20:36 GMT02 July 2020
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    A day after the opposition-run Venezuelan National Assembly adopted a statement declaring Maduro a usurper, Guaido proclaimed himself the country's interim president at a mass rally in Caracas.

    A strong external pressure had been exerted on the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly Juan Guaido before he self-proclaimed his presidency, Russian envoy in Caracas Vladimir Zaemsky told Sputnik.

    "I was receiving data that suggested Guaido was under severe pressure both on 5 January, when he was elected as head of a new parliament, and on 10 January, when Nicolas Maduro took office [as president of Venezuela] He was forced to take this step. Guaido was really reluctant to do it, but, it seems that he was ultimately overpowered," Zaemsky pointed out.

    Juan Guaido’s representatives haven’t been in contact with the Russian embassy during the political crisis, the ambassador added.

    Over the past few days, Venezuela has been engulfed in massive anti-government protests, which resulted Tuesday in the opposition-run Venezuelan National Assembly adopting a statement that branded Maduro a usurper.

    On Wednesday, Juan Guaido, the new head of the National Assembly proclaimed himself the country's interim president at a mass rally in Caracas. Apart from the US, his new position has been recognized to date by Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Columbia, Costa-Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.

    READ MORE: Skirmishes Across Venezuela as US, Allies Endorse Presumptive President Guaido

    anti-government protests, protests, interim government, presidency, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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