Anti-Maduro Protests Sweep Across Venezuela As Trump Congratulates Guaidó

Fresh protests broke out on Wednesday in Venezuela after the highest court in the country froze the bank accounts and restricted the travel of self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó. 

Making a surprise appearance in front of a cheering crowd at the capital’s Central University of Venezuela, Guaidó called for a peaceful demonstration by leaving their homes and offices for two hours, and that he wasn’t losing any sleep over his travel ban according to the Associated Press

President Trump and Guaidó spoke over the phone on Wednesday, with Guaidó thanking Trump for committing the US to freedom and prosperity in Venezuela and the region, according to AP, citing the White House. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump and Guaidó committed to maintaining “regular communication to support Venezuela’s path back to stability, and to rebuild the bilateral relationship” between Venezuela and the US. 

Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is “willing to negotiate with opposition in Venezuela following U.S. sanctions and the cutting off of oil revenues,” adding that Guaidó “is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court.” Trump warned Americans not to travel to the South American country until further notice. 

Maduro made the offer earlier Wednesday during an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, saying he is willing to sit down at the negotiating table “for the good of Venezuela.” But he said there will not be a new presidential election until 2025, rejecting a demand by Guaido, president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. –VOA

Guaidó declared himself interim president last week after the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared Maduro’s presidency illegitimate, after most opposition candidates were prevented from running or boycotting the May 2018 presidential election. 

On Tuesday US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned the Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, that there would be “serious consequences” if Guaidó is harmed. 

Bolton also advised the international business community to be careful not to “deal in” Venezuelan oil or other commodities which are “being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Maduro mafia,” and that the United States stands “ready to continue to take action.”