Caracas, 3 April 2019 (MIA) – Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Tuesday challenged authorities to arrest him after the Constituent Assembly loyal to President Nicolas Maduro stripped him of his parliamentary immunity.
“If the regime dares to kidnap me and carry out a coup, we will respond forcefully,” Guaido tweeted after Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello announced the chamber’s decision.
“We have already spoken with world leaders. The usurpers don’t want to test the resolution of the international community,” Guaido added.
The Constituent Assembly was created by Maduro in 2017 in a bid to usurp power from the National Assembly.
“[Guaido’s prosecution] is officially authorized,” Cabello, who is also Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s right-hand man, said following the Constituent Assembly vote.
Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, has been engaged in a power struggle with Maduro since January, when he declared himself president and was immediately recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries.
The Constituent Assembly was created by Maduro in 2017 in a bid to usurp power from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Flouting a travel ban imposed by the country’s Supreme Court, Guaido embarked on a tour of Latin American countries in February in a bid to rally support for his leadership.
Despite threats to arrest him on his return in early March, he was allowed to pass through Caracas airport and go free.
On Monday, Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno said he had referred the matter of Guaido’s immunity to the the Constituent Assembly and Attorney General Tarek William Saab.
Maduro, who was re-elected last year in a disputed election, has presided over a complete economic collapse and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
The country has also suffered a series of blackouts in recent weeks, which have left some parts without running water and caused further food and medicine shortages.