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Bahamas recognizes Venezuela opposition leader as interim president

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2019 file photo, Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, delivers a speech during a public legislative session in Caracas, Venezuela. The head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress declared himself president of Venezuela on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. A Trump administration official and a U.S. congressional aide say U.S. President Donald Trump plans to recognize Guaido as the interim president of the crisis-mired South American country. AP

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised yesterday that The Bahamas was among several Organization of American States (OAS) members to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president amid massive public protests.

Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in a movement against President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela has been facing an economic collapse that has created a humanitarian crisis and caused millions to leave the country.

The protests come weeks after the start of Maduro’s second term in power, with numerous countries disputing his legitimacy.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas wishes to inform that, at a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) held on 24 January 2019 to address the critical ongoing political crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, The Bahamas was among those countries of the organization recognizing Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly, as interim president,” the ministry said in a statement.

“This decision is consistent with The Bahamas’ affirmative voting on previous resolutions and calls for discussions within the OAS regarding the situation in Venezuela, including the 10 January 2019 resolution to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s presidency.

“Venezuela’s constitution includes provisions that call upon the citizenry to disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights.

“In this regard, Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution provides specific circumstances through which the president of the national assembly can assume the role of interim president.

“The government of The Bahamas reiterates and shares its deep concern for the welfare of the people of Venezuela, given the critical economic and social challenges, as well as the migration challenges faced by its neighboring countries.

“Figures from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other international agencies indicate that some 3 million Venezuelans have left their country to seek refuge in neighboring countries in Latin American and the Caribbean.

“The Bahamas maintains its long-standing position of respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law and commits its support to the people of Venezuela for the restoration of representative democracy through a peaceful and orderly process.”

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