Venezuela's Maduro 'willing to sit down' with opposition

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Elsewhere in Venezuela, residents went about their daily routine. "Guaido is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court".

Defiant: Nicolas Maduro gestures during a meeting with soldiers in Caracas yesterday.

He moved forward with building a transition government on Tuesday, naming almost a dozen new diplomats to nations that have recognized him as interim president.

It would seem that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, is being supported by none less than the United States of America. US President Donald Trump tweeted after speaking with Guaido.

Venezuela plunged further into turmoil last week after the United States recognised Guaido, 35, as acting president, while Russian Federation, which has lent Caracas an estimated $17 billion since 2006, continued to back Maduro.

Bolton advised the global business community on Twitter Wednesday not to "deal in" Venezuelan oil or other commodities "being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Maduro mafia", and added, "We stand ready to continue to take action".

But with the United States demanding Maduro relinquish power in order to lift the sanctions, "if there isn't a political change soon, we'll have serious fuel problems", said analyst Asdrubal Oliveros from the Ecoanalitica consultancy.

The notes were issued early past year by Venezuela's Central Bank but hyperinflation has rendered them worthless.

The Venezuelan leader argued that he was elected less than a year ago with some 68 percent of the vote and the election was held in line with all constitutional and legal parameters.

Wednesday's protest was considered a crucial test for the reinvigorated opposition as it seeks to send a forceful message that Mr Maduro no longer has the people's backing and appeals to the military and the poor to shift loyalties that until recently looked solidly behind the president. "That is true diplomacy".

But Maduro is holding firm.

Washington has recognized Guaido's claim to lead Venezuela, but hard-left President Nicolas Maduro, who still controls the military and police, says Guaido is part of a US -led coup plot.

The expulsion of US Diplomats was suspended, so as to give a 30-day window for negotiations with US officials.

In an interview with Russia's RIA Novosti news agency that aired on Wednesday, Maduro said he has sent letters to the governments of Bolivia, Mexico, Russia and Uruguay to involve them in a new process of dialogue with the opposition. He says Maduro fraudulently won elections past year and is offering an amnesty to military officials.

He knows, though, that he must convince the military to switch sides in order to dislodge Maduro, a former bus driver.

If a shortage of heavy crude develops in the expected, it will likely increase prices throughout the North American market, including in Canada, said Kevin Birn, vice-president of North American crude oil markets for IHS Markit. "With these measures, they intend to rob us", he said.

Maduro's comments were published on Wednesday as the fight for control of Venezuela escalated with the government preparing an investigation into self-declared interim president Guaido, and new street protests planned.

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The flight, operated by Russia's Nordwind Airlines, left Venezuela at 4.52 pm local time (2152 GMT), a Reuters witness said.