CARACAS.- The speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, recognized as the country’s interim president by more than 50 countries, said this Saturday that the Nicolas Maduro government is persecuting his inner circle, after the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) summoned eleven of his closest collaborators.
«The dictatorship is defeated, persecution is all it has left,» a hoarse Guaido told hundreds of his followers at a rally in Caracas as he spoke of the recent detention – reported Friday – of opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro, who had already spent time behind bars during the 17 months between January 2017 and June 2018.
«Issued by chance on the same day were notifications that eleven people were being investigated by Sebin, that they must appear before Sebin, and just by chance, all of them are my associates,» the opposition leader added from a platform at the center of an east Caracas plaza.
He also said that among those summoned were his assistant and right-hand man Roberto Marrero, as well as his attorney and other people from the National Assembly that form part of his inner circle.
According to Guaido, Maduro ordered the arrests because he is «full of fear at what will happen on May 1,» when the opposition will be marching all over the country to demand «an end to the usurpation,» which they say the Chavista president is guilty of, as well as the establishment of an interim government that will call «free elections.»
«It’s evident that the (Maduro) regime is in a panic about what we’re doing,» he said.
Venezuela has been going through a time of high political tension since last January, when Maduro was sworn-in for another term that is not recognized either by the opposition or a large part of the international community, and in response, Guaido proclaimed an interim government with the backing of more than 50 countries.
Guaido took that decision based on his interpretation of several articles of the Constitution and after determining that Maduro «usurped» the presidency, since he won an election denounced as «fraudulent» and in which the opposition did not participate.