Hundreds gather in Doral to keep pressure on Maduro's regime

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido pauses as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas Venezuela

Guaido told supporters Saturday that the opposition would start collecting humanitarian aid in Brazil, Colombia and an unnamed Caribbean island, and he called on the military to allow the aid into the country.

On Tuesday, the government-stacked Supreme Court barred Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts while chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab, a Maduro ally, conducts an investigation into his anti-government activities.

Maduro's remarks come after the US declared Guaido as the legitimate leader, while European Union member states are expected to follow suit next week.

Guaido made the announcement Saturday speaking before tens of thousands of cheering supporters who took to the streets of Caracas demanding that Maduro step down from power.

Just minutes later, Maduro dug in his own heels by insisting he was the only president of Venezuela and proposing to hold new elections to replace Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition. He didn't say if he was still in Venezuela or had left the country.

Maduro has described the latest protests against his rule as part of a USA -led coup attempt and called on his supporters to organize their own march in defense of his Bolivarian Revolution.

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Dressed in a red shirt, the socialist leader took part in celebrations in central Caracas marking the 20th anniversary of his predecessor Hugo Chavez's ascent to power.

Pursuant to the request of Interim President Juan Guaido, and in consultation with his officials the United States will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid_medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela.

In July 2018 the Associated Press news agency reported, citing an unnamed representative of the U.S. administration, that in August 2017, Trump, during a meeting in the Oval Office, asked his aides about the possibility of a military intervention in the country.

In a YouTube video, Gen Yanez said: "The transition to democracy is imminent". Top military leaders have helped Maduro survive previous mass demonstrations in recent years by jailing activists and repressing opposition protesters.

Although Maduro has control of virtually all of Venezuela's political institutions and enjoys the support of the military, many blame him for the country's economic woes.

Shortly after protests broke out against Maduro last week, Venezuela's most important regional military commanders and its defense minister issued a statement in support of Maduro, describing Guaido as a coup monger backed by the United States.

The high command's web page lists him, along with a photo, as the air force's head of strategic planning.

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Saturday's opposition protests were the second such action taken this week.

"Chavez is the love of my life" she said, referring to the late Venezuelan president.

Previous talks between the government and opposition have failed to change electoral conditions in the South American country, and many political leaders have been forced into exile.

"We are going to have parliamentary elections", Mr Maduro told the pro-government rally in Caracas.

On Monday, Bolton warned that the USA would take action if its diplomatic staff or Guaido are threatened with violence in Venezuela on the same day that Washington seized billions of the country's oil assets by blocking PDVSA in the U.S. jurisdiction and imposing a ban on business deals with the company.

Other public workers attending the pro-government demonstration said they had been forced to go there by their bosses. Spain's state-run EFE news agency said three of its journalists were freed Thursday after being detained overnight in Venezuela's capital.

Associated Press writers Scott Smith, Joshua Goodman and Jorge Rueda contributed reporting from Caracas, Venezuela.

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