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happening in venezuela

Trump recognizes Venezuela's opposition leader as its legitimate interim president

President Trump has officially recognized Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate interim president.

Guaidó, leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, on Wednesday declared himself interim president over Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013. Maduro was re-elected in 2018 in a disputed election, which sparked protests and was decried as illegitimate. Maduro was sworn in for another term on Jan. 10, but the National Assembly called him an illegitimate president and said that his office is therefore vacant, reports The New York Times. The body then invoked an amendment in Venezuela's constitution to allow Guaidó to take power.

The United States previously sided with the anti-Maduro protesters, with Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week calling Maduro a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power," The Washington Post reports. Trump in his statement recognizing Guaidó, per The Guardian, reiterates this sentiment, saying the National Assembly is the "only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people." Guaidó will now move toward holding new elections. Brendan Morrow