Two men, who each see themselves as Venezuela’s sole president, delivered dual speeches in Caracas.
The global community is split on whether to back President Nicolas Maduro or National Assembly leader Juan Guaido. CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs reported on the tense, bitter divisions in Venezuela.
He had not been seen for 48 hours, since he declared himself president on Wednesday. But then on Friday, Juan Guaido, the National Assembly President, appeared at a Caracas square.
He told the crowd that, yes, he is the leader of the country, and the campaign to convince all Venezuelans of that, will continue. “So, are you accompanying us this Saturday and Sunday brothers? To prepare the major demonstration of next week. Of course, we are going back to the street,” Guaido said to a cheering a crowd of supporters.
At the very same time, President Nicolas Maduro began a press conference. He said Guaido had been trained by the United States and was attempting a coup. Yet, he also offered to meet his rival. “I am committed to the national dialogue. Today, tomorrow and always I’ll be committed and ready to go personally wherever it’s necessary,” Maduro said.
Maduro also repeated his demand that U.S. diplomats leave Venezuela by Sunday. But the U.S. said it will not take orders from a government it does not recognize; and is only sending non-essential staff home.
It had been a momental few days in Venezuela, following Guaido’s dramatic declaration on Wednesday that he was assuming the presidency. He was now regarded as President by the United States, and all the major economies in South America.
But Maduro still enjoyed the support of significant world powers, including Russia and China. Much now depends on the Venezuelan army. Its leadership had repeated that it remains loyal to Maduro.