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Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has warned against a possible “bloodbath” in Venezuela following the call for two protests by self-acclaimed president, Juan Guaido, in an effort to instigate the military to turn against President Nicolas Maduro.

Pope Francis

The Pope issued the warning on Monday after his return from Panama, adding that he was afraid the escalating political crisis between current President Nicolás Maduro and Guaido would climax in “a bloodbath.”

The cleric had hitherto called both parties to find a “just and peaceful solution.” But his advice had met with deaf ears as the 35 year old opposition leader, Guaido has annou­nced strike actions for Wednesday and Saturday as seen in a video posted on Twit­ter.

According to the video, the Wednesday strike is a two hour action “to demand that the armed forces side with the people”, while Saturday demonstration is a “big national and international rally to back the support of the Eu­­ropean Union and the ultimatum” from Britain, Fra­nce, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Netherlands, stating that they would recognize the head of the opposition-controlled National As­­­­sembly as acting president except Maduro calls for elections by Feb 3.

Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Gaido

Maduro, who was present at a military exercise in Carabobo on Sunday, called for “union, discipline and cohesion” in order to defeat what he termed, an “attempted coup d’etat”.

The 56 year old Venezuela president told CNN Turk that he had not changed his stand, adding that, “No one can give us an ultimatum.”

Meanwhile, Russia, China and Turkey have so far pledge support to President Maduro.

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Venezuelan Observatory on Social Con­flict accounts that 29 persons have been killed and more than 350 arrested in clashes with security forces last week.

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