CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress has opened its first session of the year, installing a fresh-faced leader who struck a defiant tone toward socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
In its first act, the National Assembly on Saturday named 35-year-old Juan Guaido as its leader.
He takes over a congress stripped of power by Maduro, whose government is blamed for leading the once-wealthy oil nation into a historic political and humanitarian crisis.
In his address to congress, Guaido called Maduro a dictator, saying Venezuela is living a dark but transitional moment of its history.
Congress opens days before Maduro’s inauguration to a second term widely condemned as illegitimate.
A dozen Latin American countries have rejected Maduro, urging him to hand power over to the congress until a valid president is elected and democracy restored.
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