President Trump has officially recognized Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate interim president.
Guaidó, leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, on Wednesday declared himself interim president over Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013. Maduro was re-elected in 2018 in a disputed election, which sparked protests and was decried as illegitimate. Maduro was sworn in for another term on Jan. 10, but the National Assembly called him an illegitimate president and said that his office is therefore vacant, reports The New York Times. The body then invoked an amendment in Venezuela's constitution to allow Guaidó to take power.
The United States previously sided with the anti-Maduro protesters, with Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week calling Maduro a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power," The Washington Post reports. Trump in his statement recognizing Guaidó, per The Guardian, reiterates this sentiment, saying the National Assembly is the "only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people." Guaidó will now move toward holding new elections. Brendan Morrow
INBOX: Statement from President Donald J. Trump Recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela pic.twitter.com/HebzQPSkuY
The Venezuelan supreme court on Saturday reversed its decision to strip the country's legislature of power after widespread foreign and domestic protest. The court's review came at the request of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who couched his critique of the original ruling in terms of "maintain[ing] institutional stability and the balance of powers."
Maduro's move was labeled disingenuous by the opposition party, which controls the legislature, as the supreme court is pro-Maduro and the first ruling would have further consolidated his power. "You can't pretend to just normalize the nation after carrying out a 'coup,'" said Julio Borges, who leads the threatened legislature.
Venezuela continues to suffer a serious economic crisis under Maduro's socialist regime; food shortages are rampant and inflation is high. The president's decision to throw his weight against the court ruling may ease some tensions, but the country's turmoil is far from resolved. Bonnie Kristian
Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday it would take over the functions of Congress, leading the opposition party to label President Nicolas Maduro a "dictator" on Thursday.
Opposition parties won a majority in the National Assembly in 2015, and since then, the court has overturned most of the legislature's decisions, Reuters reports. In its ruling, the court said, "As long as the situation of contempt in the National Assembly continues, this constitutional chamber guarantees congressional functions will be exercised by this chamber of another chosen organ." The court says the assembly is in contempt because three former lawmakers were accused of buying votes, and parliamentary leaders did not properly handle the case.
Maduro's critics say he is trying to consolidate power and keep the opposition down. National Assembly President Julio Borges said Maduro "has carried out a coup d'etat. This is a dictatorship." Maduro's term is up in January 2019, and he is unpopular due to the country's economic crisis, lack of food and medicine, and high inflation. Several countries in Latin America have spoken out against what's happening in Venezuela, and Maduro, a protégé of the late leftist leader Hugo Chavez, has said there is a "right-wing regional pact" against his government. The United States has called the Supreme Court's move a "serious setback for democracy in Venezuela." Catherine Garcia