Eight days of turmoil in Venezuela
Venezuela's National Assembly head Juan Guaido (L) is locked in a power struggle with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R)

Eight days of turmoil in Venezuela

(Agence France-Presse) - January 30, 2019 - 1:14am

Caracas - Crisis-hit Venezuela has been plunged into new turmoil since January 21, with the US and other countries backing an opposition leader's claim to have replaced President Nicolas Maduro.

Here is a recap of developments.

- Call to revolt -

On January 21 a small group of soldiers takes control of a command post north of Caracas, releasing a video rejecting Maduro's regime and calling on people to take to the streets.

The rebellion is over quickly and 27 soldiers are arrested, but there are demonstrations of support in Caracas.

Hours later the Supreme Court declares the leadership of the opposition-controlled National Assembly illegitimate and its decisions invalid.

Days earlier the National Assembly had promised an amnesty to members of the military who abandon Maduro.

- US backs opposition -

On January 22 US Vice President Mike Pence brands Maduro "a dictator with no legitimate claim to power" and tells the opposition, "We are with you."

Washington and other countries have already dismissed as fraudulent the May 2018 election that gave Maduro a second term.

Maduro accuses Washington of ordering "a coup from the fascist state."

- Self-proclaimed 'acting president' -

On January 23 tens of thousands of people protest in Caracas and other cities in rival demonstrations for and against Maduro. Clashes erupt.

In front of cheering supporters in the capital, National Assembly head Juan Guaido proclaims himself "acting president."

He pledges to install a transitional government and hold free elections.

US President Donald Trump immediately recognizes Guaido, followed by Brazil, Canada and Colombia, among others.

However China, Cuba, Mexico, Russia and Turkey voice support for Maduro.

- Army loyal to Maduro -

On January 24 Venezuela's powerful military high command throws its weight behind Maduro.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino accuses Guaido of attempting a "coup d'etat."

- Guaido persists -

On January 25 Guaido calls on Venezuelans to continue their demonstrations against Maduro.

He says he does not rule out including Maduro in an amnesty.

Maduro says he is ready to meet Guaido, who rejects the offer of talks.

- European ultimatum -

On January 26 several European powers say they will recognize Guaido as president unless Maduro calls elections within eight days.

The 28-member EU says it will take "further actions" if elections are not called, including on "recognition of the country's leadership."

Caracas rejects the ultimatum.

At the UN Security Council, Russia and China block a draft US resolution supporting the National Assembly led by Guaido.

Venezuela's military attache to Washington, Army Colonel Jose Luis Silva, breaks ranks with Maduro, becoming the first major military officer to publicly switch support.

- Demos called -

On January 27 Guaido calls for new national and international protests on Wednesday and Saturday.

Copies of parliament's amnesty measures are circulated to members of the military, some of whom publicly burn the document.

Maduro, appearing at a military exercise, calls on soldiers to show "union, discipline and cohesion" to defeat an "attempted coup d'etat."

Israel and Australia recognize Guaido as interim president.

- US oil sanctions -

On January 28 the United States imposes sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA.

They would prevent Maduro from diverting resources until control could be transferred to an interim government, officials say.

The White House urges Venezuela's military to accept a "peaceful" transfer of power to Guaido.

Guaido says he is "beginning to take progressive and orderly control of our republic's assets abroad" to prevent Maduro from eventually trying to "empty the coffers."

Moscow slams the PDVSA sanctions as "illegal."

The UN says protests in the week after the soldiers' brief uprising had left more than 40 people dead and record numbers arrested.

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