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Venezuela National Assembly vote is 'a new step in the deterioration of the crisis' says EU

Opposition leader Juan Guaido attempting to enter National Assembly building
Opposition leader Juan Guaido attempting to enter National Assembly building Copyright  ZZDNC via AP
Copyright  ZZDNC via AP
By Seana DavisAssociated Press
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Juan Guaido blocked from Venezuela National Assembly vote | #TheCube


Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó was blocked from entering the National Assembly building in Caracas on Sunday, in a session that saw a vote for the leader of the institution.

In chaotic scenes outside the National Assembly building, Guaidó and other opposition politicians attempted to climb the fence to make it through to the Assembly vote - only to be blocked by members of the National Guard. 

Meanwhile inside, Luis Parra was named Speaker of the Assembly.

Members of the Venezuelan opposition denounced the blockage a “parliamentary coup d’état” and said the election of Parra had been done with no quorum.

Parra is one of a group of lawmakers who broke away from Guaidó who have been expelled from their parties for alleged involvement in a corruption scandal. 

Later in the evening, legislators met at a newspaper office where 100 out of 167 backed Guaidó as leader of the National Assembly.

Events around National Assembly election "not acceptable" says EU

The blocking of legislators for the National Assembly vote was condemned by numerous leaders.

The spokesperson for external affairs in the European Union hailed it "unacceptable". In a statement, Peter Stano said: "Respecting democratic institutions and principles and upholding the rule of law are essential conditions to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis in Venezuela for the benefit of its people."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed his support for Juan Guaido via Twitter, with the US viewing Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela. Pompeo called for "free and fair elections" to end the political deadlock.

El Salvador issued a statement acknowledging Juan Guaido as Speaker of the National Assembly.

The Foreign Minister of Argentina, Felipe Solá also issued a statement via Twitter, calling for the Assembly to "elect its president with full legitimacy".

Foreign Minister of Argentina calls for Venezuela's National Assembly to elect leader with "full legitimacy".

Internet outage

During the vote, the internet was restricted for a period of 2 and a half hours, according to Netblocks who monitors internet connectivity.

They noted a cut in social media access to platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Messenger by the state-run provider CANTV.

Cutting the internet during times of political tension has been a common theme within Venezuela.

This comes following a year of political upheaval in the country. Juan Guaidó was declared interim president by the National Assembly following the 2018 election which saw Nicolas Maduro sworn in for a second term, with the Assembly denouncing Maduro's re-election as a fraud.

Seana Davis in The Cube, Euronews' social media news desk, details more.

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