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Juan Guaido's chief of staff snatched from his home at 2am

Juan Guaido's chief of staff snatched from his home at 2amThe United States has threatened Venezuela with severe consequences unless President Nicolas Maduro immediately release a senior aide to Juan Guaido, who was snatched from his home by masked intelligence agents in the early hours of Thursday. Roberto Marrero, chief of staff to Mr Guaido, shouted out loud that Mr Maduro’s agents had planted two rifles and a grenade on him, Mr Guaido tweeted. On Thursday afternoon, 12 hours later, Mr Marrero was still being held. John Bolton, the US national security advisor, said that the arrest of Mr Marrero “would not go unanswered”. “Maduro has made another big mistake,” he added. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, also threatened to "hold accountable those involved". Juan Guaido, at a rally in Caracas on March 12 Venezuela’s government has not commented on the 2am arrest, but Mr Guaido said that Mr Marrero had been taken by Sebin, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, and was being detained at an unknown location. Mr Marrero's neighbour, Sergio Vergara, a pro-Guaido deputy, was able to raise the alarm. Mr Vergara said around 15 Sebin officers threw him to the floor and "ransacked" his own home for around two hours, while asking where to find Mr Marrero. Mr Marrero was able to send a voice message shortly before he was taken, and urged: "Look after the president". The voice message was distributed by Mr Guaido’s press team, who also sent a video of another opposition politician, Carlos Berrizbeitia, showing damage to the door of Mr Marrero's home and a broken lock. Mr Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the national assembly, was himself briefly detained on January 13, en route to a rally. But since he declared himself the legitimate president on January 23 he has been able to move freely throughout Venezuela and internationally, with the support of the United States. Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido both believe they are the legitimate rulers of Venezuela Mr Maduro and Mr Guaido both claim to be Venezuela's legitimate leaders but Mr Maduro, 56, retains the loyalty of the military and has control of state apparatus. The White House has frequently said that touching Mr Guaido would cross a line and provoke a strong response. Mr Guaido demanded the release of his chief of staff, saying that "we won't be intimidated" by the "vile, vulgar kidnapping." He said that Mr Maduro is weak and does not "dare" to detain him. Elliott Abrams, Mr Trump’s envoy to Venezuela, agreed, saying that Mr Maduro is instead targeting Mr Guaido's aides. The United Nations said it learned "with concern" about reports of Mr Marrero’s detention, and urged all sides "to lower tensions and refrain from any action that could lead to further escalation." Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman, noted that UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose team is currently in the country, and has expressed concern at Mr Marrero's detention. On Wednesday Ms Bachelet issued a strongly-worded condemnation of the situation in Venezuela, demanding that Mr Maduro allow her team to work unhindered, and highlighting more than 300 murders and abductions by the Venezuelan security forces.



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Venezuelan forces kidnap opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff in raid

Venezuelan forces kidnap opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff in raidVenezuelan armed intelligence officers descended on the apartment of Roberto Marrero, a lawyer and top adviser to opposition leader Juan Guaido.



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Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido says senior aide was kidnapped by intelligence agents

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido says senior aide was kidnapped by intelligence agentsThe Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has said intelligence agents arrested his chief of staff after a pre-dawn raid, signalling that president Nicolas Maduro may be cracking down on the opposition’s challenge to his rule. Mr Guaido invoked the constitution in January to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud, and has been recognised by dozens of Western nations as the country’s legitimate leader. Mr Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic collapse of the country’s economy, has called Mr Guaido a puppet of the United States and said he should “face justice”, but has not explicitly ordered his arrest.



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Juan Guaido: Opposition leader tells supporters ‘we are going to celebrate’ after returning to Venezuela

Juan Guaido: Opposition leader tells supporters ‘we are going to celebrate’ after returning to VenezuelaVenezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has returned to Caracas after defying a travel ban – telling supporters “we are going to celebrate this small victory today”. Ten days after he ignored the ban imposed by Nicolas Maduro and travelled first to Colombia for a series of meetings with leaders to seek international support to help oust him, he returned to Caracas and addressed a rally. The leader of the country’s national assembly declared himself Venezuela’s “legitimate” president in January, days after Mr Maduro was sworn in for a second term following elections in 2018.



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Venezuela’s U.S.-supported opposition leader Juan Guaido returns home, risks arrest

Venezuela’s U.S.-supported opposition leader Juan Guaido returns home, risks arrestVenezuela’s U.S.-supported opposition leader Juan Guaido returns home after defying a travel ban to meet with Latin American leaders.



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Venezuela's Juan Guaido says he will return to Caracas

Venezuela's Juan Guaido says he will return to CaracasBRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Juan Guaido, recognized by many countries as Venezuela's president, said Thursday he would return to Caracas this weekend despite "threats."



