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>> Russia on Thursday warned the United States not to intervene militarily in Venezuela, saying such a move would trigger a catastrophe. This comes just a day after the leader of Venezuela's opposition, Juan Guaido, swore himself in as interim head of state, amid major protests against the unpopular government of President Nicolás Maduro.
>> We are with you.>> Guaido quickly getting the thumbs up from Washington.>> We hope that Nicolás Maduro will accept a peaceful transition of power.>> Maduro fired back, cutting off diplomatic relations with the US, giving American officials 72 hours to leave the country.>> It is undemocratic to the core.
>> But the US is not backing off, instead mounting more political pressure. On Thursday, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urged the Organization of American States to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's new leader, while referring to Maduro as the former president.>> The regime of former president, Nicolás Maduro, is illegitimate.
His regime is morally bankrupt.>> Under Maduro, Venezuela's economy has fallen apart and annual inflation is approaching two million percent. Now, as a show of support for Guaido, the Trump administration is promising to help.>> Today I'm announcing that the United States is ready to provide more than 20 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela.
Our announcement of aid is in response to requests from the National Assembly led by the interim president.>>
> 35-year-old Guaido has promised free and fair elections, a transition government, and an amnesty for military officers if they help push out Maduro. But, so far, they're standing by him.
>> I alert the people of Venezuela that a coup is being carried out against the institutions, against our democracy, against our constitution, against our President Nicolás Maduro, the legitimate President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.>> The socialist leader, who was inaugurated in January following a 2018 election widely viewed as a sham, has aggressively cracked down on protests.
Just this week, at least 14 people were killed across Venezuela and hundreds arrested as anti-government demonstrators faced-off with security forces. Many opposition sympathizers are now concerned Guaido could be arrested like other political activists, including his mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, who remains under house arrest.