Venezuelan wants to meet Trump

Fugitive mayor urges Venezuelans to continue resistance

As U.S. has increased pressure on Venezuela, the Maduro government has taken some tentative steps to open a channel of communication.

Stability across Latin America is in jeopardy from President Donald Trump's "reckless threat" to consider military action against Venezuela, Caracas said on Saturday, after its military vowed to stand up to the USA leader's "craziness".

Venezuela's newly installed constitutional assembly has made a decision to push up gubernatorial elections by two months to October, though many in the opposition see it as a false promise unlikely to ever materialize.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino called the arrests a "major blow to the fascist terrorism put in place by the Venezuelan right-wing in the past few months" of anti-government protests.

Venezuela's military, current and retired members of which control a third of the government, leapt on the threat to say it was the nation's only bulwark against "imperialist aggression".

Colombia, Peru and the Mercosur bloc of nations - three of Venezuela's biggest and perhaps most effective detractors in the region - were just some of those who issued statements denouncing Trump's bellicose rhetoric.

Bolivian president Evo Morales, soon after addressing a massive gathering of his country's armed forces in a national ceremony where he urged them to stand ready to protect regional sovereignty, used Twitter to warn against US aggression in all its forms - be they economic through sanctions, obfuscated by operating through junior partners like Peru or of a direct military character.

The supreme court, which has also shown itself consistently loyal to Maduro, stripped two opposition mayors of the right to public office and ordered them to jail, bringing to 23 the number targeted by legal action.

President Trump, in the midst of a week of high tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program, on Friday introduced the possibility of another military confrontation - with Venezuela - surprising most observers.

Calling Trump the "boss of the empire", Arreaza said Trump's latest comments fit a pattern of aggression against Venezuelan sovereignty and constitute a violation of global law and the United Nations charter.

"We want to express gratitude for all the expressions ofsolidarity and rejection of the use of force from governments around the world, including Latin America", said Arreaza, in a short speech on Saturday. Maduro loyalists, who regularly insult opposition leaders as Washington's lackeys, wasted no time in pouncing.

"You've seen Maduro have some lame attempts to try to do that already", McMaster said in an interview that aired last Saturday on MSNBC. Suspicion and resentment linger in many corners of the region, a reflection of years past when USA troops did in fact invade parts of Latin America to oust leftist leaders or collect unpaid debts.

Venezuela's diplomatic corps will meet Saturday, when the Foreign Ministry will issue a statement in response to Trump, Villegas wrote on Twitter.

Peru expelled Venezuela's ambassador in Lima on Friday, but that did not stop it from criticizing Trump's threat.

National Assembly President Julio Borges, leader of the country's opposition, has sent more than a dozen letters to leading global banks warning them of the risk to their reputations and bottom line if they throw a lifeline to Maduro.

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