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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged his troops Saturday to be "ready" for potential USA military action, as a limited number of opposition supporters marched on military barracks in a bid to win the armed forces' support.

"I told the generals and admirals yesterday: loyalty, I want an active loyalty", Maduro said in a speech to some 5,000 troops that was broadcast nationally on radio and television.

Washington has given full-throated backing to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who tried but ultimately failed to ignite the anti-Maduro military uprising.

Guaido, the National Asembly head, was continuing his efforts to persuade the armed forces to abandon Maduro.

As recently as Friday, US President Donald Trump's security team met at the Pentagon to discuss potential options in dealing with the Venezuelan political crisis, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning Maduro that he "is not someone who can be part of Venezuela's future".

"I trust in the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, in your loyalty, I trust you", said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, heeding Guaido's call to keep the pressure on Maduro.

Opposition supporters react in front of military vehicles during a rally against the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and to commemorate May Day in Caracas Venezuela, May 1, 2019.

Guaido, who is recognized by more than 50 countries including the USA as Venezuela's legitimate interim president, acknowledged that he fell short.

But Maduro has held firm, bolstered by the continued support of the powerful armed forces.

Tensions in Venezuela have soared since Guaido invoked the constitution to declare himself acting president.

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, who retains the support of Russia, Cuba and China, calls Guaido a USA -backed puppet seeking to orchestrate a coup against him.

Pompeo called on Russia, Cuba and Iran to end their support for the Maduro regime.

In response, while talking to Fox News, Pence was unforgiving: "The Congresswoman doesn't know what she's talking about", he said and went on to hold Maduro responsible for the crisis gripping Venezuela.

But neither Pompeo nor President Donald Trump has said under what circumstances the US might send troops to the South American country.

"Oh the Russians - the Russians need to get out, too", Pompeo said.

"And I feel the same way".

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