02:32 GMT29 January 2020
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    Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, instituted a “parallel” parliament in Caracas Tuesday, a move that would have landed anyone in a Western democracy in jail, Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, told Sputnik.

    Guaido accused police of not allowing him to enter the National Assembly building in downtown Caracas on Sunday, calling their move “unprecedented” and a “parliamentary coup.” The National Assembly was being led by its new president, Luis Parra, whose election Guaido and his allies have called illegitimate, claiming the session was not attended by the minimum required number of lawmakers.

    Koerner told Sputnik that in the year since Guaido declared himself the interim president and President Nicolas Maduro to be illegitimate, his support has steadily waned, shedding allies with each new failed coup d’etat.

    “So, what you have basically as of last year is a split, where a group led by [Venezuelan opposition lawmaker] Jose Brito came out and said, ‘We are not going to support Guaido anymore.’ And he nominated a competing list for the leadership of parliament on Sunday, which apparently Guaido wasn’t able to secure the votes for his list to win the election, and as a result, he didn’t even bother to enter the parliament,”  Koerner told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker on Thursday.

    “He was accompanying other deputies whose constitutional immunity had been revoked for alleged criminal offenses, and they were not allowed in, but he basically only went in with them, and as a result he only stayed outside,” Koerner said.

    After Parra’s parliamentary session was over, Guaido and his allies forced their way into the building, and Guaido began a parliamentary session of his own, during which he was sworn in as president of the National Assembly. According to a report by VenezuelAnalysis.com, Guaido didn’t appear to have the required 84 deputies that must be present, but the parallel vote establishing him as the chamber’s leader has been recognized by the US.

    ​In other words, not only has Guaido declared himself to be interim president of the country, he’s also declared himself to be the president of its legislature.

    “In any normal country, in any Western democracy, Juan Guaido would be in jail right now,” Koerner noted.

    According to Koerner, Guaido has failed to mobilize people in Venezuela.

    “He’s been unable to mobilize more than 1,000 or a few thousand people since April of last year. He has lost the vast majority of support within the opposition ranks, and that is extremely significant, to the point that the Miami Herald, which is no friend of Nicolas Maduro, just published a piece saying that Guaido’s popularity has sunk to the level of Nicolas Maduro,” he noted.

    “Politically, things are moving in a direction where you might see some kind of process of reconciliation, at least between certain opposition segments and certain elite Chavista segments,” Koerner said.

    The US government has also suggested that it is mulling over more economic sanctions on Venezuela, but Koerner pointed out that previous sanctions haven’t been able to destabilize the government.

    “The US sanctions against Venezuela always had at their premise that the Maduro government would fall relatively quickly, if not within a week, and that evidently hasn’t occurred. Rather, in many ways the sanctions have strengthened the government in that it can now point to them [Guaido and his allies] as the fundamental factor in preventing Venezuela’s economic recovery,” he noted.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, Juan Guaido
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