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Guaido set to re-enter Venezuela as US and Russia lock horns

media Guaido welcomed as a superstar during his Latin American diplomacy tour (1 March 2019) REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

The US imposed sanctions on Maduro's government, while Russia reiterated support for the embattled leader. Self-proclaimed president Juan Guiado is to re-enter Venezuela Monday after a diplomacy tour.

A day after Russia and China vetoed a US and European resolution at the UN Security Council, Washington said it was targeting six Venezuelan military officers for stopping last weekend's US-led convoy.

The blocked UN resolution was calling for unimpeded aid deliveries, after aid trucks from Colombia and Brazil that tried to get through last weekend were blocked.

“The US has imposed new visa restrictions on individuals responsible for undermining Venezuela’s democracy,” US Special Envoy Elliott Abrams said on Friday. He said that numerous Maduro officials and their families would not be welcome in the US.

"Venezuela is between democracy and dictatorship." - Guaido

US locks horns with Russia and China

The US and many other countries, including those of the European Union, have recognised opposition politician and National Assembly head Juan Guaido.

But Maduro enjoys strong support from Russia, which is eager to challenge US interventionism, as well as China, which is concerned over the fate of billions of dollars Beijing has lent to Caracas.

Guaido claims that he is backed by Venezuela’s constitution because Maduro’s re-election was fraudulent.

Maduro, however, refuses to step down.

Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, with Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1 March 2019) AFP Photos/Argentinian Presidency/HO

Confrontation feared as Guaido set to re-enter Venezuela

Defying a travel ban by Maduro, Guaido went first to Colombia to try to bring in the aid and to meet with visiting US Vice President Mike Pence.

The 35-year-old political newcomer continued on to Brazil, where he met the new right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, and on Friday traveled to Paraguay and Argentina.

Guaido has said he will return home "at the latest on Monday" despite threats to arrest him.

After meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Guaido said: "The only step backwards in this process we have begun in Venezuela will be when many Venezuelans are able to return home."

Abrams said the United States was "very concerned" about Guaido's ability to return home safely and warned of a "very large reaction" if he is arrested.

President Donald Trump has not ruled out military intervention in Venezuela, although even close US allies have said they would not support the use of force.

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