21:58 GMT20 February 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government is going to intensify its efforts to topple twice democratically-elected Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro and replace him with former National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Carrie Filipetti said on Friday.

    "There needs to be more pressure brought to bear against the Maduro regime", Filipetti told reporters in a conference call.

    In the past week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in person with Guaido for the first time during his visit to Colombia, Filipetti noted.

    She also said the Trump administration was engaging the Spanish government as to why none of its officials met Guaido on his visit to Madrid, throwing doubt on orchestrated European Union support for him.

    "It is very surprising this is coming from the Spanish government ...This would undermine the EU initiative... This is not a very welcome development ...We are engaged with the Spanish government and we are trying to get some answers", Filipetti said.

    Venezuela was seeking to expand its gold mining activities to substitute for the revenue it had lost from US sanctions on its oil exports, Filipetti added.

    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the country’s ‘interim president in January 2019, receiving the immediate recognition by the US and its Latin American and European allies. President Nicolas Maduro has blamed Guaido for attempting to pull off a foreign-backed coup and accused the US and its allies of seeking to get their hands on Venezuela’s substantial oil and mineral resources. US policy against Caracas has included a series of tough sanctions and the freeze and transfer of Venezuelan government assets to the self-proclaimed Guaido administration.

    Tags:
    Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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