Venezuela’s opposition leader declares himself interim president, Trump supports move
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president in a defiant speech before masses of anti-government demonstrators who took to the streets Wednesday to demand President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation.
He immediately drew recognition from the Trump administration, which said it would use the “full weight” of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela’s democracy.
Raising his right hand in unison with tens of thousands of supporters, the head of the opposition-controlled congress took a symbolic oath before God to assume executive powers he says are his right under Venezuela’s constitution and take over the presidency until new elections can be called.
Guaido said he was taking the politically risky step just two weeks after Maduro took his own oath to a second, six-year term confident that it was the only way to rescue Venezuela from “dictatorship” and restore constitutional order.