USA hits Venezuela's state-owned oil company with sanctions

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"In this world, what's respected is the fearless, the courageous, power", Mr Maduro said.

However, Mnuchin said PDVSA's US-based subsidiary Citgo would be able to continue operations, as long as its earnings were deposited into a blocked account in the United States.

"This is the activism that today empowers us in this new phase of defending our homeland".

Maduro has blamed his country's woes on the United States, which he accuses of working with the opposition to topple the government.

The Venezuelan opposition leader proclaimed himself interim president last week and was immediately recognized by the United States and a host of other countries soon after.

The US, along with Britain, Germany, France and Spain, argued that Maduro's re-election last May was invalid because his strongest opponents were barred from running. The US defied him, saying Maduro isn't the legitimate president, and Maduro relented, suspending the deadline for 30 days for the sake of opening a dialogue.

The Venezuelan crisis came up for discussion at the UN Security Council on Saturday, which took no formal action due to divisions among members.

The second, on Saturday, will be a "big national and worldwide rally to back the support of the European Union and the ultimatum" from Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands that they would recognize Guaido as interim president unless Maduro calls elections by February 3. "I can't tell you anything", Peskov noted.

Venezuela's armed forces remain the key to Maduro's hold on power, firing tear gas and bullets on protesters, killing more than two dozen since Wednesday.

He has asked for elections, and has tried to assure troops who split from the Maduro administration that they will be protected - possibly by an amnesty bill created by the National Assembly. That frustration and financial distress provides a flawless opportunity for foreign intelligence officers, who search for "people who aren't being paid, people who aren't being respected by their government", when targeting potential espionage agents, former CIA station chief turned ABC News contributor Darrell M. Blocker says. "No, my commander-in-chief", they shouted in unison.

Some of the soldiers threw away the paper or tore it up. Silva also called on the global community to recognize Guaido, who declared himself the country's interim president on Wednesday, as the "true president of Venezuela". On January 27, he called on servicepeople to support the constitution and to honour those killed and arrested in recent political protests.

On Friday, he held a news conference in a Caracas plaza announced hours in advance on social media, and on Sunday he attended a church service for victims of anti-government unrest.

Bolton also claimed, without citing any evidence, that Cuba has "control" over Venezuela's armed forces.Experts have saidlinks between Cuba and Venezuela, which are allies, are frequently overblown. The move is consistent with the Trump administration's efforts to starve Maduro of oil money, while still blunting the potential impact on US refiners and USA motorists, said Jim Lucier, managing director of Washington, D.C. -based Capital Alpha Partners.

"I don't think any president of any party who is doing his or her job would be doing the job properly if they took anything off the table", Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday."

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