US calls for 'orderly transition' in Venezuela

Around 2.3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015

Around 2.3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015

The United States ramped up its criticism of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Saturday with an explicit call for the formation of a new government in the country.

Maduro was sworn in for his second term, which will last through 2025, on Thursday following his victory in the presidential election last May. In its latest statement, the United States reaffirmed its support for the opposition-controlled but so far toothless National Assembly, whose new president Juan Guaido on Friday called for a mass protest against Maduro and in favor of a "transitional government". Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

The people of Venezuela deserve to live in freedom in a democratic society governed by the rule of law.

Guaido, 35, made the announcement less than a week after being selected to lead Venezuela's National Assembly, vowing to press for transition of power.

"The Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will continue ... to work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country", he said.

This change of attitude takes place after the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs transmitted its disagreement by means of respective notes of protest to the members of the rightwing coalition, this January 9.

"We are very hopeful we can be a force for good to allow the region to come together to deliver that". "It needs to be the people, the military and the global community that lead us to take over", said Guiado, speaking to around a thousand opposition supporters in Caracas. Bolton said "we support the courageous decision" of Guaido's declaration "that Maduro does not legitimately hold the country's presidency".

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The head of the Organization of American States, Secretary-General Luis Almagro, responded quickly, sending out a tweet recognising Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

"His "election" in May 2018 was viewed internationally as not free, fair or credible", the White House said in a statement Friday.

"The constitution gives me the legitimacy to carry out the charge of the presidency over the country to call elections", Guaido said.

"All the countries of the hemisphere that defend democracy unite in a single voice to protect that national assembly, so that the entire world rejects this dictatorship", stated President Duque.

A once wealthy oil nation, Venezuela is gripped by growing crisis of relentless inflation, food shortages and mass migration.

The outrage is not limited to Latin America though as the United States and European Union also condemned Maduro's reelection a year ago.

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