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Pence calls Guaido Venezuela’s only ‘legitimate’ president

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday asserted the Trump administration’s continued support for Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim president of Venezuela.

In a brief phone call with the Venezuelan opposition leader, Pence stressed that Guaidó was the “only legitimate president” of Venezuela, a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal.

The two men have spoken previously amid Guaidó’s efforts to oust Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, from power. Pence and Guaidó previously spoke last year when Guaidó, then head of the country’s legislature, declared himself the interim president.

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Dozens of countries including the U.S. have formally recognized Guaidó as the country’s official leader, but Maduro maintains power in the country with support from the country’s military and police forces, as well as members of the country’s legislature.

“The U.S. government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last year of Guaidó’s bid for the presidency.

Guaidó and other lawmakers were prevented from entering the country’s National Assembly on Monday after other lawmakers including some supporting Maduro elected Luis Parra as the new head of the legislative body.

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