The US now considers Juan Guaido to be Venezuela's interim leader—and any "violence or intimidation" against him, or against American diplomats, will be met with a "significant response," John Bolton warned Sunday. The national security adviser tweeted that any such actions from Nicolas Maduro's forces would be considered a "grave assault on the rule of law," the BBC reports. Bolton later tweeted that the US urges all nations to "support the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people as they try to free themselves from former president Maduro's illegitimate mafia state." On Saturday, Maduro rejected an ultimatum from European nations including Spain, Germany, the UK, and France, who said they would recognize Guaido as leader if elections were not held within eight days.
Top military officials have pledged their allegiance to Maduro as the crisis escalates, though Guaido supporters have been trying to persuade soldiers to abandon the leader, the AP reports. In an appearance on state TV, Maduro asked soldiers if they were plotting against the country with the "imperialist" US, and they responded "No, my commander-in-chief." Guaido tells the Washington Post that the opposition has been in touch with military leaders who want to get rid of Maduro. "We have been in talks with government officials, civilian, and military men," he says. "This is a very delicate subject involving personal security. We are meeting with them, but discreetly." (Maduro's government changed its mind Saturday on the expulsion of US diplomats.)