Caracas [Venezuela]: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday said that he instructed his envoy to the US to establish relations with the US military, in a fresh move to pressurise President Nicolas Maduro to resign.
Addressing a rally here, Maduro said that Carlos Vecchio, who is recognised as the ambassador by Washington, to immediately contact the US military for possible cooperation, Voice of America reported.
The rally was held after Guaido’s deputy, Edgar Zambrano, was arrested on Wednesday by intelligence agencies for backing last month’s failed coup d’etat against Maduro.
Zambrano, the vice-president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, is being held at Fuerte Tiuna military base in Caracas.
In response, Guaido hit out at the court’s decision saying that nothing will stop the opposition from achieving free and fair polls and ousting Maduro from power.
Guaido had declared himself as the President of Venezuela during mass protests in January — a move which was immediately backed by the US.
He currently enjoys recognition as the official interim President of Venezuela by over 50 countries, including France, Japan, UK, the US amongst others.
Even though there have been recurring calls for Maduro to resign — after calls to hold fresh elections failed — the leftist leader continues to hold on to his post with the support of Venezuelan armed forces.
Washington also slapped fresh sanctions on two shipping firms for allegedly transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.
In a statement, the US State Department said on Friday, “We have designated two companies, Monsoon Navigation Corporation and Serenity Maritime Limited, that operate in the oil sector.”
“We have also identified two vessels that transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba as blocked property,” it added.
In addition, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “the US will take further action if Cuba continues to receive Venezuelan oil in exchange for military support.”
The US has been pursuing a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the Maduro government in support of Guaido.