Venezuela's Guaido slams 'dismantling' of legislature after deputy's arrest

Telegram från AFP / Omni
09 maj 2019, 20.19

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Thursday accused President Nicolas Maduro's government of "dismantling" the National Assembly legislature he heads following the arrest of his deputy Edgar Zambrano.

"If we can talk about a coup d'etat in Venezuela, here it is: the dismantling of the national parliament," Guaido told a news conference, accusing Maduro's regime of "state terrorism."

On Wednesday night, Zambrano was arrested by Maduro's secret services for supporting a failed April 30 uprising organized by Guaido.

National Assembly speaker Guaido also called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.

Venezuela's top court has indicted 10 opposition deputies, including Zambrano, for treason and conspiracy over their backing for Guaido's uprising, in which around 30 members of the armed forces joined him in revolt.

Two others, Richard Blanco and Mariela Magallanes, have sought refuge in the Argentine and Italian embassies in Caracas, respectively.

The others are in hiding, except for Henry Ramos Allup, who has said he is prepared to go to jail.

"To make themselves look strong, to give the impression of a control they don't have, what is the only tool they've used for years?" Guaido said about Maduro's government.

"Terror, state terrorism," said Guaido, whose own parliamentary immunity has been stripped by the Supreme Court.

"We're not going to stop, we're going to stay in the streets. This is a process that will end with Venezuela's liberty."

Venezuela has been embroiled in a political crisis since January when Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro's authority.

He was quickly recognized by more than 50 countries but has been unable to dislodge Maduro, whom he has branded a usurper over the president's re-election last year in polls widely seen as fraudulent.