Venezuela opposition rally to keep up pressure on Maduro

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‘Novaya Gazeta’ reports Russia helped sell Venezuelan gold. Russia’s Central Bank denies it.

So far, all indications are that the Venezuelan military is securely behind President Maduro, despite offers of amnesty and USA cajoling.

He told officials: "Do not cross the red line".

Zeleyka Muskus, a 53-year-old tax collector from Caracas, said the opposition was responsible for the country's current economic woes, saying that they have staged years of protests that have gotten people injured and killed.

"We have to erode the pillars that support this dictatorship", he said.

Earlier in the week, Maduro threatened the Unites States government with another "Vietnam" if they made a decision to physically intervene into Venezuela.

Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany are among nations pushing the European Union to recognize Juan Guaido "as president ad interim of Venezuela", according to a draft communique obtained by Bloomberg, in the latest move by the west to isolate President Nicolas Maduro.

And four major European powers - Britain, France, Germany and Spain - have said they will do so if Maduro fails to call presidential elections by midnight on Sunday.

Guaido declared himself interim president last week, a move that was supported by some two dozen countries. "Russia is not going to bleed for Venezuelan oil".

China and Venezuela have been "pragmatically cooperating for a long time", said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

The military's support is crucial for Maduro, who is deeply unpopular, largely due to an unprecedented economic crisis that has prompted an exodus of millions.

Francisco Sucre heads the global committee of the opposition-led National Assembly in Venezuela.

Still, Maduro is clinging to power, and intimidating the opposition while he's at it. Sen.

Mireanna Fernandez, a 20-year-old student at a protest in the eastern city of Ciudad Guayana, said before Guaido's January 23 proclamation she wanted to leave Venezuela, but now she had hope that Maduro's government would end.

The United States is also monitoring trade between its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey and Venezuela and will take action if it judges any sanctions have been violated, a senior US official said in Istanbul.

In a brief phone conversation with The Associated Press, the officer confirmed, from a Colombian number, the veracity of his declaration and said he would not give further statements until given authorization by "the commander-in-chief of the legal armed force which is President Juan Guaido".

The US on Thursday urged all European countries to recognize Guaido, but Maduro has told the "imperialists" to wait until 2025 for new elections.

This comes as Reuters is reporting the Maduro government plans to sell gold from central bank vaults to the United Arab Emirates for cash, as new sanctions from the us threaten to further cripple the country's economy.

"Nicolas Maduro will do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America", Pence warned on Friday, February 1.

Pence is also meeting with community leaders, former elected officials and Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott in the Miami suburb of Doral to talk about the South American nation's political crisis.

On a similar note, recently, economists stated that Venezuelan government can topple on its own without the new United States sanction.

Although Arellano, along and his wife Mayra Lopez, left a year ago, they say the problems back home have only gotten worse.

"The Kremlin would deny that but the Kremlin does work through private mercenaries", Wigell said, adding that "the Maduro regime doesn't entirely trust its own armed forces anymore".

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