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Guaido calls protests in Venezuela amid growing international support

media Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed President of Venezuela, called for protests against Maduro this week REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, says he will not step down despite mounting pressure from the international community for him to cede power to opposition leader, Juan Guaido.

Maduro said that the courts of his country will have the final say on who has power in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Juan Guaido, Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president, called for new protests on Wednesday and Saturday..

In a video posted on Twitter, Guaido said the first of the nationwide strikes, on Wednesday would be one "to demand that the armed forces side with the people."

The second, on Saturday, will be a "big national and international rally to back the support of the European Union and the ultimatum" from Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands that they would recognize Guaido as interim president unless Maduro calls elections by February 3.

International backing for Guaido

Australia and Israel joined the United Sates, Spain, France, Germany, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands in supporting Guaido.

The US National Security adviser, John Bolton, warned of a "significant response" if U.S. diplomatic personnel in Venezuela or Juan Guaido are threatened or intimidated.

t U.S. diplomatic personnel in Venezuela, leader Juan Guaido, or the country’s National Assembly would "represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response,"

Within the country, Guaido enjoys the support of the National Assembly which is controlled by the opposition.

A Venezuelan Supreme Court in exile, with members appointed by the National Assembly, welcomed Guaido's "will" to take over as acting leader pending new elections.

Maduro's support

Nicolas Maduro can count on the support of two of the UN Security Council permanent members and its two largest creditors: China and Russia.

Turkey, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico, Iran and North Korea continue to recognise Maduro.

Maduro can rely on the Venezuelan armed forces which is considered to be the "backbone of the government." However, the military attache of Venezuela in Washington, Colonel Jose Luis Silva, said on Saturday, that he no longer recognizes Maduro as the legitimate president, and urged his "military brothers" to back Guaido.

The Supreme Court of Justice reiterated its support the Maduro regime. Since 2016, it has declared the opposition controlled national assembly in contempt and voided all of its actions.

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