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President Trump has formally recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly (the legislature) as president of Venezuela. This comes after a day of widespread anti-government protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

The statement was issued by Trump just minutes after Guaidó formally 'swore' himself in as president, pledging to restore democracy to the South American nation.

Maduro remains steadfast in the presidency, refusing to step down in the face of the mass protests and international refusal to recognize his presidency as legitimate, mainly from the United States, Canada an a dozen Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, amongst others.

According to Article 333 of Venezuela's constitution, after today's unprecedented events, elections should be held for a new president, if the government complies. But there is no indication that will happen without further action to persuade Maduro to resign.

The situation is unprecedented and sets a devastating example for democracy and sovereignty in Latin America and around the world. It also shows that sadly, many Latin American countries still look to Washington for legitimacy and approval.