Venezuela’s new congress leader blasts Maduro
Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress opened its first session of the year Saturday, installing a fresh-faced leader who vowed to take battle against socialist President Nicolás Maduro.
Juan Guaido, 35, assumes the presidency of a National Assembly stripped of power by Maduro, whose government is blamed for leading the once-wealthy oil nation into a political and humanitarian crisis.
Guaido listed opponents of Maduro’s government who have been jailed, driven into exile or killed. He said desperation has forced masses of citizens to flee abroad looking for work. a businessman and lawmaker, has accused Congolese authorities of impeding his campaign. His campaign manager, Pierre Lumbi, on Saturday accused the electoral commission of being “in the process of postponing the publication of the results.”
The commission’s rapporteur, Jean-Pierre Kalamba, said “we will see tomorrow” and that 44 percent of the results had been compiled.
At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world’s mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped. About 40 million people were registered to vote, though at the last minute some 1 million voters were barred as the electoral commission cited a deadly Ebola virus outbreak. Critics said that undermines the election’s credibility.
The vote took place more than two years behind schedule, while a court ruled that Kabila could stay in office until the vote was held. The delay led to sometimes deadly protests as authorities cracked down, and Shadary is now under European Union sanctions for his role in the crackdown as interior minister at the time.