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Venezuela crisis: Guaido seeks United States military cooperation

12 May 2019

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido says he's instructed his political envoy in Washington to immediately open relations with the US military.

The 64-year-old's auto was surrounded outside his Democratic Action Party's headquarters before it was towed, with him still in it, to the notorious Helicoide prison inside Sebin headquarters.

Party head Carlos Prosperi says security forces towed the vehicle away with the lawmaker still inside.

The country's top court this week accused 10 legislators in the opposition-run legislature of treason for participating in a failed April uprising against Maduro's government, and security forces on Wednesday arrested the second-highest ranking legislator, Edgar Zambrano, who has been transferred to a jail at the Fuerte Tiuna military base in Caracas, according to a statement by the court in charge of Zambrano's trial.

Mr Zambrano's detention marked the first arrest of a politician opposing Mr Maduro since Mr Guaido tried to spark a military uprising on April 30 to bring down the socialist Government. "He (Blanco) is there as a guest, we can confirm that", the official said.

Guaido is leading a campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro and is recognized by countries including Canada as Venezuela's interim president.

Venezuela was plunged into turmoil in January when Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Nicolas Maduro's authority.

The 35-year-old called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.

The opposition says Maduro has stacked the court with his own supporters, while the USA government this week threatened to sanction all its members. If he is not immediately freed, there will be consequences, ' the embassy said on Twitter.

"We will continue to use the full weight of the USA government to hold accountable those who subvert democracy and the Venezuelan constitutional order, and threaten the safety of the duly-elected National Assembly of Venezuela", a senior White House official said on Thursday, on condition of anonymity.

Figuera and 55 other officers have been expelled from the Venezuelan armed forces.

However, the border with Colombia and links with other parts of the former Dutch Antilles will remain shut, Vice President Tareck El Aissami said.

In February, Guaido defied a Supreme Court travel ban to orchestrate aid deliveries from the Colombian side of the border. He has gained the backing of the United States and more than 50 nations.

More than 3 million Venezuelans have left their homeland in recent years amid skyrocketing inflation and severe shortages of food and medicine.

Venezuela crisis: Guaido seeks United States military cooperation