CARACAS – Opposition leader Juan Guaidó is vowing to stay in Venezuela and press for an end to President Nicolás Maduro's rule despite threats, while working with the administrations of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and other world leaders to revise sanctions aimed at forcing a transfer in power.
“We must review these mechanisms at the international level to exert pressure on this dictatorship and find a solution,” Guaidó said. “We have to use the tools at our disposal to stop this violation of human rights.”
Guaido talked with The Associated Press on Wednesday at the Caracas home he shares with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. It's a key moment for the opposition that he leads with backing from the United States and dozens of nations.
His coalition boycotted congressional elections on Sunday as fraudulent, handing the National Assembly to Maduro, the only branch of government that had been out of the socialist leader's control. Guaidó had used his position as head of the body to claim presidential powers, challenging Maduro.
Guaidó's coalition is also holding its own referendum which culminates on Saturday. It asks Venezuelans at home and abroad to say whether they wish to end Maduro's rule and hold fresh presidential and legislative elections.
“Maduro's regime wants to annihilate any form of alternative democracy,” Guaidó said.
Maduro, however, celebrated victory in the most recent elections claiming control of the National Assembly, while his political alliance won with a turnout of just 30% of registered voters. That’s less than half the turn out for the 2015 election, which gave control to the opposition.
Maduro said taking the National Assembly back will help him end opposition-led violence in Venezuela’s streets fomented by Guaidó as well deflect crushing international sanctions.