In a written statement, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, said: “The Secretary-General is concerned over reports of casualties in the context of demonstrations and unrest in Venezuela and calls for a transparent and independent investigation of these incidents.”
Dujarric released the statement in Davos, where he attended the 49th World Economic Forum.
“At this critical time, he [Guterres] urges all actors to lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent violence and avoid any escalation,” the statement said.
The UN chief highlighted the urgent need for all actors “to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights," it added.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of the country, marking the most significant escalation in the ongoing feud between Washington and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has slammed the decision of Trump and said his country was cutting off diplomatic relations with the U.S., giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
Brazil and the Organization of American States had recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader prior to his formal announcement. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay have followed suit while Bolivia and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro.
Maduro has repeatedly lashed out at the U.S., saying Washington is waging an economic war against him and his government amid a sweeping sanctions campaign.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced solidarity with Maduro early Thursday after Washington recognized Guaido as interim president.