Democracy, Economy / Finance, Human Rights, Politics, Violence

Venezuela in crisis: All the latest updates

Jan 29 2019

Al Jazeera English

Latest updates as Venezuela plunges into a major crisis amid a growing row over Nicolas Maduro’s presidency.

Fast Facts:

–Countries that support President Maduro: Bolivia, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Turkey.  

–Countries that support opposition leader Juan Guaido: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United Kingdom, United States.

Venezuela has plunged into a major political crisis amid a growing row over President Nicolas Maduro’s future as the country’s leader.

Maduro started a second term on January 10 following a widely-boycotted election last year that many foreign governments refused to recognise.

On Wednesday, Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president.

Shortly after Guaido took an oath swearing himself in before his supporters, US President Donald Trump publicly recognised him as the country’s leader. In response, Maduro broke off diplomatic ties with the United States and gave the American diplomats in the country 72 hours to leave.

Maduro accused Guaido of staging a coup and ordered his arrest.

Here are all the latest updates as of Tuesday, January 29:

Attorney general seeks Guaido investigation

Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek Saab on Tuesday said he had asked the Supreme Court to open a preliminary investigation against self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, and to freeze the opposition leader’s accounts.

As a lawmaker, who also heads the National Assembly, Guaido has immunity from criminal investigation which can only be removed by a high court.

US gives control over bank accounts to Guaido

The US has certified the authority of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to control certain assets held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other US-insured banks, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The certification, given on Friday, applies to certain property held in accounts belonging to the Venezuelan government or its central bank. “This certification will help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Bolton’s notes raise questions on troops 

White House national security adviser John Bolton raised questions about the United States’ intentions in Venezuela after he appeared at a briefing on Monday, with a notepad containing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” which neighbours Venezuela.

It was not immediately clear what Bolton’s note meant and whether President Donald Trump’s administration was seriously considering sending US troops to Colombia.

It was also not clear if disclosure of the note was intentional.

Representatives for the National Security Council and the Pentagon could not be immediately reached for comment.

Guaido urges peaceful transition

Venezuela‘s opposition movement can achieve a peaceful transition from President Nicolas Maduro and eventually hold free elections, its leader Juan Guaido told CNN in an interview that aired on Tuesday.

“We are sure we can achieve a peaceful transition – a transition and eventually free elections,” Guaido said in the Spanish-language interview, which was translated into English.

Guaido, who has led the movement against Maduro with support from the United States and other Western nations, spoke after Washington on Monday imposed sanctions on state-owned oil firm PDVSA as it pressured Maduro’s government.

 UN: Nearly 700 Venezuela arrests in a day 

The UN human rights office says security forces in Venezuela detained nearly 700 people in one day last week amid anti-government protests – the highest such tally in a single day in the country in at least 20 years.

Rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said on Tuesday that 696 people were detained on January 23 alone. Overall, some 850 were detained between Monday and Saturday, including 77 children.

Colville said “more than 40 people” are now believed to have been in killed “in different manners” amid the recent protests, including 11 people reportedly killed by “unidentified individuals” linked to incidents of looting.

China critical of US sanctions 

China’s foreign ministry has said it continues to recognise Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s president, and criticised planned US sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned petroleum company.

“Experience has proven that external interference or sanctions will only complicate the situation and will not help solve practical problems,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular media briefing Tuesday.



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