Venezuela’s downward spiral gained some speed on Wednesday after National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself as the interim president. He claimed it’s the only way “to rescue Venezuela from ‘dictatorship.'”

Guaido did this, even though Nicolas Maduro was sworn in a few weeks ago for another term, “after the Venezuelan National Assembly on Tuesday announced its takeover of the executive power.”

Who is Guaido?

Juan Guaido has come out of nowhere after he debuted as leader of the National Assembly and the opposition three weeks ago. He used this opportunity to come out against Maduro:

“The relationship between Venezuela and its state today is one of terror,” Mr. Guaidó said in an interview. “When this happens, the voices and hopes of the world, their messages, are the encouragement for the daily struggle to resist — to dream of democracy, and for a better country.”

From Euronews:

Calling on Venezuelans to protest, the body demanded the establishment of a “transitional government” to organise new elections.

Venezuelan opposition sympathisers had been urging Guaido to assume the presidency since Maduro was inaugurated for a second term earlier this month.

Guaido, 35, is a newcomer on the national scene who was elected to head Congress at the turn of the year.

He had previously said he was willing to replace Maduro if he had the support of the military, with the aim of then calling for free elections.

His declaration on Wednesday came amid mass street protests, with hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans taking to the streets in anti-Maduro demonstrations, demanding he step down.

Chaos

Maduro’s reign has seen Venezuela fall deeper than a third world country. People have no food, jobs, medicine, etc.

The dictator is determined to keep the oil-rich country within his iron fist as he refuses to budge.

Nearly all of the South American countries have backed Guaido along with America and Canada:

In a seemingly coordinated action, the U.S. led a chorus of Western hemisphere nations, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, that immediately recognized Guaido, with President Donald Trump calling on Maduro to resign and promising to use the “full weight” of the U.S. economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela’s democracy.

“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.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt called Guaido “the right person” to lead the troubled country:

Jeremy Hunt said Thursday during a visit to Washington that the May 20 election in Venezuela was “deeply flawed” and said the regime led by President Nicholas Maduro has done “untold damage to the people of Venezuela.”

Hunt said it is clear that Maduro is not the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela. But the statement stops short of recognizing Guaido as president.

Hunt says he plans to discuss the matter with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Maduro responded by breaking diplomatic ties with America:

“Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president. …. I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government,” Maduro thundered while holding up a decree banning the diplomats before a crowd of red-shirted supporters gathered at the presidential palace.

“Don’t trust the gringos,” he said, rattling off a long list of U.S.-backed military coups — Guatemala, Chile, Brazil — in decades past. “They don’t have friends or loyalties. They only have interests, guts and the ambition to take Venezuela’s oil, gas and gold.”

Maduro received support from the usual suspects: Palestinian Authority and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Maduro received support from the top people in the military:

A half-dozen generals belonging largely to district commands and with direct control over thousands of troops joined Maduro in accusing the United States of meddling in Venezuela’s affairs and said they would uphold the socialist leader’s rule.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, a key Maduro ally, later delivered his own proclamation, dismissing efforts to install a “de-facto parallel government” as tantamount to a coup.

“It’s not a war between Venezuelans that will solve our problems,” he said. “It’s dialogue.”

Guaido encouraged “foreign embassies to disavow Maduro’s orders and keep their diplomats in the country.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed and chose to ignore Maduro’s order.

Pompeo slammed Modero to members of the Organization of American States (OAS):

“We call on the OAS and all its member states to act on basic, decent democratic principles and the incontrovertible facts on the ground,” Pompeo said.

“His regime is morally bankrupt, it’s economically incompetent and it is profoundly corrupt,” he added about Maduro. “It is undemocratic to the core.”

Pompeo also said that the “United States is ready to send Venezuela food and medicine in response to requests from the opposition-controlled congress.” This includes “$20 million in humanitarian assistance.” Maduro has has long rejected any kind of aid as citizens starve to death in the streets.

Pompeo has asked for “an open meeting of the U.N. Security Council” to discuss Venezuela. If this happens, it will occur on Saturday morning if nine of the 15 countries on the council agree.

 
 
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