Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro ordered to halt talks with representatives of opposition leader Juan Guaido, blaming the latest sanctions by the US President Donald Trump.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro takes part in the ceremony to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Boyaca Battle at the National Pantheon in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2019.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro takes part in the ceremony to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Boyaca Battle at the National Pantheon in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2019. (Reuters)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday blamed US sanctions as he ordered his government's representatives not to travel to Barbados for scheduled talks with the political opposition.

Maduro "has decided to not send the Venezuelan delegation" for talks Thursday and Friday with representatives of opposition leader Juan Guaido "due to the grave and brutal aggression" being "continuously... carried out by the Trump administration against Venezuela," a government statement said.

US President Donald Trump has ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the Uni ted States and barred transactions with its authorities.

Venezuelans march in support of Maduro

Thousands of people marched through the capital Caracas on Wednesday to show their support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. 

Dressed in red and carrying the tricolor Venezuelan flag, the protesters gathered at a stage in the center of the capital to listen to some of the government's top officials.

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro take part in a demonstration to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Boyaca Battle at the National Pantheon in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2019.
Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro take part in a demonstration to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Boyaca Battle at the National Pantheon in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2019. (Reuters)

The demonstration followed 48 hours during which Washington threatened to "use every appropriate tool" to oust Maduro, ordered a freeze on Venezuelan government assets in the US and barred transactions with its authorities.

"It's new aggression amongst the madness of genocides that govern the United States," said Diosdado Cabello, the number-two leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

"What they have done is to increase the people's suffering, including the opposition," he said.

The crowd chanted: "Yankee go home," and "Hands off Venezuela."

"We're struggling against this war that's making life impossible," said Elena Flores, a 62-year-old facilitator of government social programs.

Trump "is nervous, he's anxious, he's power-hungry, he wants to get his hands on Venezuela," she added.

Trump's measures were just the latest in a string of sanctions imposed on the Venezuelan government in a bid to force the socialist leader from power in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Speaking at a small meeting in the east of Caracas, Guaido insisted the US sanctions would affect only the top government officials and not the general population.

"They're against the regime, against Maduro, the product of arrogance," he said as he called for the release of opposition legislator Juan Requesens, who was arrested a year ago and accused of being behind an alleged drone attack against Maduro.

The US is one of more than 50 countries to have recognised Guaido's claim to be acting president.

China slams US interference in Venezuela

An order by President  Trump to freeze the Venezuelan government's assets and cut off its funds is an act of "gross interference" and a violation of the norms of international relations, China's foreign ministry said.

China would continue to cooperate with Venezuela, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement issued late on Wednesday, and urged the US to respect international law and stop trying to stir up discord.

She was responding to comments by US national security adviser John Bolton warning China and Russia to end their support for the embattled Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in June Beijing would help restore normality in Venezuela.

Source: AFP