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Venezuela’s self-proclaimed ‘president’ refuses to rule out US military intervention

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido has refused to rule out the possibility of a US military intervention in the country as part of efforts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

In an exclusive interview with AFP on Friday, the self-proclaimed US-backed ‘interim’ president said he would not ruled out the possibility of authorizing a US military intervention to help force Maduro from power and alleviate a humanitarian crisis, claiming that he sought to establish a “transitional government” and hold “free elections” in the country.

The head of Venezuela’s National Assembly said he would do “everything that is necessary… to save human lives,” and described the US intervention as “a very controversial subject.”

The 35-year-old opposition figure called on the Venezuelan army to allow the humanitarian aid, which is currently in a warehouse at the Colombian border, to enter into the country.

Maduro had earlier in the day denounced the aid as a show “fabricated by Washington” to justify intervention and vowed to block the cargos.

“The package is very nice on the outside: humanitarian aid. But on the inside it brings the poison of humiliation,” Maduro said. “It tries to cover up what is the biggest crime committed, the crime of stealing resources through the blockade and the sanctions of the United States government on Venezuela.”

The Venezuelan president also vowed to “defeat the US coup attempt,” saying Venezuelans are united in the face of American attempts to undermine the country’s sovereignty.

In the interview, Guaido called on his supporters to stay in the streets and protest until the “usurper” Maduro allows the convoy with US-sent aid to cross into Venezuela.

The opposition leader also rejected the Venezuelan government’s offer for talks and said he was not willing to “participate in fake dialogues.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said a day earlier that Caracas was ready to sit at the negotiating table with the opposition “within the next 15 day,” and resolve the political crisis in the South American country.

Meanwhile, a senior White House official revealed on Friday that the US was holding direct communications with Venezuela’s military personnel, urging them to abandon President Maduro.