Pence calls for end of Venezuela's Maduro government

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A change in government in Venezuela would favour the country's two main foreign creditors Russian Federation and China, Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

"The time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all", said Pence, who has emerged as one of the strongest voices against the Venezuelan leader in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Guaido said in the interview that the operation would be a "new test" of the military's loyalty toward the government.

Venezuela is now going through a political crisis, with Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, having declared himself the country's interim president on 23 January.

Pence reiterated comments made Mr. Trump and other administration representatives that the United States is willing to move beyond just diplomatic avenues if Maduro does not step down. Mexico and Uruguay have maintained their recognition of Maduro and have offered to host global talks in hopes of resolving the dispute peacefully.

Maduro has been crisscrossing Venezuela overseeing military exercises and vowing to defend his socialist government no matter the cost. The opposition and a large segment of the worldwide community consider Maduro's reelection fraudulent, in part because the president's most popular adversaries were barred from running.

"We're in a historic battle, " Maduro told several hundred troops standing in formation around armored vehicles. Though this might serve as an excuse for the oft-threatened USA intervention, it would likely be disastrous for Venezuela's already struggling economy.

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Maduro, who began a second term last month after 2018 elections dismissed by the West as a sham, has said he would be ready for talks with the opposition.

The United States is also monitoring trade between its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey and Venezuela and will take action if it judges any sanctions have been violated, a senior US official said in Istanbul.

Maduro also says the opposition strategy of trying to push him from office is illegal and led by hawks in the Trump administration, such as the recently appointed USA special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, a veteran diplomat involved in the armed interventions in Central America in the 1980s.

"There is no possible discussion here".

Guaido said that he is still sees transparent elections as the best way out of Venezuela's spiraling political crisis, but realizes that Maduro will not easily grant them unless he is pressured to do so by economic sanctions, street protests and Venezuela's military.

"We have supported them and will support them".

Until very recently, Guaido, an industrial engineer and former student leader, was nearly virtually unknown on the global stage.

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