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Venezuela lawmakers strip opposition leader of his immunity

Venezuela lawmakers strip opposition leader of his immunity

Mr. Guaido, leader of the Opposition-controlled National Assembly, in January invoked the country's Constitution to assume the interim presidency after declaring President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election a fraud.

Russian Federation has emerged as a staunch backer of Venezuela's leftist President Nicolas Maduro as his nation descended into political turmoil this year.

The president of the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello (C), assembly member Gladys Requena (R) and assembly first vice-president Tania Diaz (L) raise their hands during a session in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2019.

Two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaidó declared himself the country's "interim president".

But a defiant Guaido said Tuesday that he is undeterred.

Guaido dismissed the Maduro-stacked high court and Constituent Assembly as illegitimate and continued his calls for Maduro to step down.

"But the price of oil around the world has been quite low for some time, quite competitive for some time, and we're just going to continue to stand firm and bring even more pressure on this regime", he said.

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The Constituent Assembly voted unanimously to strip Guaido of his immunity from prosecution.

The Trump administration has threatened the Maduro government with a strong response if Guaido is harmed and Florida Senator Marco Rubio - who has Trump's ear on Venezuela policy - said before the vote that nations recognizing Guaido as his country's legitimate leader should take any attempt by Maduro's government to "abduct" him as a coup.

However, on February 22, Guaido traveled to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, which hosts a humanitarian aid distribution center.

The Constituent Assembly was created by Maduro in 2017 in a bid to usurp power from the National Assembly.

Last month, Venezuelan intelligence police raided the home of Mr Guaido's chief of staff in the middle of the night, accusing him of leading a "terrorist cell".

Guaido, the head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, is accused of inciting violence and lying about his personal finances in addition to ignoring a travel ban, which he breached by leaving the country to drum up support overseas for regime change. Maduro's government also barred Guaido from holding public office for 15 years for allegedly hiding or falsifying data in his sworn statement of assets. "The usurpers don't want to test the resolution of the global community", Guaido added. Maduro also controls the courts and armed forces.