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National Assembly deputy 'kidnapped' by Maduro regime, says Venezuela's opposition leader

In January, leader of the opposition Juan Guaido declared himself to be the country’s president.

Image: DPA/PA Images

A SENIOR LEADER in the opposition-run National Assembly of Venezuela has been arrested by intelligence officers following a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. 

The head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido – who is recognised as the country’s leader by more than 50 countries – said his deputy, Edgar Zambrano, was “kidnapped” under Nicolas Maduro’s orders. 

“We warn the people of Venezuela and the international community, the regime has kidnapped the first vice-president,” Guaido said. 

“They are trying to destroy the power representing all Venezuelans but they will not achieve it.”

In January, Guaido announced himself as president of the country after claiming last year’s election of Maduro was not a legitimate one, earning support from other countries including the US. 

Others, including Russia and China, however, have backed Maduro as president. 

The US and several Latin American states criticised Zambrano’s arrest. 

In a post on the now-closed US embassy in Caracas, Washington called the detention “illegal and inexcusablem,” warning there would be “consequences” to follow. 

Early Thursday US President Donald Trump said he was “discussing the terrible abuses by Maduro”.

Trump did not mention Zambrano but said the US will stand with the people of Venezuela “for however long it takes”.

Along with the US, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru protested his arrest.

Last week, a call from Guaido for public protest lead to rioting on the streets of the capital, leaving a number of people dead and others injured. 

Venezuela has suffered five years of recession that has seen more than 2.7 million people flee poverty, hyperinflation, food shortages and insecurity since 2015, according to United Nations figures.

On Wednesday Maduro warned of a possible “military escalation” with neighboring Colombia — which recognizes Guaido as interim president — after Bogota accused Caracas of sheltering leftist guerrillas on its territory.

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