Venezuela's Supreme Court has banned opposition leader Juan Guaidó from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts. The move comes amid an escalating power struggle, after Mr Guaidó declared himself interim president last week.
He has been backed by the US and other countries. President Nicolás Maduro has major allies too, including Russia. A group of North and South American countries has meanwhile opposed any outside military involvement.
Peru's foreign minister Nestor Popolizio said the Lima Group - a 14-country body including Canada set up in 2017 to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela - was opposed to military intervention. US officials have stated that all options to resolve the crisis are on the table.
Venezuela has been facing acute economic problems and there has been an upsurge in violence in recent weeks. Protests have been held across the country since Mr Maduro began his second term on 10 January. He was elected last year during a controversial vote in which many opposition candidates were barred from running, or jailed.
At least 40 people are believed to have died and hundreds have been arrested since 21 January, the UN says. Hyperinflation and shortages of essentials such as food and medicine have forced millions to flee the nation.
The Supreme Court, which is loyal to Mr Maduro, quickly approved the measures on Tuesday after Attorney General Tarek William Saab asked it to take precautionary measures against Mr Guaidó.
The opposition leader is prohibited from leaving the country until a preliminary investigation is complete after he caused harm to peace in the republic, court head Maikel Moreno said.
As leader of the National Assembly, Mr Guaidó has immunity from prosecution unless subject to a ruling by the country's top court. Speaking to journalists as he arrived at the parliament, the opposition leader reportedly said the moves were nothing new. I'm not dismissing the threats, the persecution at this time, but we're here, we're continuing to do our jobs, he said.
The court decision comes shortly after the US said it had handed control of Venezuela's US bank accounts to Mr Guaidó, whom it now regards as the country's legitimate president.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton responded with a tweet warning of serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaidó. Mr Bolton appeared at a news briefing with a notepad containing the words 5,000 troops to Colombia, which borders Venezuela.
On Tuesday acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan declined to say whether the Pentagon was considering sending troops. I haven't discussed that with Secretary Bolton, he told reporters. Also on Tuesday the State Department issued a travel advisory urging US nationals not to go to Venezuela because of civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.
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DemonTreeJan 31st, 2019 - 12:06 am +3
And I recognise as government whoever actually governs. Sorry if that's too pragmatic for you.
No, I don't think you're a troll, just suffering from the mindset of your generation, just as I am by my own. .plus, as I've mentioned several times, I detest Marxists.
If you've taken any notice, Venezuela is so poor, so desperate, and in such a mess that many people are eating out of garbage cans. Zoos are being broken into so that starving Venezuelan can eat the animals. Hospitals are short of basic medical supplies, like gloves and soap. People desperately wait in long lines for food. Women are actually being voluntary sterilized to avoid pregnancy, as the nation descends into a socialist hellhole. The level of hunger has become so terrible that the well educated, including children, have now resorted to prostitution to obtain groceries. For burials, caskets have become too expensive; families are burying their loved ones in plastic bags. Oh, and let’s not forget the return of polio in Venezuela.
Maduro and his criminal government is guilty of crimes against humanity. Marxism at its almost evil worst. My Venezuelan friends here in Chile told me a long time ago that the only solution is a violent overthrow, including lining up the leaders against a wall and shot. I agree with you that it will take a decade for the country to recover if they have a sound governance.
JackJan 30th, 2019 - 08:20 pm +2
(You sometimes need to add DemonTree to you notorious list...)
My two Venezuelan friends living in my neighborhood have already been invited to my home to open a 1991 Don Melchor Cabernet and celebrate when the bus driver falls from power.
Yes, Russia and China are owed billions of Dollars... What happened to your moral compass?
Maduro is following the great tradition of Latin American dictators when losing their grip on power, create had reliable exit strategy: exile in some hospitable foreign locale, in this case probably Cuba or Russia. If he fails to control the military backing him, he'll likely hastily flee in a quick flight to Cuba.
If you believe in a true democratic society, the assets of Venezuela belong to the government, which is now constitutionally recognized under the control of Guaidó.
Following that legal understanding you realize that Maduro exporting part of Venezuela's gold reserves outright theft.
And... Yes, yes, yes... Squeak in rage all you want about Augusto Pinochet, but 1973 was a different time...
Hopefully there will be no bloodbath of violence... ...hopefully...
But the tree of liberty sometimes need the taste of blood.
Estimado THINKJan 31st, 2019 - 12:43 am +2
What I read was ”La Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) reportó un caso de polio en un niño indígena de dos años en el este de Venezuela.” It seems the report was false.
Any other comments?