#FREEDOM FOR #VENEZUELA :President Trump has recognized Opposition leader Juan Guaido that proclaims himself interim President

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has taken an oath and sworn himself in as interim president, as droves of protesters take to the streets calling for President Nicolas Maduro’s exit.

US President Donald Trump has recognized Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in a provocative move against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro.

"Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela," Trump said in statement.

He called the Maduro government "illegitimate" and "directly responsible for any threats" posed to the Venezuelan people.


He added he would use "the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy" and encouraged other governments in the Western Hemisphere to also recognize Guaido.

Guaidó is currently President of the National Assembly, an elected legislature whose acts were declared null and void by Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Monday. The National Assembly had refused to recognize the authority of President Nicolas Maduro, declaring his election victory last year illegitimate.


Guaidó took the oath of office in front of a crowd of supporters in Caracas on Wednesday, as thousands of Venezuelans thronged the city’s streets to protest Maduro. He urged the country’s armed forces to support new elections, and pledged to perform the duties of president in the interim.

Moment after the news broke, US President Donald Trump said he recognizes Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, and encouraged other western powers to follow suit.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a revision of diplomatic relations with the US after the White House has openly urged the opposition to unite and overthrow the “dictator with no legitimate claim to power.

Ahead of the mass street protests against Maduro on Wednesday, called by the opposition-led National Assembly, US Vice President Mike Pence released a video message reaffirming unwavering support for a regime change in Venezuela. 

Denouncing Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power” who has “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” 

Pence declared that time has come for the Venezuelan people to take the matters into their own hands, in a speech peppered with Spanish phrases.

The United States supports the courageous decision by Juan Guaidó, the president of National Assembly, to assert that body’s constitutional powers, declare Maduro a usurper and call for the establishment of a transitional government,” Pence said.

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

Trump said in a statement. “We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s protests, US Vice President Mike Pence released a video message reiterating the US’ commitment to regime change in Venezuela. 

Denouncing Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power” who has “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” 

Pence vowed that the US “will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.”

Pence’s tacit endorsement of regime change prompted Maduro to order a “total revision” of the already-strained diplomatic ties between the two countries. “Mr. Pence doesn't have a job. Now he wants to come and run Venezuela, handing out instructions on what should happen” he told supporters, before accusing the US of “promoting instability and violence” in Venezuela.

The latest protests began after a group of National Guard soldiers staged a mutiny in northern Caracas on Monday morning and called on other military units to do the same. The rebellious servicemen were arrested, but civil unrest spread through the city in the following days. Four people have reportedly died during the protests.

Demonstrators torched statues of Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, who steered the country towards socialism after winning election in 1999. In the city of San Félix, the anti-government crowd hung another statue of Chaves from an overpass.

Guaidó’s oath, and Trump’s recognition of him as president, comes on a symbolic day for Venezuela’s socialist government. The 23rd of January marks the anniversary of the 1958 coup d’etat that overthrew dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez. As protesters took to the streets with their own calls for democracy, the Venezuelan leader took to Twitter to celebrate the occasion.