Venezuela’s National Assembly re-elects Juan Guaidó as leader

Juan Guaidó was re-elected as president of Venezuela’s last remaining democratic institution, the National Assembly, on January 5.

“I congratulate Juan Guaidó on his re-election as president of the Venezuelan National Assembly,” said U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in a statement, “and condemn the failed efforts of the former Maduro regime to negate the will of the democratically elected National Assembly.”

On January 5, the 167 members of the National Assembly were set to vote for its president. But security forces controlled by Nicolás Maduro physically blocked interim President Guaidó and other members from entering the National Assembly compound. Because of this act, the majority of deputies were not present, which prevented the legislative body from officially convening.

Locking themselves inside the building, a handful of pro-Maduro legislators attempted to designate a new president — except the number of assembly members present was far too few for a valid election, according to the nation’s constitution.

In the lead up to the election, Maduro had bribed and coerced members to vote for him. There were reports of up to $1 million being offered as bribes by the Maduro regime.

Guaidó was re-elected with a total of 100 votes by legislators who assembled at the headquarters of independent newspaper El Nacional to hold the National Assembly presidential election.

As leader of the National Assembly, Guaidó remains the legitimate interim president of Venezuela until free and fair democratic elections can determine the leader of the country.

The international community provided a mix of strong condemnation of Maduro’s repression and support of Guaidó’s re-election as National Assembly president, including statements from the Lima Group and the European Union spokesperson and social media tweets from officials in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Portugal and Uruguay.

Reaffirming global support for Guaidó, Pompeo confirmed that “the United States and democratic allies throughout the world remain committed to the Venezuelan people and their effort to end the brutal and inept dictatorship under which they live.”

Fifty-eight nations have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.