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Self-appointed interim president Venezuela recognized by several countries


Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó swore in on Wednesday night as interim president of the South American country. Several countries have indicated that they recognize the appointment.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó swore in on Wednesday night as interim president of the South American country. Several countries have indicated that they recognize the appointment.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans march through the capital Caracas on Wednesday evening. In the run-up to the protest, four people were killed, according to the Venezuelan police and the Venezuelan NGO Observatory for Social Conflicts.

The 35-year-old Guaidó is the new president of the National Assembly, the Venezuelan parliament. The demonstrators hope that he succeeds in unifying the political resistance against Maduro.

Guaidó announced when he took office at the beginning of the year that the parliament would ignore the president and on 11 January he appointed himself as interim president and announced that he would launch new elections.

According to the Venezuelan Constitution, the President of Parliament may become interim president if there is abuse of power or a power vacuum.

Guaidó tries to get the Venezuelan army to come by promising amnesty to soldiers who turn against Maduro. The Supreme Court, which declared the parliament unlawful in 2017, is also based on the president. The Venezuelan Public Prosecution Service is investigating whether Guaidó has committed criminal offenses.

A lot of international support for Guaidó

Guaidó is supported by the United States, the EU and other countries condemning the Maduro regime and questioning the legitimacy of the elections that gave him his second term of office.

US President Donald Trump announced shortly after the swearing in to recognize Guaidó as interim president. Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, says that Trump's government will ask Maduro to resign "in favor of a legitimate leader who reflects the will of the people".

Mexico was the only country of the so-called Lima group early this year, a partnership between fourteen countries that recognized Maduro's new mandate. A spokesperson for the Mexican government says Wednesday night that no changes are being made to this policy at this time.

Several countries of the Lima group have already announced that they will recognize Guaidó as interim president. These are Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and Chile.

Photo series: Mass demonstration against Maduro regime

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are marching in Caracas. © EPA

They demonstrate against the regime of President Nicolas Maduro. © AFP

The demonstrators hope that opposition leader Juan Guaidó succeeds in unifying the political resistance against Maduro. © EPA

Guaidó has recently become president of the Venezuelan parliament. © EPA

During the march, Guaidó has sworn in as Venezuela's interim president. © AFP

Mars follows a turbulent week in Venezuela

Wednesday's protest march follows a turbulent week in Venezuela. A group of 25 army officers - of predominantly low rank - stole firearms at a military depot in the night from Sunday to Monday. The group used to hijack four government officials to attack an army post near the Presidential Palace Miraflores in Caracas.

In a video that was widely shared on social media, one of the mutineers urged his compatriots to revolt against President Maduro's regime.

The government quickly reversed the uprising, but other opponents of Maduro took to the streets on Tuesday to demonstrate in at least sixty working-class districts across the country. In the west of the capital, according to the non-profit organization Observatorium voor Sociale Conflicten, a sixteen-year-old demonstrator was killed by police fire. His death has not been officially confirmed or denied.

Venezuela is in deep crisis

Venezuela has slipped further under the reign of Maduro, the successor of the socialist demagogue Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, in a deep economic and social crisis. Economists expect inflation in the country to reach 10 million percent this year.

The economic crisis has caused major shortages of food and medication and a large flow of refugees to neighboring countries.

Mass demonstrations against the Maduro government also took place in 2014 and in 2017. In the latter year, 125 people were killed in collisions between demonstrators and security services.

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Source: nunl

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