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Florida Republicans call on Trump to support Venezuelan opposition

By Daniel Uria
Florida Republicans call on Trump to support Venezuelan opposition
A delegation of Florida Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Mario Rafael Diaz-Balart,and Sen. Rick Scott visited the White House Tuesday to discuss Venezuela's leadership. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A delegation of Florida Republicans visited the White House Tuesday to discuss tension in Venezuela over the country's leadership.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Gov. Ron DeSantis were called to a meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as Venezuela prepares for a large demonstration by supporters of newly elected president of the National Assembly Juan Guaido against President Nicolas Maduro.

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Rubio said the delegation encouraged President Trump to uphold the stance that Maduro's leadership is illegitimate and recognize Guaido as president.

"Venezuela has a constitution. The guy who claims to be president now was not elected under that constitution and under their constitution, when there's a vacancy in the presidency, the rightful president is the president of the national assembly, pending a new election," he said.

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Pence released a video Tuesday supporting Guaido and the protesters and calling Maduro a "dictator."

"We say to all the good people of Venezuela 'estamos con ustedes,' we are with you, we stand with you and we will stay with you until democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of libertad," he said.

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The vice president also said the U.S. would only recognize the authority of congress, which is controlled by the current opposition party.

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Pence previously spoke to Guaido by telephone last week to "recognize his courageous leadership."

Maduro was sworn in for a second term as president on Jan. 10, as the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, or OAS, agreed "to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's new term."

The opposition-led National Assembly has clashed with the pro-Maduro Constituent Assembly, which was elected in 2017, as well as Venezuelan military leaders have also supported Maduro.

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The United States, European Union, Organization of American States and several Latin American countries have not recognized the legitimacy of Maduro's second term, while China, Russia and Mexico have.

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