Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaido was re-elected president of Venezuela’s National Assembly with 100 votes – a clear majority of the 167-member legislature.
U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams congratulated Interim President Guaido on his victory:
“We look forward to working this year with Juan Guaido, with the firm majority of the Venezuelan parliament, who continue to support democracy, with Venezuela’s democratic political parties, and with the millions of Venezuelans who want the dictatorship to end.”
For months, corrupt Venezuelan regime officials engaged in a campaign of arrests, intimidation, and bribery to prevent elected members of the National Assembly – the Deputies – from freely casting their votes. When these tactics failed to secure enough support for Maduro in the National Assembly, Maduro dispatched his security forces on election day to block Juan Guaido and his supporters from entering the Federal Legislative Palace. In response, Venezuela’s political parties gathered in another location, and in a resounding display of unity voted to re-elect Juan Guaido as president of the National Assembly.
“This re-election,” said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, “is a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of the people of Venezuela, Interim President Guaido, and members of the National Assembly.”
The United States applauds Interim President Guaido’s decision to leave the leadership of the Voluntad Popular Party, and to work instead on building a broad alliance of civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, and all Venezuelans who want to end the Maduro dictatorship, which has brought years of economic ruin and oppression.
The United States is committed to supporting the National Assembly as Venezuela’s only democratically-elected government institution. Through diplomacy and sanctions, the United States is applying greater pressure on Maduro and those who aid and abet him – whether inside or outside of Venezuela. “We have no doubt that Venezuelans will win their struggle and return their country to democracy,” declared Special Representative Abrams.
The repression and poverty of Venezuela, which has already forced more than fifteen percent of the population to flee the country, will begin to end only when democracy fully returns. “We look forward to that day,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “and recommit ourselves to supporting Interim President Guaido, the National Assembly, and free and fair elections.”