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Venezuela bars puppet opposition leader Guaido from holding office for 15 years

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has stripped opposition leader Juan Guaido of the right to hold public office for 15 years.


The move was announced by Auditor General Elvis Amoroso on state television on Thursday.

Amoroso said his office decided to ban Guaido from “all elected public office for the maximum duration under the law.”

Guaido, who is also the country’s parliament speaker, has falsified information in his national sworn statement and committed irregularities in his financial records, Amoroso said.

The opposition leader has responded to the decree, saying he will continue his campaign to oust Maduro.

The announcement shows that the row is raging on between the government and the opposition, which has the backing of the United States and many other Western countries.

In January, the US took the lead in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s president after the head of the opposition-ruled Congress named himself the country’s interim chief executive.

Washington has been pressuring other countries into following suit and has not ruled out using the military option to oust the government of Maduro.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday met with Guaido’s wife at the Oval Office of the White House.

In the meeting, Trump pointed the finger at Moscow, warning “Russia has to get out,” of the crisis-hit Venezuela.

The president was referring to the arrival of two Russian planes in Venezuela in recent days. Russia has confirmed and defended sending military experts to Venezuela, saying the dispatch is based on a military-technical cooperation agreement signed by the two countries in 2001.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the roughly 100 servicemen Moscow sent to Venezuela on Saturday would remain in the Latin American country “for as long as needed.”

“The presence of Russian specialists on Venezuelan territory is regulated by an agreement between the Russian and Venezuelan governments on military and technical cooperation that was signed in May 2001,” Zakharova said, adding, “Neither Russia nor Venezuela are provinces of the United States.”

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