VOA's Spanish Service interviewed Juan Guaido, the president of Venezuela’s disputed National Assembly, Wednesday, January 8.
Gauido spoke about Iran and Russia, where he said, "Russia should not interfere in Venezuela's affairs."
(Video Courtesy: VOA Spanish Service)
READ MORE: Venezuelan opposition leader and U.S.-recognized interim president, Juan Guaido, entered the country's legislative building Tuesday, January 7, two days after the ruling Socialist Party installed its own parliamentary leadership in an effort to gain control of Venezuela's last democratic institution.
Guaido and a handful of opposition lawmakers forced their way into the National Assembly after a standoff with President Nicolas Maduro's security forces initially prevented them from entering.
After the half-hour confrontation with troops, Guaido made his way toward his seat and led lawmakers in the singing of the national anthem. Shortly thereafter, the electricity went out, dimming the building and rendering microphones unusable.
Lawmakers were forced to shout as they declared Guaido the legitimate president of the legislature, prompting opposition accusations of a "parliamentary coup."
Just minutes before Guaido gained entry, a brief parliamentary session led by Luis Parra had already ended. Parra was sworn in as the head of Parliament on Sunday by Maduro's allies.
Parra claims to have captured 81 votes, an assertion refuted by the opposition, which says 100 lawmakers, a majority, voted for Guaido in a legislative session that was held later Sunday at the offices of a Venezuelan newspaper. There are 167 seats in the legislature.
For the last year, Guaido has led opposition to Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro. Guaido is recognized by the U.S. and nearly 60 other countries as the legitimate president. Guaidó’s international backing rests on the fact that, as assembly president, he is Venezuela’s highest-ranking official to have been democratically elected.
Despite intense pressure from the opposition and international support, Maduro has retained power, thanks largely to support from the armed forces.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozac on Sunday, January 5, said Juan Guaido remains Venezuela's interim president, despite the swearing-in earlier Sunday morning of a dissident opposition lawmaker as president of the National Assembly.