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Monday November 18th, 2019 9:55AM

The Latest: Venezuelan rebel military officer arrested

By The Associated Press
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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

8:15 a.m.

The wife of a rebel military officer who President Nicolas Maduro has accused of plotting his overthrow says he has been arrested after sneaking back into Venezuela amid the country's upheaval.

Sorbay Pailla said she last heard from her husband, retired National Guard Col. Oswaldo Garcia Paloma, on Sunday after he entered the country clandestinely from Colombia. She said contacts within the DGCIM military intelligence unit told her that he was arrested in the western state of Barinas.

The Associated Press was unable to confirm the arrest and the government has yet to comment. But Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, condemned late Tuesday what he called the "kidnapping" of Garcia Paloma.

Garcia Paloma has been an outspoken critic of Maduro who has been open for months about his intent to amass a military force in exile to remove Maduro.

___

7:40 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump is telling Americans to not go to Venezuela, where there's major political turmoil.

Trump tweeted Wednesday there's a "Massive protest expected today." He says, "Americans should not travel to Venezuela until further notice."

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is looking to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro with nationwide walkouts. Guaido declared himself Venezuela's rightful leader a week ago and says the nation "is set on change."

Maduro's embattled socialist administration has barred Guaido from leaving the country while he's investigated for anti-government activities.

The U.S. and many other nations back Guaido. Trump has imposed sanctions that could starve Venezuela of billions of dollars in oil revenue.

Trump tweets: "Maduro willing to negotiate with opposition in Venezuela following U.S. sanctions and the cutting off of oil revenues. Guaido is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court."

___

3 a.m.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he is willing to negotiate with the country's opposition.

Maduro's remarks in an interview with Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday came amid a dire political crisis in Venezuela. Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president last week and has urged citizens to challenge Maduro with walkouts on Wednesday.

Maduro told RIA Novosti that he is "willing to sit down for talks with the opposition for the sake of Venezuela's peace and its future." Maduro said the talks could be held with mediation of other countries.

Russia is one of the staunchest supporters of Maduro and has offered to mediate.

___

2 a.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is looking to ratchet up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro with nationwide walkouts Wednesday, just a day after the embattled socialist administration barred Guaido from leaving the country while he is investigated.

The man challenging Maduro's claim to the presidency is urging Venezuelans to step outside their homes and workplaces for two hours beginning at noon in the first mass mobilization since he declared himself the nation's rightful leader a week ago during another round of big protests.

The surge in political maneuvering has seen two dozen nations, including the United States and several big Latin American countries, backed Guaido, and the Trump administration has imposed sanctions that could starve the already distressed nation of billions in oil revenue.

But Maduro is holding firm.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business
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