Venezuela's Guaido tells Maduro pressure 'just beginning'

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On Monday, the Venezuelan opposition leader returned to Venezuela where after two-week-long absence he appeared in front of a crowd of his supporters in Caracas. On Tuesday, he will meet with representatives of trade unions, but the venue is not named.

"They're drowning in contradictions, they don't know how to respond to Venezuela's people", Mr Guaido told reporters.

"I've just come from a meeting of the National Security Council Principals committee We're looking at new sanctions, new measures to tighten our grip on Maduro's financial wherewithal to deny his regime the money that they need to stay in power", Bolton said on Tuesday.

The situation in Caracas remains calm after the return of opposition leader Juan Guaido, TASS reports from the site.

"It is extremely hard to see how he could play a positive role in a democratic election", he said, adding that it was ultimately up to Venezuelans to decide Maduro's future role.

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Guaido's return marks the latest challenge to Maduro's authority since the young challenger declared himself acting president on January 23, vowing to set up a transitional government and hold new elections.

U.S. envoy Elliott Abrams said that given President Maduro's low popularity, it would be "a gift" if he made a decision to run in fresh polls. Abrams reportedly called on "Maurer" to block the Venezuelan government's assets in a nonexistent Swiss bank that the prank callers mentioned.

While Mr Guaido's presence is likely to add at least short-term momentum to his campaign for political change, Mr Maduro has proven resilient and still controls the organs of state, including the critical loyalty of top military officers.

Guaido said the strikes would be staggered and aim to paralyze the public sector. "In the town halls people only go to work three days a week and even then barely half the day", said Yanez.

"We are going to defeat them, be absolutely sure", he said during a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

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Insisting there is no crisis, President Maduro has cut relations completely with Colombia and accuses the United States of planning an invasion.

"Thanks to your teachings and your example we're continuing the permanent fight against those who tried so many times to extinguish your voice", wrote the president.

During his travels, Juan Guaido met US Vice President Mike Pence and the leaders of Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador.

The strikes would ratchet up pressure on a weakened Maduro by giving several million state employees, a traditional bastion of government support, a chance to demonstrate their frustration with an administration that has overseen Venezuela's deepest ever economic crisis.

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