From the very beginning of the political crisis in Venezuela, the United States made it clear it was supporting the head of the opposition-led National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who declared himself the Latin American country's interim president. Since then, Washington has been pressuring Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's incumbent president, to resign.

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams has suggested that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro should leave the country, and such "friends" as Cuba or Russia would gladly accept him.

"I think it is better for the transition to democracy in Venezuela that he be outside the country. And there are a number of countries that I think would be willing to accept him. He's got friends in places like Cuba and Russia. And there are some other countries, actually, that have come to us privately and said they'd be willing to take members of the current illegitimate regime if it would help the transition", he said, refusing to name those countries.

Abrams reiterated the Trump administration's viewpoint, insisting that Maduro should step aside in favour of self-proclaimed interim president and opposition leader Juan Guaido:

"The end game for him should be to leave power, and the sooner the better. Because his own situation is only going to decline the longer he clings to power and the more misery there is in Venezuela".

Slightly over a week ago, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton took to Twitter to express hope that Maduro and his senior aides would retire and live on a "nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela":

On 7 February, Nicolas Maduro appeared at Plaza Bolivar in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas during a campaign to collect signatures against a US intervention.

The move came just days after Trump stated that a military intervention in Venezuela was "an option", adding that he had turned down Maduro's request for a meeting several months ago.

Maduro has accused the Trump administration of attempting to sabotage his government and orchestrating a coup d'etat, subsequently severing diplomatic relations with the United States. 

Washington, on the other hand, has only ramped up its pressure on the Maduro government, having imposed sanctions against the country's state-run oil and gas giant PDVSA, and passing control over some frozen assets held by US-insured banks to Guaido.

While Maduro slammed the restrictions as illegal, the Venezuelan Supreme Court hit back by blocking Guaido's bank accounts and financial transactions within the country's jurisdiction, and imposed a travel ban on him until a probe into his activities is completed.

The United States, Canada, Israel, a handful of European countries and a number of South American nations have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, while Russia, Cuba, China, Iran, Turkey and several other nations have backed Maduro as the legitimately elected head of state.