By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - Venezuela's opposition leader announced a mass street rally set for Tuesday to move forward the “next stage” of their US-backed attempt to gain power in the oil-rich country.
"We call on all of Venezuela to mobilize. Together, with the citizen power and the work of the National Assembly, we will advance to a next stage in our struggle. Everyone to Caracas!
#GreatStreetSession” Juan Guaido said Wednesday on Twitter.
The announcement of the mass street action came amid reports that the U.S. redirected some $41.9 million in funds -- previously diverted for humanitarian aid for Guatemala and Honduras to slow down the migration flow -- to Guaido and his team, according to an internal memo circulated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) dated July 11.
Hampered by opposition from the Venezuelan army and popular challenges to his legitimacy, Guaido's delegation agreed to take part in Oslo and Barbados initiatives for negotiation talks with the government.
While Oslo talks in May bore no fruit, both sides are yet to make a clear statement about the content of the recent Barbados talks or any possible agreements.
While Guaido maintains his harsh rhetoric against the government despite the ongoing "peace negotiations", President Nicolas Maduro and his delegation evaluates the dialogue process as "successful".
- Mercosur calls for fresh elections in Venezuela
After a recent free trade deal between the EU and South American trade bloc Mercosur, both EU and Mercosur made a fresh call to Venezuela to hold elections. Addressing the migratory, humanitarian and political crisis, the Mercosur group of South American economies called Venezuela to hold free, fair and transparent presidential elections "in the shortest time possible", following Tuesday's EU Council statement.
The countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Colombia, expressed their concerns about the crisis in Venezuela, saying international community should continue "promoting the full restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela" in a final statement of the LIV Presidential Summit in Argentina on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the EU Council reaffirmed that crisis in Venezuela requires an "urgent" political solution, which can only be achieved through "a peaceful, democratic and Venezuelan-owned" process leading to "free and fair presidential elections".
Political unrest has been ongoing in Venezuela between President Maduro and opposition leader Guaido since Jan. 10.
Guaido in January proclaimed himself the rightful president of Venezuela, dismissing Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, a move recognized by more than 50 states, including the U.S.
But Venezuelan state institutions as well as the military have been putting their weight behind Maduro.
Turkey has also supported Maduro as the country’s legitimate ruler in the face of foreign-backed coup attempts.