VENEZUELA’S Supreme Tribunal of Justice barred self-declared president Juan Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts on Tuesday, as leader Nicolas Maduro seeks to neutralise the American-backed opposition chief.
The 35-year-old head of the National Assembly legislature “is prohibited from leaving the country until the end of the (preliminary) investigation” for having “caused harm to peace in the republic,” high court president Maikel Moreno said.
The court is stacked with Maduro loyalists.
The move came after the State Department revealed that Guaido — the self-proclaimed interim president — has been handed control of Venezuela’s US bank accounts.
Maduro softens stance
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he is willing to negotiate with the opposition and hold early congressional elections, in a concession as opponents plan another big demonstration.
“I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the opposition so that we could talk for the good of Venezuela,” Maduro told Russia’s RIA Novosti in an interview in Caracas, the agency reported Wednesday.
Venezuelans fear shortages
Meanwhile, the US sanctions aimed at pressuring Nicolas Ma- duro to capitulate in his power struggle with self-proclaimed acting-president Juan Guaido have Venezuelans fearing they may be left facing severe fuel shortages.
As well as a shortage of basic necessities, Venezuela has suffered failing public services, with 90 per cent of its public transport system paralyzed due to high cost of spare parts. Last week, the economically devastated Venezuela plunged into uncertainty when a US-backed opposition leader proclaimed himself acting president. Here’s what to know Hyperinflation, shortages of food and failing public services have spread misery in oil-rich Venezuela
Despite these, Nicolas Maduro won a second term last year in elections that the opposition has dismissed as rigged. On January 23, the country’s US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the acting president, escalating a crisis EARLY ELECTIONS MILITARY COUP
The socialist leader has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military
WHAT PEOPLE WANT
Foreign military intervention Intervention by Venezuelan military The US and its allies back Guaido, while Russia and China insists that Maduro is the only legitimate head of state SANCTIONS Fresh elections Negotiations
The US imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company