Venezuelans rally in Barcelona to support Guaido

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido waves to his supporters next to his wife Fabiana Rosales outside their house in Caracas

In a YouTube video, Yanez described Maduro as a dictator and referred to Guaido as his president.

Earlier, European lawmakers recognized Guaido as the acting head of state - another step forward in his bid to force out the socialist leader who has presided over the oil-rich country's economic collapse.

Maduro won a second term in last May's presidential election by a wide margin, but much of the opposition boycotted the process and rejected the result as illegitimate, a stance shared by the USA and numerous nations in Latin America and Europe, reports Efe news.

The political fight between Maduro and Guaido has drawn in foreign powers.

Guaido supporters have vowed to ratchet up the pressure on Maduro as he faces a deadline to announce the new vote.

In a country where the socialist leader's foes often end up behind bars, Guaido has thus far managed to avoid arrest, but in recent days authorities have let it be known that even as his powerful global support grows Guaido isn't untouchable.

With 20 tons of gold stacked up for loading and shipping out of Venezuelan vaults, the mystery surrounding them - and the saber-rattling they're sparking - is intensifying.

"That surprised a lot of political figures (but) I don't say that as a criticism", Capriles said.

China's cooperation with Venezuela was based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and joint development, he told reporters in Beijing.

This month's protests have received overwhelming support from overseas, with the U.S., Canada and many others already recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

In a possible sign of Maduro's weakening support, riot police who had planned on blocking demonstrators from reaching the rallies made a decision to let them pass in at least three cities, according to Guaido and Reuters witnesses.

"It was a very traumatic crossing because of lack of transportation, lack of gas, lack of cash - innumerable technical difficulties to get out of the country", Arellano said through a translator. Yankee, hands off our oil industry! As Rubio notes, Guaido's 20-month-old daughter and grandmother were there when the troops arrived. "Wives are sacred. So don't cross that red line".

But the National Police tweeted it is "totally false" that there had been any search of Guaido's family.

"Together with other responsible members of the world community, we will do everything to support the legal government of President Maduro in standing up for the Venezuelan Constitution", Lavrov said, also accusing the U.S.

On Tuesday, the government-stacked Supreme Court barred Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts while chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab, a Maduro ally, conducts an investigation into his anti-government activities.

The two sides have held competing rallies in the streets.

At Maduro's rally, supporters blamed the opposition for undermining the Bolivarian Revolution plans through years of protests and seeking financial sanctions against the Venezuelan government.

"Yankee go home", said one of their signs. Mr Guaido has acknowledged "clandestine meetings" with members of the armed forces and security forces, who he is trying to woo with an amnesty offer.

But Trump has repeatedly floated the possibility of a USA military intervention to push out Maduro, even though foreign policy experts believe such a strike is unlikely.

So far, the military high command has remained loyal to Maduro.

"It's not just the United States doing this", Guaido said.

Venezuela is suffering from hyperinflation, food shortages and a mass migration of citizens to neighbouring Latin American countries - a situation likely to be worsened in the short term by the new sanctions.

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