Venezuela crisis: Maduro vows to defeat ‘crazed minority’

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"We can not give in to provocations. there they are with their child's games", Maduro said at an event paying tribute to his predecessor Hugo Chavez, according to broadcaster NTN24 and other media.

Maduro, who won 2018 Venezuelan presidential election and was inaugurated for a second term on Jan 10, then sealed off the country's border on Feb 23 to block the U.S. aid shipment.

More than 3.4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014.

Although upon his arrival in Venezuela on Monday, Guaido urged his allies to once again take to the streets on Tuesday, no rallies are seen at traditional gathering points of the opposition - Avenida Las Mercedes and Altamira neighborhood in the Chacao municipality of Caracas.

"Today more than ever, we are victorious against the conspiracy, against blackmail, while a insane minority continues with their hatred", he said in his first public comments since Guaido's return. After his return to Venezuela, Guaido called a new round of anti-government protests for Saturday.

"We are stronger than ever", Guaido told crowds of supporters after touching down at Caracas airport. The country is also suffering chronic shortages of basic items including food and medicine.

The Maduro government's decision not to move against Guaido upon his return to Venezuela on Monday reflects the intense pressure Maduro faces and, possibly, a calculation that restraint is the best tactic for now.

"In every democratic transition in Latin America there are negotiations, but I just would say it is extremely hard to see how he could play a positive role in a democratic election, " Abrams said.

Abrams also said that imposing USA secondary sanctions against non-U.S. citizens or entities tied to the Maduro government was "clearly a possibility", although he said a decision had not been made on taking such a step.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector and announced asset freezes and travel bans targeting top government officials.

While worldwide pressure on the president has steadily increased - more than 50 countries, including the USA and most Latin American nations, have recognised Mr Guaido as interim leader - Maduro has dismissed all calls for him to step down.

Guaido, recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, said the strikes would be staggered and aim to paralyze the public sector. He did not say when the strikes would be held.

Guaido left Venezuela and went on a tour of regional allies after the United States aid shipment failed to cross Venezuelan key borders, defying orders banning him from leaving. There was no investment and tens of thousands of employees had abandoned their positions in recent years, they said.

Guaido then visited Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay to discuss with leaders his plan for a transition government ahead of holding a free and fair election.

But Maduro's Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, told Russian state media that Guaido is 'trying to seize power upon the 'direct order of Washington. Maduro retains control of state institutions and the loyalty of senior figures in the armed forces.