Nicolas Maduro rival Juan Guaido claims Venezuela presidency with US backing
Updated : January 25, 2019 06:34 AM IST
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.