European Union countries part of 'a gringo plot' against Venezuela, Maduro claims

European Union countries part of 'a gringo plot' against Venezuela, Maduro claims

Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself acting president on January 23 in place of Maduro.

Two of the protesters, masquerading as journalists, interrupted the Lima Group's closing news conference, shouting, "Hands off Venezuela" while holding a big black sign that read "Stop the plunder".

Donald Trump has warned he could use military force in Venezuela if Maduro does not hand over power, after the USA recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim President. He was boosted on Saturday by the defection of a top air force general.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the global community should help support Guaido by trying to block Maduro's government from foreign business transactions involving oil, gold and other assets.

He said that Venezuelan armed forces are standing fast and protecting the Constitution. He spoke at a military rally designed, in part, to display his support among Venezuela's military leaders.

The contact group comprises the European Union and eight of its member states - France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden - and four Latin American countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay. Trump's statement is criminal and threatening, very regrettable that the Venezuelan right applauds him with a gringo flag. "That is why it is time to increase pressure", Guaido said through an interpreter, his enlarged image hovering over the gathering on a movie-theatre-sized screen.

Trudeau also announced $53 million worth of humanitarian assistance Monday for the "most-pressing needs" of Venezuelans, including the nearly 3 million refugees.

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Trudeau said the money will go toward addressing the basic needs of most Venezuelans and assisting more than three million Venezuelan refugees overseas.

Shipments aree also coming from Venezuelan companies overseas, Colombia, Canada and Germany.

"We condemn the brutality of Maduro regime", Trump added blaming Caracas, and socialism in general, for the economic downfall of the country strangled by USA sanctions.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Francisco Popolizio Bardalen said the emboldened Venezuelan opposition "represents the beginning of the end of the dictatorship".

Canada and its Latin American allies in the Lima Group, along with the United States, have been pushing for Maduro's departure.

Britain said it was now considering imposing sanctions to help bring about change in Venezuela and has urged Guaidó to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Guaido is now Venezuela's "legitimate interim president". It is unclear how the supplies will get into Venezuela without Maduro's blessing and cooperation of the Venezuelan military, which has remained loyal to his government and is stationed on the Venezuelan side of the border.

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