Venezuelan opposition leader becomes interim leader with US support

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó today took an oath of office as he is sworn in and declared himself as interim president.

Thousands took to streets in protest, calling for the exit of President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaidó is the President of the National Assembly, an elected legislature whose acts were declared null and void by Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Monday. The National Assembly had refused to recognize the authority of President Nicolas Maduro, declaring his election victory last year illegitimate.

Guaidó took the oath of office in front of a crowd of supporters in Caracas on Wednesday.

He urged the country’s armed forces to support new elections, and pledged to perform the duties of president in the interim.

US President Trump in a statement recognised the interim government of Guaido, promised to deploy the full weight of US economic and diplomatic powers to restore Venezuelan democracy. He urged other western governments to also recognise the Guaido interim government.

“The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” Trump said in a statement. “We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people.”

RT reports, Ahead of Wednesday’s protests, US Vice President Mike Pence released a video message reiterating the US’ commitment to regime change in Venezuela. Denouncing Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power” who has “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” Pence vowed that the US “will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.”