The Venezuelan Guaido calls for new protests over pressure on Maduro

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CARACAS (Reuters) – Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president, has called for new street demonstrations today, with intensified pressures on President Nicolas Maduro and the oppressed OPEC nation.

PHOTO PHOTOS: Venezuelan opposition leader and interim president Juan Guaido, accompanied by his wife Fabiana Rosales, speaks to the media after a Mass in a local church in Caracas, Venezuela, January 27, 2019. REUTERS / Carlos Barria / Photo file

Countries around the world have recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, and the United States has promised to starve Maduro's administration of oil revenues after he took the oath on January 10 for a second term that was nicknamed illegitimate.

Maduro claims that the United States is promoting a coup against him and promised to remain in office, supported by Russia and China, who financed his government and fought efforts to get his government to disavow United Nations.

Guaido said opposition sympathizers should go to the streets on Wednesday to distribute copies of a pamphlet offering an amnesty that would give legal protection to members of the army in the hope that they would turn against Maduro.

"We must remain united as active agents of change in every corner of the country," wrote Guaido on Twitter. "We are doing well, very well, Venezuela!"

Sunday, Israel and Australia joined the countries supporting 35-year-old Guaido and US President Donald Trump said his government has accepted Venezuelan opposition figure Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as a diplomatic representative in the United States.

Guaido took advantage of a major street demonstration on January 23 to swear by himself as the legitimate leader of the country, accusing Maduro of usurping power after a contested re-enactment of 2018 that countries around the world described as fraud.

Guaido asks for help to gain control of the Venezuelan government's offshore activities.

In recent days, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney have been urged to block Maduro's government from raising over $ 1 billion in gold held by the Bank of England.

Venezuela's once flourishing socialist economic system has imploded by corruption and mismanagement since the collapse of world oil prices in 2014, pushing inflation to nearly 2 million percent and driving millions of Venezuelans to neighboring countries.

Maduro says that his government is the victim of an "economic war" led by his political opponents with the help of Washington, which has imposed several rounds of sanctions against the country since 2017.

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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