Venezuela: Juan Guaido brands rival speaker accomplice of the dictatorship

Thursday, 09 Jan, 2020

The United States has been plying economic sanctions against Venezuela since previous year when Maduro's re-election was deemed illegitimate and National Assembly President Juan Guaido appointed himself interim president.

Guaido was confirmed as National Assembly president on Sunday by 100 lawmakers in an off-site vote after he was barred from entering the chamber.

For all these reasons, the opposition described the election of Parra as a "Parliamentarian coup d'état".

Guaido in December vowed to investigate alleged wrongdoing by lawmakers including Parra for unduly advocating for a businessman linked to Maduro's regime. "We're going to make every effort for the press to go in, as well as every effort for parliamentarians to enter". Parra was recently expelled by an opposition party over corruption allegations. Local television images showed Guaido arguing for half an hour with troops who blocked the entrance to the legislative building but eventually allowed him and a handful of allied lawmakers to pass.

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido was sworn in for another term as speaker of parliament on Tuesday after a tense stand-off with the armed forces who initially prevented him from entering Congress.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later congratulated Guaido for claiming leadership of the National Assembly and reiterated support for his role as interim president. The gambit by the government of President Nicolas Maduro was slammed by the United States, the European Union and a dozen Latin American nations.

"We are working on achieving a political change in Venezuela with respect", Parra said from the parliament building.

Turkey, China and Cuba support the socialist leader Maduro.

While Guaido has been recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, true presidential authority rests with Maduro, who retains the support of the armed forces.

Dozens of countries, including the USA and Canada, denounced Parra's appointment as illegitimate, and said they continued to recognize Guaido as the parliament's head and as Venezuela's rightful president.

Lawmakers then voted to recognize Guaido's re-election as head of the National Assembly for 2020. And while refraining to condemn the situation, Mexico called for the democratic process to be followed in the National Assembly vote.

Abrams said that the behavior of the Maduro regime to block the election officials was proof of its failure.

While former ally Luis Parra declared himself Speaker, opposition members re-elected Mr. Guaidó in a separate session held that day at a newspaper office.

Parra was expelled from his party past year.

On the agenda was the renewal of the National Electoral Council, the country's electoral watchdog, in the run-up to legislative elections later this year. Guaido tried to scale the gate to enter but was pulled down by security forces, some of whom carried shields.

The self-proclaimed "interim president" led a group of deputies in a standoff with security forces outside the Legislative Palace in Caracas, while the National Assembly (AN) held its regular session inside.