Donald Trump Recognizes Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela

Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the nation until elections can be held during a rally demanding President Nicolas Maduro's resignation in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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President Donald Trump recognized the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the interim president of Venezuela on Wednesday.

President Trump said that the Venezuelan National Assembly was the “only legitimate branch of government” remaining in the country, despite Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to keep power.

“The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” Trump wrote in a statement.

A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday that “all options are on the table” regarding the enforcement of Trump’s declaration, including diplomatic steps and economic sanctions.

The official noted that the administration was conferring with Latin American countries such as Columbia, Brazil, and Peru on declaring that the Maduro government was “illegitimate.” Also included are Canada, the European Union, and Japan.

Trump announced his decision after conferring at the White House on Tuesday with Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A White House official said that Trump had been following the political and economic problems with Venezuela for more than a year.

“This decision was made solely and squarely by the president, who has the constitutional authority to do so,” he said.

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