A defiant Juan Guaido said during an event this afternoon that he would continue to get his picture taken with whomever requested it, in reference to the scandal involving a pair of pictures that he took with a pair of notorious Colombian criminals.
Guaido claims that he did not know who the men were when he met them on February 22 of this year while sneaking across the border into Colombia.
At today’s event, Guaido taunted PSUV officials whom he claimed are so unpopular that “not even their mothers” want to take pictures with them. He then said:
I’m going to keep taking pictures with everyone. We’re more united today than we’ve ever been.
In the aftermath of the publication of the images, Colombian President Ivan Duque said that he personally found Guaido’s explanation for the pictures to be “satisfactory”.
Guaido also said that he would send a representative from the country’s opposition forces to the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which is scheduled to take place September 17-24 in New York City.
It is not clear if the UN would accept Guaido’s representative, given that the official delegation from Venezuela attending the meeting would be coming from the Maduro regime.
Maduro Says Parliamentary Elections Coming in Early 2020
Speaking during a televised address this afternoon, Maduro said that Venezuelans would go to the ballots to vote for their National Assembly representatives “at the dawn of 2020”, suggesting that the election would take place at the start of the year.
On the importance of the elections for his regime, Maduro pointed to the fact that the National Assembly is currently controlled by the opposition. Maduro said:
We have to win back the National Assembly for the country. The legislative branch fell down a well… we have to win it back for peace, stability, and [to make laws] that protect the people.
Since losing the National Assembly in 2015, the Maduro regime has cranked up its persecution of opposition politicians through methods such as targeted persecution. The attacks against the National Assembly have also come from the PSUV-packed Supreme Court, which has issued a string of rulings against the legislature, including two in March 2017 that stripped the parliament’s powers. The rulings were so unpopular that the Supreme Court was forced to roll them back, but not before triggering a months-long anti-government protest wave.
Maduro suggested that the vote would take place on January 5, but it was not clear from his comment if he will actually aim to hold the election then.
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