Venezuela’s new congress leader blasts Maduro

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - News -

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.

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