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Guaido: My brief arrest shows desperation of Venezuelan gov’t

The head of Brazil's opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido (c, facing camera), speaks to a large crowd on Jan. 13, 2019, in Caraballeda, Brazil. EFE-EPA/Cristian Hernandez

The head of Brazil’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido (c, facing camera), speaks to a large crowd on Jan. 13, 2019, in Caraballeda, Brazil. EFE-EPA/Cristian Hernandez

EFE

The head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly (AN), Juan Guaido, said Sunday that his recent half-hour-long detention shows the “desperation” of the government of Nicolas Maduro .

“They are desperate at Miraflores (the presidential residence). They don’t know who is giving orders,” the Popular Will (VP) lawmaker told hundreds of people at a public assembly in his home state of Vargas, near Caracas.

Guaido arrived at the event two hours behind schedule because while he was en route his vehicle was intercepted by Sebin intelligence agents who, carrying assault rifles and wearing masks, “kidnapped” him for half an hour, he said.

Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that the incident was an irregular and unilateral procedure, whereby the agents involved were fired and an investigation opened to determine responsibilities.

Guaido told reporters that the official version of events shows that Maduro “no longer controls the armed forces,” which reveals - he said - the “serious problem” within the military.

“They kidnapped me. We were in a car ... I escaped the kidnapping because there are people who believe in Venezuela. ... They tried to put handcuffs on me; I didn’t allow it because I’m the head of the AN, because I represent a legitimate branch of government,” he said.

The agents told Guaido that they were complying with an “order” but “they didn’t know what they were doing,” the lawmaker said.

He reiterated that the AN on Tuesday will discuss a bill to grant amnesty to soldiers, whom the opposition has called on for their support to “reestablish democracy” in Venezuela.

Maduro was inaugurated last Thursday for his second six-year term after winning reelection last May in a vote seen as fraudulent by the opposition and many foreign nations and institutions and in which the opposition did not participate.

The Organization of American States and the European Union do not recognize Maduro’s second term as legitimate.


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