USA military ready to 'protect' diplomats in Venezuela - admiral

REUTERS  Marco Bello

A worker organises humanitarian aid for Venezuela at a warehouse near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, February 8, 2019.

He accused the Trump administration of trying to violate national sovereignty by co-ordinating the shipment of hundreds of tonnes of medicines, medical equipment and nutritional supplements.

In an interview with Reuters, the anonymous Trump official said the White House believes the few officers who have defected from Maduro are the "first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill".

Speaking in its inaugural meeting in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, the EU-backed International Contact Group on Venezuela said overly forceful intervention could aggravate the crisis in the country.

Guaido is trying to bring in food and medicine from the U.S. but supplies are stuck in warehouses in Colombia as the Venezuelan military has blocked their entry.

The United States invaded Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, two small Latin American countries, with limited military operations.

"Humanitarian aid now. United public outcry".

"Maduro has proven he will manipulate any calls for negotiations to his advantage and he has often used so-called dialogues as a way to play for time", he said.

He did not provide any details on how the USA military might respond.

Also at the briefing, the State Department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will discuss the issue of Venezuela with European Union leaders during his upcoming trip to Europe.

Guaido has declared himself interim president and has been recognized as such by dozens of countries, but Maduro, buoyed by support from the armed forces, has declined to step aside.

Argentines march to USA embassy to protest Venezuela intervention
Washington has repeatedly demanded that Maduro should resign from his post. In response, the country's Air Force called him a traitor.

Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaido urged demonstrators to continue their fight against the socialist tyrant Nicolas Maduro in Caracas today.

Guaido said Thursday he was confident his efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the country would work out.

But Maduro is still in control of the military and is using it as leverage to maintain power.

According to Rodriguez's reconstruction of the facts, Borges and other opposition leaders, with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency, were organizing a military uprising in Caracas that was discovered and blocked by Venezuelan security forces on January 21.

Guaido says the May 2018 vote in which Maduro won a second term as president was a sham and on January 23 invoked a constitutional provision to declare himself president, promising free and fair elections.

Leftist-led Bolivia also refused to support snap presidential elections in Venezuela.

On Wednesday the Venezuelan military, which backs Maduro, barricaded its own side of the border, vowing not to allow the aid to enter.

Medina previously served as a legal adviser at Venezuela's U.N. Mission.

According to Mogherini, the contact group should first reach "a common understanding" on "a political transition process" for the South American country, and channel humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans in need.

On Friday, the Supreme Court asked the attorney general's office to investigate alleged "criminal" conduct by Guaido and the legislature over the "usurpation of functions" that correspond to Maduro.

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