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Guaidó Declares Himself President Of Venezuela; White House Quickly Issues Recognition

Raising his right hand before a cheering crowd of supporters, Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of the country, called for new elections and put himself on a collision course with Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled but still powerful leader.

Guaidó, the 35-year-old president of the National Assembly, said it was his constitutional duty to take the reins of the troubled country and said he knew his act of defiance “would have consequences.”

Asked if he feared going to jail, as countless other political leaders have, Guaidó said “I’m not worried about that, I’m worried about our people who are suffering.”

The White House quickly recognized Guaidó’s authority in a statement.

“In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.

The announcement comes amid a massive anti-government demonstration in Venezuela Wednesday amid expectations about what Guaidó — a 35-year-old political newcomer — might do next.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald

Jim Wyss is the South America bureau chief for The Miami Herald. He has a master of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor of arts degree from American University in journalism and Spanish. He lives in Bogota, Colombia.
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