VENEZUELA — Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro now says he is willing to negotiate with the opposition after the U.S. and several other nations called his re-election illegitimate.
- Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela
- US says all options on the table to restore democracy
- Get more political coverage
Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president last week and urged citizens to challenge Maduro with walkouts Wednesday.
Guaidó, the opposition leader, wants to put pressure on Maduro with the walkouts just a day after the embattled socialist administration barred Guaidó from leaving the country while he's investigated for anti-government activities.
Maduro told a Russian state-owned news agency that he was willing to enter talks "for the sake of Venezuela's peace and its future."
However, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a harsh critic of Maduro's regime, tweeted that previous negotiations have not led to any changes in Venezuela.
Opposition tried ”negotiations” with Maduro & response was jail,exile & murder.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 30, 2019
Cuba & China aren’t fans of democracy,why would they use influence to push for it?
And @jguaido would be in jail by now if U.S. & intl community hadn’t recognized https://t.co/7DV8YlyXK8
The Trump administration is now backing Guaidó to help restore democracy to Venezuela.
"We're not saying we need only U.S. support, but also from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, all brother countries that are against this dictatorship," said Venezuela army defector Josue Hidalgo Azuaje.
The White House has imposed sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company to put more pressure on Maduro.
President Donald Trump has also warned that all options are on the table, including military force.
However, some are not happy with a military option.
"I oppose military — any form of military intervention in Venezuela," said Sen. Bob Menedez (D-New Jersey). "It would undermine the very effort of the democratic movement in Venezuela."
Maduro has turned to other countries to help during the political unrest in his country.
"We expect the attempts by Cuba, Russia, and to some extent China, to prop up the Maduro regime's securing or financing will lead to additional efforts to exploit the situation in exchange for Venezuelan oil," Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department raised the Venezuela travel advisory to the highest level: Do not travel.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.