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Pope says Vatican open to mediating in Venezuela if both sides willing

Pope says Vatican open to mediating in Venezuela if both sides willing”

In a declaration, the group urged the Venezuelan military to support Guaidó. He said some preliminary steps had to be taken first by the Vatican and other members of the worldwide community.

Maduro has been called on to resign and let the country hold a new presidential election as his government has sidelined the National Assembly, held widely questioned elections, and overseen an economic crisis that has forced millions of Venezuelans to flee, mostly to other South American countries.

In a statement, it accused them of submitting to a USA "strategy to overthrow the legitimate government" and singled out Spain, which had previously led mediation efforts, for acting "cowardly".

France, Germany, Britain, and Spain led the way on Monday, followed by Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.

European Union member states had indicated that if no new elections are announced, they would take action within the next few days, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership in accordance with Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution.

In power since former President Hugo Chavez's death in 2013, Maduro has been accused by critics of running the OPEC nation of 30 million people like a dictatorship.

- The Venezuelan Supreme Court, stacked with Maduro loyalists, has remained solidly behind the socialist leader, ruling last month that all actions taken by the congress - led by Guaido - are null and void.

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In a statement, Bulgaria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was convinced that the Venezuelan people should be given the right to determine their own future based on the principles of the democratic and the rule of law.

Guaido has picked up a slew of endorsements from European countries after Maduro rejected calls from leading EU countries to hold presidential elections.

But Maduro dismissed the group's calls for change, saying they made him feel 'like vomiting and laughing at the same time'.

"Addressing military personnel at a "Civic-Military Patriotic March" commemorating the 27th anniversary of Hugo Chávez's failed 1992 coup d'état in the state of Aragua, Maduro pushed back on recent comments by President Donald Trump that the USA had not ruled out a military option in its efforts to remove Maduro from power".

The threat of invasion of Venezuela remains, but the country's armed forces support the government of President Nicolas Maduro and are protecting the Constitution, Venezuela's Ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa said during a roundtable discussion in Moscow about the current political crisis in Venezuela.

They have joined the U.S. in pushing for a change of regime in Venezuela, which is now seeing an acute shortage of medicines and hyperinflation despite being an oil-rich country.

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Trudeau said he personally conveyed Canada's support to Guaido on Sunday during a phone conversation.

Trucks carrying food and medical supplies sent by the United States to be stockpiled until it can be brought into Venezuela will arrive later this week at Guaido's request and will be prepositioned at the main Colombian-Venezuelan border crossing at Cucuta, U.S. officials with knowledge of the plan said.

Maduro's critics have said incompetent policies and corruption have impoverished the once-wealthy nation, leaving it with widespread shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation forecast to reach 10 million percent in 2019.

- Turkey has also backed Maduro in contrast with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies while Iran has accused the United States of seeking "world hegemony".

About 50 protesters showed up at the Lima Group's closing news conference to denounce Canada's moves so far. Uruguay's central bank and the office of the country's president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

- State oil company PDVSA, which accounts for most of Venezuela's export earnings, stood by Maduro.

But its statement was more measured than that of CUPE, focusing on calling for the government to "promote dialogue to foster a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis".

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At an emergency meeting Thursday, 16 nations from the Organization of American States recognized Guaido as interim president. Bolton, known for his harsh views on the Latin American left, laid some of the groundwork well before Guaido's emergence.



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