China calls for peaceful talks to resolve Venezuela issue

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a gathering in support of his government in Caracas

At the same time the U.S. has announced new sanctions on members of the Nicolas Maduro administration.

In an effort to encourage defections from Venezuela's elected President Nicolas Maduro, the Trump administration is reportedly holding secret talks with members of the Venezuelan military as top US cabinet officials continue to issue aggressive threats and push for regime change.

Venezuela frequently suffers from power cuts, a lack of running water and public transport, while there is also a shortage of doctors and medical supplies in hospitals.

"The package is very nice on the outside: humanitarian aid".

Venezuela owes more than $20 billion.

Trump said last month that "all options are on the table" in dealing with Maduro.

Blaming Maduro for bringing the dire social and economic crisis upon the sanctions-strangled Venezuela, Guaido has been taking advantage of the situation to push for regime change and pleading with his worldwide support base to urgently send humanitarian aid.

According to reports, trucks carrying food and medicine from the United States are now parked near the Tienditas Bridge.

"This is a macabre game: we squeeze them by the neck and make them ask for crumbs".

Venezuela's vice minister of citizen security said the weapons shipment was "destined for criminal groups and terrorist actions in the country, financed by the fascist extreme right and the government of the United States".

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"We're going to open a humanitarian corridor and the doors to freedom", he told journalists.

He claims his legitimacy from the constitution, but Maduro - labeled a dictator by the West and his Latin American neighbors - insists his re-election past year was constitutional.

Members of the South American country's security forces fear they or their families could be targeted by Maduro if they defect, so the U.S. would need to offer them something that could outweigh those concerns, said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas think tank in Washington.

A number of Venezuelan leaders have appealed to the military to allow the relief supplies into the country, but those calls have been rejected by the country's embattled president, who has the support of the army.

Meeting in Uruguay's capital Montevideo on Thursday, the International Contact Group urged "free, transparent and credible presidential elections" in crisis-stricken Venezuela "as soon as possible" to find a peaceful solution to the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido. Venezuela's chief military attache to the USA also said he was defecting late last month.

He did welcome the Contact Group's proposal to send a mission to Venezuela, though.

The contact group seeks a solution to Venezuela's political and economic crisis through dialogue and new presidential elections.

The opposition-controlled legislature has been powerless since 2016 after it was stripped of its powers by the Supreme Court, made up of regime loyalists.

Guaido agrees that no-one will come to Maduro's rescue.

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