Something ominous happened in Venezuela yesterday and it could have immediate implications for not only that country, but the rest of the world. The National Assembly was holding a meeting to elect their leadership for the final year of the congress’ current five-year term. But when Assembly Leader (and self-proclaimed interim president of the country) Juan Guaido and many of his supporters showed up for work, they were blocked from entering the palace by armed members of the National Guard bearing riot shields. Meanwhile, Assembly members who support dictator Nicolas Maduro were inside electing a new leader from the Socialist Party. (Associated Press)
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó was violently blocked Sunday from presiding over a special session of congress where rivals proclaimed a substitute leader — moves opposition officials condemned as a hijacking of the country’s last democratic institution.
Hours later, however, a majority of congress members held an emergency meeting at an opposition newspaper office and voted to reelect Guaidó as their leader.
Guaidó — whose legal challenge to the socialist government has been based on his role as head of congress — headed a small group of lawmakers trying to access the neoclassical palace where the opposition-controlled National Assembly was set to elect its leader.
This chaotic scene quickly turned into a quagmire. According to local news reports, Guaido and his supporters attempted to climb the fences, with the interim president shredding his business suit in the process. The thugs from Maduro’s National Guard still managed to prevent their entry. While the vote was going on inside the palace, the opposition retreated to the offices of a local newspaper and held their own election, once again selecting Guaido.