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The Latest: Venezuela lawmaker encourages support of Guaido

By The News · 01 of February 2019 16:16:21
Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela, takes part in a walk out against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Venezuelans are exiting their homes and workplaces in a walkout organized by the opposition to demand that Maduro leave power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos), No available, Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela, takes part in a walk out against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Venezuelans are exiting their homes and workplaces in a walkout organized by the opposition to demand that Maduro leave power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

Noon

A prominent Venezuelan lawmaker says that a group of European Union and Latin American countries aiming to solve the political crisis in Venezuela should support the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro without negotiations.

Francisco Sucre heads the international committee of the opposition-led National Assembly in Venezuela. He says that the “international contact group” announced on Thursday by the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, “should help to cease the usurpation of power by Maduro and establish a transitional government until new elections.”

“There is no possible discussion here, Maduro has to leave,” Sucre told The Associated Press on Friday in Madrid, where he is wrapping up a three-day European tour to enlist support for opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The lawmaker says he welcomes the EU’s involvement “because we are going to need its cooperation during the initial stages of the recovery of our country.”

The European Parliament has called on the EU’s member states to recognize Guaido as the interim president. The socialist government of Spain, which has strong historical, cultural and economic ties to Venezuela, has said it will do so on Monday if Maduro doesn’t call a general election before Sunday.

Sucre says European support for Guaido will influence others.

He said: “Power is evaporating from Maduro’s hands with the passing of the hours.”

“We have been contacted by diplomatic workers across Europe who are ready to take a step forward, but they are waiting for the right moment.”

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11:35 a.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido says he’s respectfully declining offers from the presidents of Mexico and Uruguay to negotiate with President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido on Friday made public a letter that he’s sending to both leaders. He urged them to be on the right side of history, saying that remaining neutral in the political struggle aligns them with Maduro.

Guaido declared last week that he’s interim president of Venezuela and vowed to topple Maduro’s administration. He’s backed by the United States and roughly two dozen nations.

He says his priority is to hold democratic elections.

The United States also rejects offers from Mexico, Uruguay and the Vatican to mediate a dialogue.