Guaido asks state workers for support in push to oust Maduro

Guaido asks state workers for support in push to oust Maduro

"We are going to defeat them, be absolutely sure", he said during a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

"I've just come from a meeting of the National Security Council Principals committee We're looking at new sanctions, new measures to tighten our grip on Maduro's financial wherewithal to deny his regime the money that they need to stay in power", Bolton said on Tuesday.

"They thought the pressure had already maxed out", said Guaido, who is recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela's legitimate head of state.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has accused the US of trying to intervene in the Latin American country militarily, urging the UN Security Council to reject any use of force against the country.

"The crazed minority continues in their bitterness".

While tensions are mounting as Guaido's return posed a direct challenge to Maduro's elected government and could end with Guaido being arrested, Venezuelans urge the opposing camps to resolve the political conflict in a more peaceful way.

Supporters, media, and diplomats from allied countries mobbed Guaido on his arrival at the global airport in Caracas before he headed into the city for a tumultuous homecoming by thousands of supporters.

He crossed into Colombia on February 23 to lead a bid to bring in humanitarian aid stockpiled near the border, but the move was blocked by the military and security forces in a day of chaos and bloodshed.

On Monday, the Venezuelan opposition leader returned to Venezuela where after two-week-long absence he appeared in front of a crowd of his supporters in Caracas.

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He has vowed to set up a transitional government and hold new elections. It is also calm in central Caracas, in the Libertador municipality, a stronghold of President Nicolas Maduro's supporters.

The U.S. envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said in Washington that Maduro had presided over economic decline and human rights violations in Venezuela.

"That's ultimately a decision for Venezuelans to make", Abrams said.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector and announced asset freezes and travel bans targeting top government officials.

After failing to undermine the loyalty of the Venezuelan army, the self-proclaimed "interim president" targeted one of Maduro's key support bases in the public sector and is now in talks with trade unions about staging massive strikes by state workers. He planned to meet Tuesday with public employee unions, tweeting that the meeting is meant to "recover" the state bureaucracy, which he says is being manipulated by Maduro's government for political benefit.

"That's never stopped us", Guaido said.

President Nicolas Maduro has not been seen in public over the recent days either, and has made no statements after the return of Guaido.

During his travels, Guaido met US Vice President Mike Pence and the leaders of Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador.

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