Opposition Leader Declares Himself Venezuela’s President in Direct Challenge to Maduro

The opposition’s new chief, Mr. Guaidó, is a 35-year-old industrial engineer who was little recognized at residence or overseas till this month, when he was sworn in as president of the National Assembly. His appointment reinvigorated that opposition-dominated legislative physique, which had turn out to be ineffectual and deeply unpopular in current years.

“People had lost faith,” mentioned Maria Amelia da Silva, 54, at one of many outside city hall-style conferences that opposition lawmakers convened in current days to promote their plans. “Then a leader emerged, and this new leader has become our biggest hope.”

Mr. Guaidó says he’s prepared to lead an interim authorities that might distribute humanitarian support, take steps to flip the economic system round, and convene free and truthful elections. He has argued that doing so wouldn’t violate the Constitution as a result of Mr. Maduro, whose re-election final yr was denounced as rigged, had “usurped” the presidency.

Past antigovernment demonstrations have been dominated by rage and indignation, however Mr. Guaidó and his allies have tried to strike a hopeful, conciliatory tone. They have taken nice pains to urge members of the army to flip their backs on Mr. Maduro, arguing that doing so would represent not a coup, however adherence to their oath to uphold the Constitution.

On Monday night time, Mr. Guaidó and his spouse, Fabiana Rosales, recorded video messages interesting to the consciences — and the aspirations — of members of the armed forces.

“None of you can live in a dignified manner on your military paycheck, you can’t meet the basic needs of your children and relatives,” Mr. Guaidó mentioned. “In the midst of this debacle, the people responsible for this crisis have forced you to clamp down and repress demonstrations of people who are only demanding to eat, to have access to health care, to have water at home, electricity.”

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