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Venezuelan Military Stands by Maduro

2019-1-24

The United States steps up its support for Venezuela’s opposition leader, but the country’s military promises its loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked members of the Organization of American States Thursday to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido. He said the U.S. is ready to ship more than $20 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela. The country is facing severe economic problems.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton added the U.S. wants to be sure that Venezuelan oil revenue goes to Guaido and not to President Maduro.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez holds a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela January 24, 2019.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez holds a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela January 24, 2019.

American support for Guaido came shortly after the opposition leader declared himself interim president Wednesday. The leader of Venezuela's National Assembly declared himself president just two weeks after Maduro began his second six-year term. Many Venezuelans believed the election should not be recognized because Maduro banned his opponents from running against him.

The chief of Venezuela’s military, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, repeated his support for President Maduro in a televised statement Thursday. He said the armed forces will never accept a leader forced on their country. “It’s not a war between Venezuelans that will solve our problems,” he said. “It’s dialogue.”

The situation in Venezuela has the world’s major powers quickly picking sides. The U.S., Canada, some Latin American and European countries supported Guaido’s claim that the constitution makes him interim president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has offered his support to Venezuelan President Maduro. In a statement, the president’s office said Putin called Maduro “to express support to the legitimate government of Venezuela.”

And China’s foreign ministry called on the United States to stay out of the crisis.

Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have also said they continue to support Maduro’s government.

I'm Susan Shand

Susan Shand adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting from the Associated Press and Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

revenue – n. money that is made by or paid to a business or an organization

interim - adj. used or accepted for a limited time: not permanent

dialogue - n. a discussion or series of discussions that two groups or countries have in order to end a disagreement

legitimate – adj. real, accepted, or official