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Politics

Nicolas Maduro rival Juan Guaido claims Venezuela presidency with US backing

Updated : 2019-01-25 06:34:07

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, winning backing from Washington and parts of Latin America and prompting socialist Nicolas Maduro, the country's leader since 2013, to break relations with the United States.

US President Donald Trump formally recognized Guaido shortly after his announcement and praised his plan to hold elections. That was followed by similar statements from Canada and a slew of right-leaning Latin American governments, including Venezuela's neighbors Brazil and Colombia.

At a rally on Wednesday in the east of the capital Caracas that drew hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, Guaido accused Maduro of usurping power. He promised to create a transitional government that would help the oil-rich nation escape its hyperinflationary economic collapse.

"I swear to assume all the powers of the presidency to secure an end to the usurpation," 35-year old Guaido, the head of the opposition-run congress, told an exuberant crowd.

Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, during a rally against President Maduro's government in Caracas, January 23. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, during a rally against President Maduro's government in Caracas, January 23. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A woman holds a scarf as she gathers in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico City, Mexico January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
A woman holds a scarf as she gathers in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico City, Mexico January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a rally in support of his government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez next to his wife Cilia Flores in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a rally in support of his government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez next to his wife Cilia Flores in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS
A woman holds a sign as she gathers in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico City, Mexico January 23, 2019. The sign reads,
A woman holds a sign as she gathers in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico City, Mexico January 23, 2019. The sign reads, "Maduro usurper". REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
A woman attends a gathering in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019.The sign reads:
A woman attends a gathering in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019.The sign reads: "Force". REUTERS /Martin Acosta
A woman attends a gathering in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS /Martin Acosta
A woman attends a gathering in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS /Martin Acosta
Demonstrators follow a truck during a protest of opposition supporters against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Demonstrators follow a truck during a protest of opposition supporters against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A demonstrator throws back a gas canister while clashing with security forces during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
A demonstrator throws back a gas canister while clashing with security forces during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
Demonstrators clash with security forces while participating in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
Demonstrators clash with security forces while participating in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
People gather in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido on the Vatican Square in Buenos Aires, Argentina January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
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