CARACAS – Despite Venezuela's Bolivarian Intelligence Service agents' brief detention Sunday, the new leader of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's opposition is asking Venezuelans to be brave and join his efforts.
Juan Guaido, an engineer who was elected to the National Assembly in 2015 and is now its president, was briefly in custody after agents removed him from a vehicle while he was on his way to a townhall.
While Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, considers Guaido Venezuela's interim president, Maduro's constitutional assembly ordered an investigation against him for treason.
"The constitution gives me the legitimacy to carry out the charge of the presidency over the country to call elections, but I need backing from the citizens to make it a reality," Guaido said.
During a street rally Friday in Caracas, Guaido announced Maduro's opposition is coordinating a peaceful street protest Jan. 23, the anniversary of the 1958 Venezuelan coup d'état that overthrew dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez. Social media activists are promoting the effort under "#23E."
Guaido, the 35-year-old father of a girl, took the helm of the Popular Will party’s national board after the eight last leaders were forced to leave Venezuela. Guaido's mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, remains under house arrest, but the two communicate regularly.
Maduro took the presidential oath of office Thursday to start serving his second six-year term, which the United States and some of its allies considered illegitimate.