- Venezuela to get more arms, support from Russia
- Report says Maduro ready for early parliamentary polls, talks
- LatAm countries, Canada oppose armed intervention
Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolas Maduro accused US President Donald Trump of ordering his assassination while his main global backer Russia called yesterday for mediation in a standoff deepening geopolitical splits.
The fight to control Venezuela, which has the world's largest oil reserves, has intensified with new US sanctions and legal moves that may bring the arrest of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido.
In an interview with Moscow's RIA news agency, Maduro, 56, facing the biggest challenge to his rule since replacing Hugo Chavez six years ago, said Trump had ordered neighboring Colombia to murder him.
"Donald Trump has without doubt given an order to kill me and has told the government of Colombia and the Colombian mafia to kill me," Maduro said, reprising a constant accusation of his and Chavez's over the years.
Meanwhile, Venezuela's Supreme Court has imposed a travel ban on Guaido and frozen his bank accounts in apparent retaliation for oil sanctions imposed by the United States that are expected to severely hit an already collapsing economy.
Guaido is recognized as president by the United States and most Western Hemisphere nations. The 35-year-old opposition lawmaker, who is president of the National Assembly, says Maduro fraudulently won a second term last year and is offering an amnesty to military officials.
Maduro, who accuses Guaido of staging a US-directed coup against him, still has the support of the top military brass, and is unlikely to back down unless that changes.
In the RIA interview, Maduro reiterated he was ready for talks with the opposition, but rejected calls for a snap election as blackmail.
Maduro also said Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised him more economic and military support during phone talks last week.
Meanwhile, a group of Latin American countries and Canada opposes armed intervention in Venezuela, Peru's foreign minister said Tuesday.