Opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó has called for new opposition-led anti-government protests on Wednesday, January 30, and Saturday, February 2, aimed at ousting the government of embattled President Nicolás Maduro and holding free elections. Specifically, Guaidó has called for a two-hour strike and associated demonstrations across the country on Wednesday from 12:00 to 14:00 (local time) in support of amnesty for military members should they rebel against Maduro; Guaidó has also called for national and international rallies on Saturday, February 2, in support of international calls for Maduro to step down.
Additional protests are to be expected in Caracas and elsewhere across Venezuela over the coming days and weeks as the political crisis continues. A heightened security presence is to be expected. Clashes between security forces and protesters are likely.
President Nicolás Maduro has rebuffed calls to hold new elections amid growing international pressure as of January 28, after the governments of Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, issued an ultimatum to hold fresh elections within eight days to determine the country's leadership. The US, meanwhile, has called on more nations to recognize opposition leader and President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president, shortly after Israel announced its support for the opposition. Guaidó also indicated that opposition leadership is in contact with military officials to discuss forcing Maduro out, although he declined to provide additional details.
The current crisis was spurred by Maduro's inauguration to a second term on January 10 following last year's contested presidential election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. Many foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state. On January 26, the Venezuelan government rescinded a previous order expelling US diplomats from the country and the Foreign Ministry stated it would provide the US with a 30-day window to discuss the future of their respective foreign missions.
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political topics in public, and adhere to all instructions issued by their home government and local authorities.
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