Published: Fri, February 07, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump Welcomes Venezuelan Opposition Leader Guaido to the White House

Trump Welcomes Venezuelan Opposition Leader Guaido to the White House

In a further rebuke to Maduro, the White House invited self-proclaimed "Interim President" Juan Guaido to attend the president's speech.

Trump's forceful words come after a period of relative reticence on Venezuela that triggered commentary on whether he was putting the crisis on the backburner.

Despite Washington's focus on impeachment, which stemmed from Trump's pressure on Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Guaido appeared buoyed by the USA support. Maduro remains in control despite efforts to force him from office.

Trump - who some observers had thought was no longer interested in Venezuela - on Tuesday forcefully called for Maduro's ouster, during his annual State of the Union address to Congress. On behalf of millions of Venezuelans who continue to stand and fight: "Thank you, people of the USA", Guaido tweeted.

US Vice President Mike Pence then met with their family members last April.

He was quickly recognized by more than 50 countries, including the United States.

Maduro's reelection was marred by widely reported irregularities.

As head of the National Assembly, Guaido proclaimed himself acting president in January 2019 after the legislature declared Maduro a "usurper" who was re-elected through fraud.

For Trump, however, Venezuela has also become a political byword for socialism as he attacks the rival Democratic Party for proposed reforms such as expanding health care coverage. "But Maduro's grip on tyranny will be smashed and broken".

Foreign minister of Venezuela Jorge Arreaza called US President Donald Trump an "arrogant charlatan" and denounced the "interventionist rhetoric" in his State of the Union speech.

Guaido and Trump planned to discuss how the US can work with the opposition leader to "expedite a democratic transition in Venezuela that will end the ongoing crisis".

"If the policy was working, Juan Guaido wouldn't be in the balcony here".

"He'd be sitting in the president's palace, or at least waging a fight to win".

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