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Venezuela Targets Opposition Leader With Travel Ban, Bank-Account Freeze

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Juan Guaido (left) and Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ordered a travel ban on the opposition leader Juan Guaido and frozen his bank accounts.

Guaido is banned from leaving the country until a preliminary investigation is complete after he "caused harm to peace in the republic," court head Maikel Moreno said on January 29.

The 35-year-old opposition leader, who declared himself interim president last week, has been backed by the United States and other nations. Other countries, including Russia, support President Nicolas Maduro.

In an interview with Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti, Maduro reiterated that he was ready for talks with the opposition "for the sake of peace and its future," with the participation of international mediators.

Maduro ruled out an early presidential election, saying the next one was not due until 2025, but said he would support snap parliamentary polls.

He also thanked his Russian counterpart, saying that Vladimir Putin “is giving us support on all levels," according to Russia's state-run Sputnik information agency.

Washington has imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, a critical source of revenue for the economically crippled country.

Russia sharply criticized the move, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accusing Washington of "publicly setting a course for illegal regime change."

White House national security adviser John Bolton on January 29 warned of "serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido."

With reporting by AP, Reuters, the BBC, and AFP
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