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EU warns against military action in Venezuela as Mike Pence and Juan Guaido meet at emergency summit

EU warns against military action in Venezuela as Mike Pence and Juan Guaido meet at emergency summitThe European Union on Monday urged the United States and Latin American powers against launching a military intervention to oust the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.  Venezuela's self-declared “interim president” Juan Guaido met with Mike Pence and Latin American leaders in neighbouring Colombia, to discuss the next steps in the crisis after a weekend of violence. Mr Guaido, arriving in Bogota on Sunday night ahead of the meeting of the Lima Group, called on the international community to consider "all measures to free" Venezuela. The meeting was the first time that Mr Guaido, who declared himself president a month ago, has travelled abroad to meet other world leaders, and he was received as a head of state, with the red carpet rolled out. Mr Guaido and President Donald Trump have repeatedly said that all options are open. Mr Pence was expected to announce on Monday night that they had decided to increase the sanctions on Nicolas Maduro, the embattled president of Venezuela. Ahead of the meeting four Venezuelan officials were added to the already extensive list of sanctioned individuals. On Monday he also called on Latin American allies to ramp up pressure on Caracas by transferring Venezuelan overseas assets to Mr Guaido. A spokesman for Federica Mogherini, the EU diplomatic chief, urged those gathered in Bogota to stop short of declaring war. "We must avoid a military intervention," said Maja Kocijancic. "What is explicitly quite clear, from our point of view, is that we need a peaceful political and democratic and Venezuelan-owned resolution of this crisis. "This obviously excludes the use of force." On Monday night Brazil definitively ruled out permitting military intervention from their territory, with the vice president saying it would not be allowed. Hours later Venezuela's government issued a statement accusing the US and the Lima Group countries of conducting "a ferocious campaign to oust" Maduro by trampling on basic international human rights. The statement also rejected Pence's announcements, accusing him of attempting "to give orders so that other countries join the vulgar plundering" that Washington is pursuing against Venezuela's assets. Venezuelan security forces clash with supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Venezuelan side f the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge Credit: RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP Four people were killed and 300 injured in a bloody standoff on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil, as Mr Guaido tried unsuccessfully to get humanitarian aid into the country. The aid convoys were abandoned by early afternoon on Saturday, with one truck laden with supplies going up in flames. Running battles took place throughout Saturday and Sunday, with frequent bloody skirmishes between Mr Maduro’s heavily-armed security forces and pro-Guaido youngsters, throwing rocks and quickly-improvised Molotov cocktails. At least 160 military officials have crossed over into Colombia and pledged allegiance to Mr Guaido, the Colombian migration service said on Sunday night. Many said they rejected the orders to fire on their own countrymen, and knew that the aid was desperately needed. Mr Pence said on Monday that the United States was preparing an additional $ 56 million (£43m) in humanitarian aid, adding after the meeting that they were exploring different avenues for getting it into Venezuela. He urged Latin American countries to take financial measures against Mr Maduro’s government, in particular PDVSA – the state-owned oil company. “We call on all Lima Group nations to immediately freeze the assets of PDVSA,” he said. “Secondly, transfer ownership of Venezuelan assets in your country from Maduro’s henchmen to President Guaido’s government.” The four sanctioned Venezuelans were the governors of Zulia, Apure, Vargas and Carabobo state. Rafael Alejandro Lacava, the governor of Carabobo and ally of Mr Maduro, goes by the nickname “Dracula” in reference to his habit of doing late-night street patrols.



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Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido tries to seize control of country's oil production

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido tries to seize control of country's oil productionThe self-declared leader of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, is attempting to wrest control of the nation’s massive oil revenues. The country’s congress, controlled by the opposition, has appointed a transitional board of directors for Venezuela’s state oil firm. Embattled socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, lashed out at congress leader Mr Guaido, saying he would face the courts “sooner or later” for violating the constitution.



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France, U.K. Recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela Interim President

France, U.K. Recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela Interim PresidentSeveral of these nations said on Jan. 26 that they would recognize Guaido in the event Maduro refused to call elections within eight days. The European Union failed to jointly support the head of the National Assembly when countries including Italy vetoed a push to make that the position of the whole bloc.



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Venezuela: Juan Guaido will open up oil deals to foreign private companies, opposition leader’s US envoy says

Venezuela: Juan Guaido will open up oil deals to foreign private companies, opposition leader’s US envoy saysVenezuela’s government-in-waiting will allow foreign private oil companies a greater stake in joint ventures with its state-owned oil giant, Juan Guaido’s envoy to the US has said. Currently, Venezuela’s socialist government has requirements that Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) keep a controlling stake in any joint ventures with other energy companies.



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