News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Jan. 6, 2020: After a chaotic day Sunday in Venezuela over leadership of its National Assembly, where does the situation now stand? Here are five things to know:
1: Both Juan Guaidó and Luis Parra claim to now be the head of parliament in Venezuela even though he was blocked by forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro and many of his allies from entering the building. Guaido tried to scale the gate to enter but was pulled down by security forces, some of whom carried shields.
2: Parra then declared himself the new Speaker by megaphone – a move denounced by the opposition, and said he had been sworn in without votes or a quorum. The move came after Parra’s parliamentary faction split from the main opposition and joined the governing Socialist party.
3: Maduro promptly backed Parra, declaring that “Guaidó was kicked out was kicked out of the National Assembly by the votes of his own opposition.” State television showed Parra — who was recently expelled by an opposition party over corruption allegations that he denies — participating in what appeared to be an improvised swearing-in ceremony inside the legislative palace.
4: Still Guaido insists he is still the next head of the National Assembly despite being barred from entering congress. That came hours after a majority of congress members held an emergency meeting at the headquarters of an opposition newspaper to reelect Guaido to the post. “The regime is kidnapping and persecuting deputies, militarizing the Federal Legislative Palace, preventing access and blocking entry to the free press,” Guaido said on Twitter. “This is the reality in Venezuela: the desire for change in the face of a dictatorship that continues to persecute.”
5: U.S. officials denounced the events and said they would not recognize Parra’s claim. The US’ Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Kraft tweeted Sunday: “The #Maduro regime is once again displaying its cowardice in the face of democracy by ordering security forces to block @jguaido & lawmakers from entering the National Assembly @AsambleaVE, where #JuanGuaido would be re-elected as the legitimate & democratic leader of #Venezuela.” And Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for the US State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, added: “The desperate actions of the former Maduro regime, illegally forcibly preventing Juan Guaidó… from entering the building, make this morning’s ‘vote’, which lacks quorum and does not meet minimum constitutional standards, a farce.”