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15 Jan 2020 | 11:20 AM UTC

Venezuela: Armed civilians assault vehicle carrying opposition politicians in Caracas January 15 /update 6

Armed civilians assault vehicle carrying opposition politicians outside Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas January 15, with no injuries reported; similar incidents possible over the near term amid heightened tensions

security
VEN

Event

Armed civilians reportedly assaulted a vehicle carrying opposition politicians outside the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas on Wednesday, January 15. Four opposition politicians were inside the vehicle at the time of the attack, according to the spokesman for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, as the opposition convoy was headed toward the congress building; no injuries were reported.

Similar incidents are possible in Caracas over the near term amid prevailing heightened political tensions.

Context

The ruling Socialist Party swore in its own candidate, Luis Parra, as the new head of the National Assembly on January 5, as security forces erected a cordon around the building in Caracas, blocking opposition lawmakers from entering and re-electing, as previously expected, Guaidó. Guaidó was reelected in a separate parliamentary session on January 5; prompting concerns over the formation of two separate parliaments competing for legitimacy.

Venezuela is in the midst of a political crisis spurred by President Nicolás Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10, 2019, following 2018's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state.

Advice

Individuals in Venezuela, and in Caracas in particular, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.