The Latest: US warns against harm to Venezuela's Guaido

Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president of Venezuela, speaks with the media upon his arrival to National Assembly, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Venezuela's chief prosecutor on Tuesday asked the country's top court to ban opposition leader Guaido from leaving the country, launching a criminal probe into his anti-government activities while international pressure builds against President Nicolas Maduro.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is reiterating his warning that there will be "serious consequences" for anyone who attempts to harm Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Latest on the political and economic crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is reiterating his warning that there will be "serious consequences" for anyone who attempts to harm Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido.

In a tweet Tuesday, Bolton denounced what he called "threats" to Guaido made earlier in the day by Venezuela's chief prosecutor.

He added that those who "attempt to subvert democracy" or hurt Guaido will face consequences but did not specify what those may be.

The U.S. and several other countries recognize the National Assembly leader as the interim president of Venezuela, arguing that last year's re-election of President Nicolas Maduro was a sham.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab asked the government-stacked Supreme Court Tuesday to ban Guaido from leaving the country and freeze his bank accounts.

Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela are at an all-time high as the Trump administration moves to consolidate support for Guaido.

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3:15 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will meet Tuesday afternoon with Carlos Vecchio, a new Venezuelan envoy in Washington appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The meeting will take place one day after the Trump administration sanctioned Venezuela's state-owned oil company, ratcheting up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to cede power to the U.S.-backed opposition in the oil-rich South American nation.

Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress, proclaimed himself interim president last week in opposition to socialist President Nicolas Maduro, and his legitimacy has been backed by the U.S. and two dozen other nations.

2:45 p.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is pressing forward with efforts to form a transitional government by naming a new slate of diplomats.

Venezuela's legislature has approved nearly a dozen new mission chiefs in countries that recognize Guaido as interim president.

The National Assembly is led by Guaido and is the only branch of Venezuela's government recognized by the U.S. and several other nations.

Nicolas Maduro broke diplomatic ties with the U.S. last week after the Trump administration recognized Guaido as Venezuela's rightful president.

Guaido has urged all Venezuelan consulate staff in the U.S. to back him and remain in their posts — a call that at least a few appeared to be heeding.

Tuesday's new appointees to countries like the United States and to the regional Lima Group bloc include longtime opposition leaders like Julio Borges, at least some of whom had already left the country to avoid possible arrest.

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12:30 p.m.

The U.S. State Department says Americans shouldn't travel to Venezuela and it warns of unrest and the threat of arbitrary arrest and detention.

Tuesday's announcement raises the travel advisory to its highest level.

Venezuela is gripped by raising political instability as U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido presses to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Officials have cleared the U.S. embassy in Caracas of everybody but essential staff.

The travel advisory warns of the threat of kidnapping, robberies and mass demonstrations occurring with little notice.

Opposition leaders have called for anti-government demonstrations this week.

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12:15 p.m.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor is seeking to ban opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country as part of a criminal probe into his anti-government activities.

Tarek William Saab made the request to the government-stacked Supreme Court on Tuesday.

He also asked the high court to block Guaido's financial accounts.

Saab didn't specify what crimes Guaido is being investigated for. He only said it was tied to the unrest sparked by his decision to declare himself interim president last week in a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro's authority.

Guaido heads the nation's congress and he has been recognized as the nation's rightful leader by two dozen nations that contend the re-election of socialist President Nicolas Maduro was a sham, in part because his strongest opponents were barred from running.

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10:50 a.m.

International challenges to the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro's government are starting to bite harder. The United States is handing control over Venezuela's U.S. bank accounts to opposition challenger Juan Guaido and Russia says it expects Venezuela to have problems paying its debts.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday certified that Guaido has authority to take control of bank accounts that Venezuela's government has in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S.-insured banks.

Guaido has been recognized as the nation's rightful leader by two dozen nations that contend the re-election of socialist President Nicolas Maduro was a sham, in part because his strongest opponents were barred from running.

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