Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on the country’s armed forces to be "ready" in the event of a US military offensive.

In a speech to troops today, Mr Maduro called on the military "to be ready to defend the homeland with weapons in your hands if one day the US empire dares to touch this territory, this sacred earth."

His speech at a military base in the northwest, where he appeared alongside Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, came as opposition leader Juan Guaido rallied his supporters in a new day of protests to press the armed forces to support his bid to dislodge Mr Maduro.

Earlier this week, Mr Guaido tried to incite a military insurrection but it quickly fizzled out as a group of 25 rebel soldiers sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Caracas.

President Maduro had responded to that by insisting the military high command had reasserted its loyalty to him.

"I told the generals and admirals yesterday: loyalty, I want an active loyalty ... I trust you, but keep your eyes open, a handful of traitors cannot tarnish the honor, the unity, the cohesion and the image of the armed forces," the president said in his speech broadcast on public radio and television.

The socialist leader accused Mr Guaido - recognised by more than 50 countries as Venezuela's interim president - of trying to launch a "coup d'etat".

Despite Mr Guaido's best efforts, the military has remained loyal to President Maduro.

His appeal came during a week in which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned Caracas that "military action is possible".

Despite repeatedly alluding to such an intervention, Washington has so far limited its actions to ramping up sanctions against key figures in the Maduro regime, as well as state oil company PDVSA.