Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly declared Nicolas Maduro‘s presidency illegitimate Saturday, calling on the military to support efforts to “restore democracy.”
“We reaffirm the illegitimacy of Nicolas Maduro,” the assembly’s new president Juan Guaido said as he was sworn in at the start of a new legislative session.
“As of January 10, he will be usurping the presidency and consequently this National Assembly is the only legitimate representative of the people.”
Maduro is set to be sworn in on Thursday for a second six-year term after holding controversial early elections May 20.
The elections were boycotted by most of the opposition and widely condemned by the international community.
Why This Matters
On Friday, foreign ministers from 12 Latin American countries and Canada announced in Lima that their governments would not recognize Maduro as president if he attempts to remain in office and urged him to turn over power to the National Assembly.
The U.S. applauds the #LimaGroup for standing up for democracy in #Venezuela and denouncing #Maduro's upcoming sham inauguration. The elections in Venezuela were flawed, unfree, and unfair. We stand with the region to demand the restoration of democracy and fundamental freedoms.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 5, 2019
Guaido, in a speech attended by lawmakers and members of the diplomatic corps, declared that the military’s chain of command had been “broken or usurped,” but called on the armed forces to support efforts “to restore democracy.”
He committed to “generate conditions for a government of transition and to call free elections.”
More on the Subject
Creating external crises to deviate from internal problems is a well-known recipe in politics. Unpopular dictators often resort to this tactic to shape the discourse and concerns of the opposition, media, and population. In Venezuela, President Maduro has adopted this tactic since day one, Maryhen Jiménez Morales, PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, says.