Juan Guaido aide detained in overnight raid, Venezuela opposition members say

Saul Bowman
March 24, 2019

The meeting was reportedly organised by the United States president to show his support for Caribbean countries that back democratic transition in Venezuela - the five countries having either denounced Nicolas Maduro or joined more than 50 countries in recognising Juan Guaido as the rightful interim leader of the nation.

"We would like to inform the national and global communities that our intelligence services have dismantled ... a terrorist cell that was planning to carry out a series of targeted attacks", Reverol said in a broadcast on state channel Venezolana de Television.

The arrest of Roberto Marrero, Mr Guaido's aide, in a predawn raid was a "vile, vulgar kidnapping", he told at a news conference, but "it won't make us deviate from the path we are on". "We call for their immediate release and will hold accountable those involved", the spokesperson said in a statement.

He yelled out to a neighbor, an opposition lawmaker, that the SEBIN intelligence officers arresting him had planted two assault rifles and a grenade in his home.

He also acknowledged that not all countries in the region agree with the USA call for Maduro's ouster.

At the President's direction, the United States has cut off illicit sources of income for Maduro's corrupt regime by imposing sanctions on more than 150 government officials and organizations, and we've blocked their ability to steal American dollars from Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA.

The accusations were repeated shortly afterwards by Maduro as he addressed a crowd of thousands of supporters in the capital.

The United States this month withdrew all its diplomats from Venezuela.

China's economic interests in Venezuela made it impossible to accept a representative from the opposition Juan Guaido camp - even if it meant not hosting the Inter-American Development Bank's annual meeting, a Chinese analyst says.

On April 28, the sanctions will jump up another level with an embargo on crude exports.

The sanctions were announced by the Treasury Department after the arrest Thursday in Caracas of an aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Trump has reiterated that "all options" - implicitly including military action - are on the table for dealing with Venezuela.

"I am also concerned about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press in Venezuela, and the allegations that the authorities have arbitrarily used the law against hatred, adopted in November 2017, to prosecute journalists, opposition leaders and anyone expressing dissenting opinions", she continued.

Juan Guaidó: The Venezuelan opposition leader has U.S. backing.

Noting that the Maduro government officials "will be strangled financially", Bolton said that "the window is closing".

The IMF and World Bank have not decided on whether to officially recognize Guaido as head of state.

U.S. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose before a meeting with St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina, Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Haiti President Jovenel Moise and Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., March 22, 2019. Maduro was supported by Russia, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey.

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