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6 Jan, 2020 08:15

Venezuela parliament speaker election: Chaos inside & outside, Guaido accused of provocation after he was ‘denied’ entry

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has been accused of pulling a PR stunt after a dramatic video showed him mounting a fence to enter the parliament, as it voted to replace him as the head of the legislature.

The opposition-led National Assembly changed guard on Sunday, with the majority of lawmakers electing Luis Parra, an MP from the centrist Justice First, a party in opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party (PSUV).

One of the absentees was US-backed opposition figurehead Juan Guaido, the now ex-leader of the National Assembly, who proclaimed himself the country’s ‘interim president’ a year ago.

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Guaido and a group of his henchmen were filmed attempting to climb a fence surrounding the legislature, with uniformed security guards pulling them back. The video has spread like wildfire online, and was picked up by mainstream media in the West, which spun it as evidence of Guaido being barred from participating in the key parliamentary vote by the supposedly ‘sinister’ Maduro ‘regime.’

But there’s a twist. Other footage shows Guaido chatting with members of the National Guard and refusing to enter the premises unless his companions, reportedly five other deputies who were stripped of parliamentary immunity pending criminal prosecution, are allowed inside. After his plea was rejected, Guaido reportedly raised hell and attempted to storm the building.

After his gambit failed, Guaido convened a parallel assembly at an office of the pro-opposition El Nacional newspaper. His supporters “re-elected” Guaido and ‘swore him in’ as the parliament’s leader, proclaiming the recent National Assembly vote unlawful.

Some say that Guaido had the newspaper’s office ready for the ceremony long before he threw his fit at the fence, suggesting this was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

That didn’t stop some top political figures – like the US secretary of state and Bolivia’s self-declared interim president Jeanin Anez – from congratulating Guaido on his ‘re-election’ while taking aim at Caracas for allegedly impeding his access to the building.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced the stunt as yet another attempt by the US “to impose fake governments” after the “resounding failure” of its “coup strategy” in 2019.

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