Opposition leader Juan Guaido asks people to hit streets with pamphlets calling on military to defect even as troops march against "American imperialism" in capital Caracas.
Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president, on Monday called for new street demonstrations across the country as army marched in capital Caracas to show support for President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido said opposition sympathisers should take to the streets of the crisis-hit OPEC nation on Wednesday to pass out copies of a pamphlet proposing amnesty that would give some legal protection to members of the military in hopes they will turn against Maduro.
"We must remain united as active agents of change in every corner of the country," Guaido tweeted on Monday. "We're doing well, very well, Venezuela!"
Also on Monday, Venezuela's defence ministry shared a video on its Twitter account showing troops marching in Caracas against what Maduro says is a US-backed political coup.
"Today, on January 28, the men and women of our valiant Armed Forces demonstrated that their morale was high in the face of continued attacks by American imperialism. Our duty is to protect Venezuela," a statement from the ministry said.
World divided over Venezuela leadership
Countries around the world have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader, and the United States vowed to starve Maduro's administration of oil revenue after he was sworn in January 10 for a second term.
Maduro says the United States is promoting a coup against him and promised to stay in office, backed by Russia and China, which have bankrolled his government and fought off efforts to have his government disavowed by the United Nations.
Maduro also has the support of Cuba, Bolivia and Turkey and, most importantly, the country's strong military.
On Sunday, Israel and Australia joined countries backing the 35-year-old Guaido, and US President Donald Trump said his government had accepted Venezuelan opposition figure Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as a diplomatic representative to the United States.
Guaido took advantage of a major street demonstration on January 23 to swear himself in as the country's rightful leader, accusing Maduro of usurping power following a disputed 2018 re-election that countries around the world described as a fraud.
Guaido is asking for help in getting control of the Venezuelan government's offshore assets.
In recent days, he urged British Prime Minister Theresa May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to block Maduro's government from collecting more than $1 billion in gold held by the Bank of England.
Venezuela's once-buoyant socialist economic system has imploded since the collapse of world oil prices in 2014, pushing inflation to almost 2 million percent and driving millions of Venezuelans to neighbouring countries.
Maduro says his government is the victim of an "economic war" led by his political adversaries with the help of Washington, which has levied several rounds of sanctions against the country since 2017.
Canada to host regional leaders
Meanwhile, Canada will host an "urgent meeting" of the Lima Group on the Venezuela crisis on February 4 in Ottawa, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Monday.
The bloc of 14 nations – Latin American powers and Canada – will "discuss the steps we can take to support (opposition leader) Juan Guaido and the people of Venezuela," she said.