Venezuela's opposition-led congress to debate defense pact

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Venezuela's opposition-led congress to debate defense pact
A family gathers during lunch, in the room the live in, at a building occupied by squatting families in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 6, 2019. Venezuela is in the midst of a growing political and economic crisis as, the U.S.-backed Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president in January, saying President Nicolas Maduro's re-election last year was rigged and one in a series of increasingly authoritarian steps since he replaced the late Hugo Chávez in 2013 as president. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress plans to discuss a proposal for Venezuela’s return to a regional defense agreement that dates from the Cold War.

Tuesday’s debate comes as U.S. officials say they are considering military “options” in the Venezuelan crisis in addition to diplomatic and economic pressure that has been intensifying for months.

The United States recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, and says President Nicolás Maduro should resign.

Guaidó leads the National Assembly, which could provide political cover for deeper international involvement in the effort to oust Maduro by approving re-entry into the U.S.-led defense treaty. Venezuela pulled out of the treaty years ago.

Maduro has denounced the Guaidó-led assembly, instead recognizing a rival assembly packed with government loyalists that was set up in 2017.