U.S. Markets closed

Venezuela's Guaido says 600 military have left Maduro government

(Adds remarks by Guaido)

ASUNCION, March 1 (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, visiting Paraguay on Friday to raise support for a change of government in his country, said that 600 members of the military have abandoned the government of Nicolas Maduro in recent days.

Guaido, head of Venezuela's National Assembly, has invoked constitutional provisions to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro's re-election last year was fraudulent. Guaido has since been recognized by most Western nations as the rightful leader of Venezuela.

"In the next few hours we will announce new protest marches," Guaido said at a news conference after meeting with Paraguayan leader Mario Abdo, who received the opposition figure as a head of state.

"We have spoken clearly to the Armed Forces of Venezuela. They have seen more than 600 officers in recent days switch to side with the Constitution," he added. "There is a very clear process of transition to democracy."

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis in Asuncion Writing by Hugh Bronstein Editing by Franklin Paul and Matthew Lewis)