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In an event without precedent in Venezuelan history, National Assembly president Juan Guaido declared himself interim President of the Republic before a massive crowd of supporters in Caracas this afternoon.

Guaido took the crowd of supporters by surprise, as there had been little hint before today’s protests that he would take the measure. Below, a video of the moment that Guaido declared himself interim president:

Juan Guaido: Today, January 23 2019, in my capacity as President of the National Assembly, invoking the articles of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela–with all of our actions based on our Constitution–before God Almighty, Venezuela: with respect to my colleagues and members of the [opposition], I hereby formally assume the office of the national executive as interim President of Venezuela.

As of the writing of this update, Venezuelan has two heads of state.

Guaido said that he was taking on the power of president pending the holding of new elections, the date of which he did not announce.

Following his announcement, over a dozen countries issued statements recognizing Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. They were led by the United States:

The Lima Group issued a joint statement recognizing Guaido as interim President on behalf of the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.

The Republic of Kosovo also recognized Guaido:

Announcement Comes Amid Largest Protests Since 2017

Guaido’s made his announcement shortly after the noon hour amid the largest protests that Venezuela has seen since the 2017 demonstrations.

Below, some images and videos of the protests from around the country.

One of the earliest images the world got of the protests in Venezuela today were were recorded in Plaza Madariaga, Caracas. In the short clip, a group of protesters is trying trying to convince a group of National Guard soldiers to join them.

Then, a man–who, judging by his uniform and demeanour was commanding the unit–then pulls the pin on a tear gas grenade, throws it into the crowd, and drags a man into custody. That same man then shoves the journalist who was recording the scene.

Below, the video:

This was the scene at the Francisco de Miranda avenue in Caracas shortly before Guaido declared himself interim president:

After Guaido made the announcement, the crowd sang the national anthem:

In Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas state. at least two protesters were killed by regime security forces:

Images of the crowd in Maracaibo, Zulia state:

As night fell, sporadic confrontations between police and protesters took place around the country, including in the Palo Verde area of Caracas. The video below shows a gunfight alleged to have involved the regime security forces:

Regime Reaction Sluggish, Unsure

At a rally at the Plaza O’Leary in Caracas, PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello told a crowd of supporters that it was their duty to defend Maduro, and invited them to march to the Miraflores Palace to hold a vigil there.

Once at Miraflores, Maduro appeared on a balcony and spoke to the crowd. Below, a screenshot of Maduro on the balcony at the Miraflores Palace earlier today:

Maduro’s speech was reserved given the unprecedented nature of the day’s events. He only mentioned Guaido a few times, and spent much of his time at the balcony talking about his plans for the country’s economy in 2019.

Maduro accused the United States of attempting to overthrow him by installing Guaido as president. As a result, Maduro explained, he announced the breaking of diplomatic ties with the United States and the expulsion of all of its staff in the country within the next 72 hours.

The United States Department of State reacted to Maduro’s announcement by saying that its staff would not obey Maduro’s order to leave the country. In a statement shared on his Twitter account, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the staff would remain in the country to “conduct diplomatic relations” with interim President Guaido.

Below, Pompeo’s statement:

At Least 15 Killed in Protest Violence

El Pitazo published a list today of 15 protesters who have been confirmed killed during the protests that have been shaking the country over the past 48 hours. Below, the list of the fatalities, along with the age of the victim and place in which they were killed:

 January 23

  1. Carlos Alfredo Olivares Bonalde (30), Ciudad Bolivar
  2. Unidentified Person, Ciudad Bolivar
  3. Unidentified Person, Ciudad Bolivar
  4. Unidentified Person, Ciudad Bolivar
  5. Efren Sandalio Castillo (47), Puerto Ayacucho
  6. Yhonny Alejandro Hernadnez Ojeda (27), Puerto Ayacucho
  7. Eduardo Jose Marrero (21), San Cristobal
  8. Wilmer Antonio Zambrano (28), San Cristobal
  9. Wilmer Mendoza, Barinas
  10. Ivan Hernandez (21), Barinas
  11. Yeimbert Jose Rangel Lereico (24), Barinas
  12. Juan Rafael Medina Torres (19), Portuguesa

    January 22

  13. Alixon Osorio Dos Santos Pizani (19), Caracas
  14. Stefany Maholy Layoy Natera, Caracas
  15. Franklin Alexander Figuera, El Junquito

Note that while the El Pitazo headline says that 16 protesters have been killed, the article only lists 15.

Efecto Cocuyo, another local news source, has tallied 18 fatalities.

Tensions High as Mystery Airplane Lands in Maiquetia

At approximately 7:30 PM local time, a private jet landed in the Maiquetia international airplane. The jet arrived from Moscow, and flown there from Istanbul yesterday:

The plane’s flight from Istanbul to Moscow yesterday:

The plane’s tail number is TC-TTC, and is registered to a Turkish company:

As of the writing of this update, TC-TTC is still in Venezuela.

Note

I tweeted developments in Venezuela throughout the day on my Twitter account, @invenezuelablog. While I’ve seldom used the Twitter account, I expect that if the protests continue, I will provide frequent updates throughout the day about developments in the country.

If you’d like to keep informed beyond reading my daily updates, you can follow my Twitter account.


Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

 

 

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6 thoughts on “01.23.19: Interim President Guaido

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