Venezuela's Supreme Court barred opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country Tuesday, a move certain to heighten tensions as the man challenging President Nicolas Maduro's claim to the presidency presses forward with establishing a transitional government and the US warns of "serious consequences" if he is harmed. The government-stacked high court announced the order just hours after chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced that he was opening a criminal investigation into Guaido's anti-government activities and requested that restrictions be placed on his movements abroad, the AP reports. The court also approved Saab's request that all of Guaido's financial assets be frozen.
Guaido is calling for nationwide walkouts Wednesday afternoon and another round of mass protests Saturday. Maduro, who previously rejected calls for negotiations, said in an interview Wednesday with Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency that he was open to talks with the opposition. Maduro said the talks could be held with the mediation of other countries and mentioned Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, the Vatican, and Russia. Maduro also accused President Trump of ordering a hit on him from Colombia. He said he was aware of Trump's "orders" for the Colombian government and the local mafia to kill him. (John Bolton's notepad suggested the US is planning a military move.)