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Venezuela Crisis: Maduro says he is ready to negotiate with international opposition mediators

"I am ready to sit at the negotiating table with the opposition so that we can speak for the benefit of Venezuela – for the world and its future," Maduro said Wednesday in a published interview with Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

"The presidential elections in Venezuela have taken place, and if the imperialists want new elections, let them wait until 2025," Maduro said.

His remarks came just hours after his Attorney General announced that Juan Guaido – the leader of the democratically elected Venezuelan National Assembly, who had declared himself interim president of the country last week – is investigating despite being a member of parliament usually immune to law enforcement.

Maikel Moreno, supreme judge of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, said on Twitter that Guaido's assets would be frozen and he would be banned from the country during the ongoing investigation.

On Tuesday, US National Security Advisor John Bolton warned the Venezuelan authorities against further action against Guaido, which Washington recognizes as the country's legitimate president. Bolton said there would be "serious consequences" if Guaido did damage.

Guaido became president a week ago after Maduro fatally protested, despite the fact that he has presided over one of the worst economic collapses in recent history. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Many of the demonstrators who talked to CNN said they were hungry.

Maduro has accused Guaido and US President Donald Trump of planning a coup to oust him from power.

In a series of newsletters posted on social media on Wednesday, Maduro directly called on US citizens to ask them to prevent the Trump administration from turning Venezuela into a "Vietnam in Latin America." He also accused Washington of targeting Venezuela to steal the country's oil wealth.

"We are a people of peace with a solid democracy," said Maduro.

"I want respectful relations with all the United States … I ask for peace and respect."

Maduro accuses the US of acute food shortages, rising unemployment, and massive hyperinflation that has wiped out the savings in his country.

  Venezuelan army leaves Trump for weapons

. However, economists point to years of economic mismanagement as the more likely cause. Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez funded huge and ultimately unsustainable social programs and price-control policies to push the country towards socialism, block political opponents and eliminate opposition in the process.

"This is a battle between democracy and dictatorship," Guaido-appointed Chargé de Charge of Venezuela in the United States, Carlos Vecchio, said at a press conference after meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence.

Guaido called on the supporters to continue taking to the streets to pressure Maduro and the country's powerful military, which analysts say could serve as a potential king of the crisis.

In an interview with CNN en Español on Monday, Guaido said he hopes to gain support from the country's military to force Maduro to resign.

& # 39; A unique opportunity & # 39;

On Tuesday, Vecchio held a press conference in front of the White House, announcing that the Trump administration had accepted its diplomatic testimony.

He said Guaido's government has three main goals: to end the "dictatorship of Maduro"; set up an interim government that will work towards democracy; and calling for "free and transparent" elections as soon as possible.

"We have been fighting to restore democracy for the past 20 years, it has not been an easy task, but in my opinion we have a unique opportunity," he said. "We have the momentum, we have the people on the streets asking for change in our country, we have a united opposition behind the agenda that I just mentioned."

"We want a smooth transition in Venezuela to democracy, we want to bring stability to our country."

"That's why we call for the support of the international community," he said.

The White House has been one of the loudest supporters of Guaido since the beginning of the crisis, alongside a handful of democracies across Europe and Latin America.

China – Venezuela's most important creditor – Russia and Turkey are behind Maduro.
On Monday, the White House intensified its attempts to oust Maduro by addressing Caracas' highest asset: its oil wealth with sanctions against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, SA
The Trump government has this not done refused to exclude options to tackle the crisis, including military action – speculation was fueled in part after Bolton on Monday a yellow notepad with the words "5000 soldiers to Colombia" wore.

It is not clear if this was the case of a gaffe or a Machiavellist to intimidate the Maduro regime.

Government officials usually take notes in folders to conceal their contents, and Bolton is a seasoned diplomat with many years of experience.

The Colombian Foreign Minister said in a statement Monday that he did not know the thoughts behind Bolton's notes on Monday night.

"Colombia does not know the reasons for these notes and they are unaware of their true extent." Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo in a statement.

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