Euro MPs back interim leader in Venezuela

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Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido says China's support will be important to boosting the country's economy and future development.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that there is a clause in the Venezuelan constitution that proves Juan Guaido is the legitimate interim president of the country.

Guaido moved to expand his global support by reassuring China - Venezuela's main creditor and a long-time ally of the socialist regime - that he would honor bilateral agreements if successful in ousting Maduro.

Washington has imposed sweeping sanctions on state-owned oil firm PDVSA.

Pence told the room filled with Venezeulan exiles that President Trump "asked me to be here to show our unwavering commitment to the good people of Venezuela".

The opposition leader, who has been recognised as the interim President of the country by the United States and the European Union, has not ruled out accepting military support by the U.S. in the politics of Venezuela.

He says that the "international contact group" announced on Thursday by the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, "should help to cease the usurpation of power by Maduro and establish a transitional government until new elections".

Guaido, who declared himself interim president last week, has spoken at great length about his team's push to safeguard Venezuela's assets so that they can be used to fund the flow of humanitarian aid into the crisis-torn nation. There was no immediate response from the Maduro government.

"We, the Venezuelans, stand by the United States' side and are waiting for you", he said. "And the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all".

Pence calls for end of Venezuela's Maduro government
Until very recently, Guaido, an industrial engineer and former student leader, was nearly virtually unknown on the global stage. Guaido said in the interview that the operation would be a "new test" of the military's loyalty toward the government.

EFE has reported that Colombian photographer Leonardo Munoz disappeared on Wednesday morning in Caracas and that two more reporters, Spaniard Gonzalo Dominguez and Colombian Mauren Barriga, were later taken away from their office by members of Venezuelan intelligence service Sebin.

Guaido has said he needs the back of three critical groups - the people, the global community and the military - to oust Maduro, but faces the near-impossible mission to get Venezuela's military on board. "We don't know. We don't know because this man (Maduro) doesn't want to leave and is very defiant".

And last week, the Bank of England denied Maduro officials' request to withdraw US$1.2 billion of gold stored there after top USA officials, including Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, lobbied their United Kingdom counterparts to cut off the regime from its overseas holdings.

The US on Thursday urged all European countries to recognise Guaido, but Maduro has told the "imperialists" to wait until 2025 for new elections.

"For us Venezuelans, there is only one president - President Nicolas Maduro".

"The U.S. intends to invade us, they will have a Vietnam worse than they can imagine" Maduro said in an interview with a Russian news agency.

It is unclear whether Maduro's government, which denies the country is suffering a humanitarian crisis, will let any foreign aid through.

"It's been years of destruction of companies and poverty", said Pedro Gimenez, 51, a worker in an aluminum factory in the southern state of Bolivar.

Jazairy's office has taken funds from donors including Russian Federation, one of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's staunchest supporters.

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