The opposition leader Juan Guaidó swore on Tuesday as president of the Parliament of Venezuela, after being ratified by votes of opposition deputies, in a rugged session in the Legislative Palace that took place without electricity and to which the military tried to prevent his entry.
Reuters said security forces threw teargas at the pace of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and other opposition deputies as they left parliament.
“I swear it!” Guaidó shouted from the presidential podium of the unicameral National Assembly, the only power in the hands of the opposition in Venezuela, claiming to seek a “solution to the crisis.”
The rival deputy Luis Parra, self-proclaimed Sunday president of the Legislature with the support of Chavismo, chaired just before another session. Upon the arrival of Guaidó, he left the chamber.
After Guaidó sang the Venezuelan national anthem with opposing parliamentarians, Congress went dark due to a power outage, at which time several deputies illuminated the premises with their cell phone flashlights.
Guaidó arrived at the headquarters of the Congress in a van accompanied by a caravan of buses where several deputies from the opposition bench moved, after traveling about five kilometers through the center of Caracas.
National Guard troops prevented him from crossing the east flank of the building. “This is not a barracks!” He shouted at the Guaidó military on the shoulders of parliamentarians, before pushing past another entrance.
The opposition leader was ratified on Sunday as head of Parliament with 100 votes of opposition deputies in a session at the premises of the newspaper El Nacional, a critic of Maduro.
At the head of the Legislature, Guaidó proclaimed himself in 2019 president in charge of Venezuela and was recognized as such by fifty countries, after declaring President Nicolás Maduro “usurper”.
The United States, the European Union and regional allies such as Colombia or Brazil renewed their support.
- Parallel session
While Guaidó sought to enter the chamber, Parra led a controversial parliamentary session within the Congress.
Parra – an opposition legislator who broke up with Guaidó a month ago after being accused of corruption – convened in parallel to a session for this Tuesday, also in the Legislative Palace, with a different agenda.
Speaking to the media, Parra called Guaidó himself on Monday to appear in the chamber and “sit on his seat.”
Parra swore on Sunday to shouting with a megaphone in the Legislature with the support of Chavismo, after a freehand consultation without vote counting. The deputy said that 81 deputies – of the 167 that make up the Parliament – approved his nomination.
While that was happening, Guaido tried unsuccessfully to enter Parliament to re-elect himself as president of the chamber, a position from which he claimed the presidency in charge of Venezuela almost a year ago.
The opposition leader, in his characteristic tailored suit, climbed the perimeter fences of the building on Sunday, but soldiers with riot shields prevented him from jumping.
The opposition then denounced the action in which Parra was proclaimed as a “parliamentary coup d’etat.”
But President Maduro, who has managed to stay in power supported by the Armed Forces and countries like China, Russia or Cuba, recognized Parra.
The unicameral Parliament is composed of 167 deputies, 112 of them opposition.