Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, bolstered by a Russian military deployment infuriating the US, on Thursday announced a ban on Washington-backed self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido holding public office.
But National Assembly legislature speaker Guaido immediately shot back that the 15-year prohibition announced on state television by Maduro’s Auditor General Elvis Amoroso was invalid.
“He is not auditor general…. The legitimate congress is the only one with power to designate an auditor general,” he said.
The announcement also prompted a withering response from Washington, where State Department spokesman Robert Palladino described the move in a brief remark as “ridiculous.”
It was the latest scuffle between Maduro and Guaido, who lay rival claims to be the legitimate leader of the oil-producing South American nation of 30 million people.
The competition has been escalated into a geopolitical struggle, drawing in the US and its allies which support Guaido, and Russia, Cuba and China backing Maduro.