Na­tional Assem­bly pres­i­dent re­leased in Venezuela af­ter de­ten­tion

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - INTERNATIONAL -

CARA­CAS, Venezuela (AFP) — The pres­i­dent of the Op­po­si­tion-con­trolled but side­lined Na­tional Assem­bly was re­leased less than an hour af­ter be­ing ar­rested by Venezue­lan in­tel­li­gence agents yes­ter­day, his wife said.

Juan Guaido had di­rectly chal­lenged the le­git­i­macy of Ni­co­las Maduro as the pres­i­dent was sworn in for a sec­ond term on Thurs­day, call­ing next day for a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment ahead of new elec­tions.

“Thank you to ev­ery­one that re­acted im­me­di­ately with sup­port against the dic­ta­tor­ship’s abuses against my hus­band,” said Fabi­ana Ros­ales on Twit­ter. “I’m al­ready with him. The dic­ta­tor­ship can­not break his fight­ing spirit.”

Guaido was de­tained as he trav­elled to a po­lit­i­cal meet­ing out­side the cap­i­tal Cara­cas, his wife and law­mak­ers said.

Ros­ales said the cou­ple was in­ter­cepted on a high­way by armed and hooded men in two Venezue­lan in­tel­li­gence ser­vice ve­hi­cles.

“They forced us to dis­mount. They did not hit him (Guaido) but they told us they had to pro­ceed with his im­me­di­ate ar­rest,” she said in a tele­phone call made pub­lic by a mem­ber of the assem­bly, Larissa Gon­za­lez.

On her Twit­ter ac­count, Ros­ales posted “Se­bin de­tains Guaido,” re­fer­ring to the State in­tel­li­gence ser­vices.

Soon af­ter, how­ever, came news that he had been re­leased, and Guaido was met with cheer­ing crowds when he fi­nally reached the po­lit­i­cal meet­ing in Cara­balleda, 40 kilo­me­tres (25 miles) from Cara­cas.

“Broth­ers and sis­ters, I’m here!” he said be­fore di­rect­ing a mes­sage at Maduro.

“The game is chang­ing, the peo­ple are in the street, the sym­bols of pres­sure, re­sis­tance and strength are here.

“If they want to send a mes­sage so that we go into hid­ing, here is the peo­ple’s re­sponse. We’re here!”

On Fri­day, the 35-year-old Guaido had said that the the Venezue­lan con­sti­tu­tion gave him the author­ity to as­sume power as part of a gov­ern­ment of tran­si­tion.

He also called on Venezue­lans to rally on Jan­uary 23 in sup­port of such a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment, a sig­nif­i­cant date as it was then in 1958 that the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship of Mar­cos Perez Jimenez fell.

Maduro was re-elected in May in a vote that was boy­cotted by the Op­po­si­tion, whose best known lead­ers were barred from run­ning, un­der house ar­rest or in ex­ile.

The out­come was widely crit­i­cised as marred by fraud and voter in­tim­i­da­tion, and the United States, the EU, Canada and a group of Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries re­fused to recog­nise it

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