Venezuelans Will Fight Any US Invasion — Maduro

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido waves to his supporters next to his wife Fabiana Rosales outside their house in Caracas

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido waves to his supporters next to his wife Fabiana Rosales outside their house in Caracas

"As of yesterday, no presidential election had been called", Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Tokyo.

"I've turned it down because we're very far along in the process", he said in a "Face the Nation" interview.

Spain, Britain, Austria, Sweden and Denmark recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela on Monday while France said he had the right to organise an election given the socialist government's refusal. "Attempts to legitimize usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on the 35-year-old National Assembly leader to hold "free, democratic presidential elections, with guarantees and without exclusions". But he has presided over an economic collapse and exodus of 3 million Venezuelans.

"Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically", French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

Seven EU states had given Maduro a Sunday deadline to call snap presidential elections or see them recognise Guaido as interim president.

"We don't accept ultimatums from anyone", Maduro said in a defiant interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta carried out last week and broadcast on Sunday.

"Venezuela has done all its elections", Maduro said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump said military intervention in Venezuela was "an option" as Western nations boost pressure on socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to step down, while the troubled OPEC nation's ally Russian Federation warned against "destructive meddling".

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However, he supported plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in a "Contact Group" meeting in Montevideo next Thursday.

The Trump administration last week issued crippling sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, a key source of revenue for the country, which is experiencing medicine shortages and malnutrition.

The situation has always been denounced by the opposition and Guaido stunned the world on January 23 when he declared himself acting president at a rally, declaring Maduro's presidency "illegitimate" and founded on flawed elections.

The statement adds that Trudeau "commended Juan Guaido for his courage and leadership in helping to return democracy to Venezuela and offered Canada's continued support".

In the call, Trudeau noted that Canada will host a meeting of the Lima Group regional bloc on Monday to discuss how the worldwide community can further aid the people of Venezuela, including through immediate humanitarian assistance.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting to "discuss fighting human trafficking on the southern border" in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2019.

Air Force General Francisco Yanez disavowed Maduro in a video this weekend, calling on members of the military to defect.

During the protest, Guaido announced the installation of collection centres for medicine and food - items lacking in Venezuela - in neighbouring Colombia and Brazil.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Swedish broadcaster SVT the vote that brought Maduro to power was not a "free and fair election".

The 14-nation Lima Group - made up of Canada and Latin American countries - meets in Ottawa on Monday.

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