Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party swore in its own candidate, Luis Parra, as the new head of the National Assembly on Sunday, January 5, as security forces erected a cordon around the building in Caracas, blocking opposition lawmakers from entering and reelecting, as previously expected, opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Opposition lawmakers claimed the action amounted to a "parliamentary coup" aimed at consolidating President Nicolas Maduro's executive power and sidelining Guaidó by undermining his legitimacy. Guaidó was reelected in a separate parliamentary session held at the headquarters of El Nacional, a local newspaper, on Sunday; the move could result in the formation of two separate parliaments competing for legitimacy.
Related demonstrations are possible in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities over the coming days. A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected near protest sites.
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.
Individuals in Venezuela 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.