Trump vows to use economic, diplomatic powers to restore Venezuela

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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THE United States (US) yesterday said that it is officially recognising president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the de facto leader of the country, severing all relations with embattled Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

US President Donald Trump, in a statement issued to local and international media, said that 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 Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant.

Maduro's presidency has coincided with a decline in Venezuela's socioeconomic status, with crime, inflation, poverty, and hunger increasing.

“Today, I am officially recognising the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the interim president of Venezuela,” the Trump statement said.

“The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” the US president added.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans yesterday gathered across the country to march in protest against Maduro.

Four people reportedly died in clashes before the protests, as riot police mobilised to guard demonstrators.

Guaidˇ, who organised the opposition march, urged the army to defy the government and yesterday took an oath where he declared himself as “acting president” of the country.

“I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy. We encourage other Western Hemisphere governments to recognise National Assembly President Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela, and we will work constructively with them in support of his efforts to restore constitutional legitimacy.

“We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people. As Interim President Guaido noted yesterday: “Violence is the usurper's weapon; we only have one clear action: to remain united and firm for a democratic and free Venezuela,'” Trump said.

At the same time, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the US supports Guaidˇ's courageous decision to assume the role of interim president pursuant to Article 233 of Venezuela's Constitution and supported by the National Assembly, in restoring democracy to Venezuela.

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