Maduro tells forces to be 'ready' in case of U.S. attack

Trudeau reaches out to Cuba on behalf of Lima Group to end Venezuela crisis

A day after Nicolas Maduro exhibited a show of unity with military figures in a television broadcast, the Venezuelan President on Saturday called on the armed forces to be "ready" in the event of a U.S. military offensive against the South American country.

"I told the generals and admirals yesterday: loyalty, I want an active loyalty", Maduro said in a speech to some 5,000 troops that was broadcast nationally on radio and television.

The opposition-controlled National Assembly declared Juan Guaido interim president in January, but months of demonstrations and USA sanctions have not forced Maduro from his grip on power - even after a major uprising Tuesday.

Guaido was continuing his efforts to persuade the armed forces to abandon Maduro.

National Assembly head Guaido, 35, has branded Maduro a usurper over his controversial reelection past year, and in January declared himself acting president, plunging Venezuela into a political crisis that deepened its already grave economic woes.

The armed forces say the chopper that crashed was heading to San Carlos in Cojedes state, near a military base where Maduro addressed cadets on Saturday.

Venezuelan authorities are investigating the cause of a helicopter crash that killed seven military officers while they were while heading to a state where President Nicolás Maduro was visiting troops.

"I'm very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful", Pompeo said, dismissing concerns that Congress would need to approve an incursion.

Guaido, meanwhile, was to make a fresh bid on Saturday to rally Venezuela's armed forces behind him with protests at military bases in the crisis-hit country.

The fight started after Omar, earlier this week, held the Trump administration responsible for the escalating situation in Venezuela, where the opposition is trying to wrest power from the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.

Tensions in Venezuela have soared since Guaido invoked the constitution to declare himself acting president.

Those advisers, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, were briefed "on a wide range of military options", in Venezuela on May 3, the Pentagon said in statement. She said, "Instead of 'We disagree, ' it's 'She doesn't know what she's talking about".

"And I feel the same way". He said Maduro's days as the Venezuelan leader are numbered, but offered no timetable.

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