Venezuela's Opposition Re-Elects Guaido After Ruling Party Seized Congress

Venezuela's opposition lawmakers voted to re-elect Juan Guaido as the Speaker of the National Assembly after he was violently blocked from entering the Parliament, according to Reuters.

Benzinga · 01/06/2020 10:24

Venezuela's opposition lawmakers voted to re-elect Juan Guaido as the Speaker of the National Assembly after he was violently blocked from entering the Parliament, according to Reuters.

What Happened

Venezuela’s socialist government declared a new head of Congress on Sunday after security forces stopped opposition leader Juan Guaido from entering the Parliament.

This prompted the opposition to hold an improvised parliamentary session in the offices of El Nacional, a pro-opposition newspaper, where they re-elected Guaido as the chief of Congress.

The opposition’s tally showed 100 of the Parliament's 167 legislators had voted in favor of Guaido.

Earlier in the day, security forces had set up barricades to block Guaidó and other opposition lawmakers from entering congress.

Taking advantage of the blockade, the ruling Socialist Party handed the post legislator Luis Parra, who was recently expelled by an opposition party over corruption allegations.

Why It Matters

In January 2019, opposition leader Guaidó declared himself Venezuela's interim president, denouncing the 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro as a fraud. The move by Guaidó was then backed by many countries, including the U.S. and U.K.

Despite several attempts through the year, however, President Maduro has managed to cling to power, mainly with support from the military and the backing of China, Russia, and Cuba.

U.S. Reaction

The United States condemned the move by Venezuela's ruling party to seize Congress and congratulated Guaido for winning a second term.

“Venezuela’s political parties came together in a resounding display of unity to support Juan Guaido’s re-election,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday night

“No regime thugs, no jail cells, and no bribery or intimidation can subvert the will of the Venezuelan people,” added Pompeo.