> I'm not downplaying a present threat and I don't want it to be taken like that.
On top of that, Maduro tried to reassure Russian and Chinese creditors, saying Venezuela always honors its debts. It comes amid an escalating political crisis in the country. On Tuesday, Moscow said Venezuela might have problems servicing its $3 billion sovereign debt to Russia. That came after Washington ratcheted up pressure on Maduro.
With sweeping US sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company aimed at pressuring Maduro to step down. Russian officials called the sanctions illegal, saying they may keep Caracas from meeting a $100 million interest only debt payment due in March.>>
>> Last week, opposition leader Juan Guiado challenged Maduro's claim to the presidency.
Calling Maduro's second term win last year a fraud and demanding fresh elections. Since then, Western governments including the US and many of its allies, have said they recognize Guaido as Venezuela's president over Maduro. Their power struggle ramp up on Wednesday. Maduro's government said they were preparing an investigation of Guaido that could mean his arrest.
They slapped the 35-year old with a trial ban and froze his bank accounts. In response, Guaido called for new street protests, saying arrest was nothing compared to the hardship faced by Venezuela's people under Maduro.>>
Unfortunately, this regime does not respond to the Venezuelan people. Their only response is persecution and repression. In the six years since Maduro took power, the country's economy has tanked. And more than 3 million Venezuelans have fled shortages of food and basic medicines.