By Carlos Camacho.
With 100 votes or 100% of the legislators present, Juan Guaido was ratified in the Presidency of the National Assembly during the installation of the 2020-2021 ordinary sessions period this Sunday, January 5th. However, he could not take his oath in the historic parliament building in downtown Caracas, occupied as it was, by National Guard and pro-Maduro militants.
Guaido had to be sworn in in the semi-abandoned office building of El Nacional, a newspaper whose print edition was forced shut by a legal decision from chavism.
Lawmaker Juan Pablo Guanipa, who had been hiding after threats and harassment from the Maduro regime, was elected as the first vice-president. Guanipa swore for his home state of Zulia, for the 4.5 million exile community and for those who have died fighting for their civil rights. Also elected, as the second vice-president, was Carlos Berrizbeitia, who took an oath to fight for those suffering from hunger and the consequences of the Venezuelan hospital crisis.
Lawmaker Alonso Marquina, from the “Un Nuevo Tiempo” formation, proposed the names of Angelo Palmieri and Jose Luis Cartaya as secretary and undersecretary of Parliament. In his remarks, Marquina qualified Sunday’s session as historical and stressed the work carried out by what he called “the National Assembly of Dignity”, which in spite of all the persecution and bribing attempts decided to partake in Sunday’s session. “In Venezuela, the good people outnumber the bad,” Marquina said.
Marquina also chastised the deputies that accepted bribes to vote against Guaido, whom he compared with Judas Iscariot.
During his acceptance speech, Guaido asks for forgiveness for Sunday’s violence, actions he termed as embarrassing. He criticized the fact that, while the National Guard was preventing lawmakers from entering their workspace, in the J.M. de Los Rios children’s hospital, patients were dying for lack of treatment, and a blackout was taking place in oil-rich Zulia state.
“I ask for forgiveness from the mothers of the children that died in the J.M. de Los Rios, from the 5 million who spent Christmas away from their families, from the Pemon, torn from their lands”, Guaido said, while remembering that, “who decides who enters Parliament or doesn’t is the people of Venezuela”.