Venezuelan opposition leader seeks 'direct communications' with U.S

A soldier stands on an avenue leading to La Carlota air base in Caracas Venezuela Tuesday

Party head Carlos Prosperi says security forces towed the auto away with the lawmaker still inside.

The opposition said Mr Maduro had stacked the court with his own supporters.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido addressed several hundred people who had gathered in the capital in support of his bid to oust the socialist president, urging them to press forward with their campaign.

The opposition does not recognize the assembly's decisions.

The Supreme Court had earlier accused the politicians of conspiracy, rebellion and treason.

The opposition says Maduro has stacked the court with his own supporters, while the USA government this week threatened to sanction all its members.

The State Department called the arrest of the vice president "illegal and inexcusable" and demanded his immediate release. "Zambrano's arrest may be a test to gauge the response of the worldwide community before it moves against Guaido". "What happens next in Venezuela is highly uncertain", said Moises Rendon of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

An attempted uprising last week led by Guaido, recognized by the United States and other Western countries as the rightful head of state, failed to dislodge Maduro, as have a series of US sanctions against his government.

Maduro and his allies in Russian and China decried the events as an attempted coup.

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In a statement read by TSJ President Maikel Moreno, the judicial body said that Pence "in a disrespectful and interfering manner seeks to subject the highest Venezuelan judicial authorities to threats that violate the principles of independence".

This week, the Sebin secret police jailed the National Assembly's Vice President Edgar Zambrano, 10 lawmakers were stripped of their immunity from prosecution, and others have taken refuge in embassies or have gone into hiding.

It was not yet clear if Mr Zambrano was already at the Helicoide.

Guaido and Maduro have been battling each other for months, ever since the 35-year-old lawmaker declared himself acting president, against a backdrop of the country's spiraling economic crisis, which has led to basic food and medicine shortages.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said that "all options are on the table" to end the country's yearslong political crisis.

"One of the principal conspirators of the coup has just been arrested", Diosdado Cabello, head of the Constituent Assembly, said in comments broadcast on state television.

Trump's dissatisfaction lies with National Security Advisor John Bolton, who the president has said wants to get the U.S.

Meanwhile, the United States has placed sanctions on two shipping companies for transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

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