President Donald Trump warned on Friday that he was considering various measures to tackle Venezuela "including a possible military option if necessary." But Latin American nations are united against US military deployment there.
The UN decried Tuesday "widespread and systematic use of excessive force" against demonstrators in Venezuela, saying security forces and pro-government groups were responsible for at least 73 protester deaths.
Deadly violence erupted around a controversial vote held in Venezuela on Sunday, with a candidate to the assembly being elected shot dead in his home and troops firing weapons to clear protesters in Caracas.
Ahead of next Sunday's election for a 500-plus member assembly to rewrite the constitution and give the president more power, the opposition also plans a general strike — the second in weeks — on Wednesday and Thursday and a big protest march on Friday.
Over a third of Venezuelan voters turned out Sunday in an unofficial referendum — and nearly all voted "No" to President Nicolás Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution. Now the opposition is calling a nationwide strike.
The call to polls — described as a "plebiscite" by the opposition, but "illegal" by the government — is over President Nicolas Maduro's intention to have a citizens' body elected to redraft the country's basic law.