Russians stopped Maduro from fleeing Venezuela, US claims

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Nicolas Maduro was ready to flee the country against the background of strong anti-government protests, but he remained under pressure from Moscow.

“His plane was at the airport, as I understand it, he was ready to fly this morning, but the Russians made it clear that he should stay,” said Pompeo in an interview with CNN on April 30.

Also, according to Pompeo, the three Maduro associates first agreed with the arguments of the opposition about the need for the president to leave, but then went back on their words.

US national security adviser John Bolton claims that one of these officials, Defense Secretary Vladimir Padrino, had been negotiating with the opposition for three months. However, a few days ago Padrino appeared on television with a statement of support for Maduro.

Bolton also called the chief judge of the Supreme Court and the head of the presidential guard — they all allegedly agreed to the “peaceful transfer of power from Maduro’s gang” to Juan Guaidó.

“Everyone agreed that Maduro should leave,” Bolton said.

On April 30, Juan Guaidó published a video recorded at the country’s air force base. On the record, he stated that the military “made the right decision”, went over to his side and are ready to fight the Maduro government. He announced the beginning of the “last stage” of the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro. In response, Maduro, in a televised address, promised to strangle the attempted coup d’état, despite the fact that the opposition was supported by the United States.

Venezuela is experiencing a protracted economic crisis resulting from the policies of Nicolas Maduro. There is hyperinflation, people lack food and medicine, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have left the country. At the end of 2018, a presidential election was held in Venezuela, where Maduro won again. However, the opposition and most of the countries of Latin America did not recognize Maduro’s victory, since they did not consider the elections free and fair.

On January 23, Venezuela’s parliament speaker Juan Guaidó announced the removal of Nicolas Maduro from the presidency. He was recognized as the interim head of Venezuela by the United States, almost all the states of South America and many European countries.

belsat.eu, BBC.com

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