive a wedge between himself and his loyal forces, which are key to the leader's hold on power faced with mounting worldwide support for self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido.

People chant anti-government slogans in a walkout against President Nicolas Maduro, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

The 14-member "Lima Group" of American countries has criticized the Maduro government. There has been no response from Maduro's government, but a representative of Russia's Norwind Airlines confirmed the plane's arrival.

The situation has worsened substantially under Maduro, who has overseen a catastrophic economic downturn that has driven inflation to more than one million percent. On Wednesday, in an interview with a Russian state-owned news agency, he cautioned Americans that US intervention into Venezuela would "lead to a Vietnam worse than they can imagine".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met Guaido's designated envoy to the United States on Tuesday. Moreover, Venezuela having rich oil, gas and gold reserves is a great reason for the U.S.to promote a coup in the country.

FILE - A Citgo sign is visible from the left field foul pole at Fenway Park in Boston, July 6, 2016.

As a politician who heads the National Assembly, Mr Guaido has immunity from prosecution unless ordered by a top court.

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