Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had claimed Tuesday that Maduro was on the cusp of fleeing to Cuba before being talked into staying by Moscow.

Guaido said late Tuesday night that Maduro's claim that he still has the respect and support of the Venezuelan military is false.

Guaido says Maduro must step aside for a transitional government to organise new elections.

Pompeo said that the United States government was "committed to creating democracy here in the Western Hemisphere" and that Venezuela faced "the singularly worst humanitarian crisis, absent conflict, absent war, in the history of the world".

There have been reports of shooting and release of tear gas near the road leading up to the Francisco de Miranda Airbase in Caracas, where Guaido recorded the video.

Lopez said he has been freed by members of the military responding to an order by Guaido, whom the US and dozens of other governments recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader.

Gunshots were heard at a rally led by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido outside a Caracas air base, Reuters witnesses said, after Guaido said earlier that troops had joined him to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

But few observers gave it much chance of success as a stalemate emerged that left regular Venezuelans, already struggling from hyperinflation and blackouts, in the middle of a political battle between Guaido and Maduro, who has managed to preserve the backing of his military as well as allies like Russian Federation and Cuba.

Guaido in January invoked the constitution to declare himself interim president, arguing that Maduro's re-election in 2018 was illegitimate.

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The head of a medical centre near the site of the street battles said doctors were treating 50 people, about half of them with injuries suffered from rubber bullets.

Pro- and anti-Maduro demonstrations were held outside the Venezuelan embassies in several Latin American and European capitals.

"It's been a long time since anyone has seen Maduro".

The letter circulating on social media was confirmed by a senior US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge details of the case.

"All agreed that Maduro had to go", Mr Bolton told reporters in Washington.

The United States is among some 50 countries that recognize Mr Guaido as Venezuela's president, and has imposed sanctions to try to dislodge Maduro who they say won re-election past year through fraud.

But he did not offer evidence that three of Maduro's top loyalists had expressed a willingness to turn against the president.

"That's right", Pompeo said. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.

What is happening in Venezuela is confusing and the USA government is receiving conflicting information, according Abrams.

  • Sonia Alvarado