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Venezuela crisis: Guaidó banned from office for 15 years

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaidó (R), greets supporters, next to his Chief of Staff Roberto Marrero

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Juan Guaidó (R) at a rally with his chief of staff Roberto Marrero earlier this month

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó will be barred from holding further public office for 15 years, the maximum allowed by law, the state financial controller has announced.

Comptroller Elvis Amoroso said Mr Guaidó’s personal financial statements contained inconsistencies.

He added that Mr Guaidó had a level of spending that did not match his income.

Mr Guaidó, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president in January.

He made the move after declaring President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last May illegitimate.

The BBC’s Will Grant in the Venezuelan capital Caracas says the move, which has been used in the past against high-profile opponents of President Maduro, would come into force if Mr Guaidó tried to stand for office after the end of his current term in the National Assembly.

Our correspondent adds that as Mr Guaidó does not consider Mr Maduro the legitimate power in the country, he is unlikely to recognise or comply with the ruling.

Last week, Mr Guaidó’s chief of staff Roberto Marrero, 49, was accused of planning “acts of sabotage” against officials after being arrested.

Venezuela’s Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said that “weapons and foreign currency” were found by intelligence services during a raid on his home.

Mr Guaidó said the security forces had committed an “illegal and unconstitutional” act, adding that he believed the items allegedly found at Mr Marrero’s home had been planted there.

With the backing of the Trump administration, Mr Guaidó has been leading calls for Mr Maduro to stand down as president as discontent with his socialist regime grows.

Mr Marrero’s arrest has provoked international condemnation, with the US, the European Union and Latin American nations all demanding his immediate release.

Rival claims

Mr Guaidó and Mr Maduro each claim to be the constitutional president of Venezuela.

Shortly after Mr Guaidó declared himself interim leader, his assets were frozen and the Supreme Court, dominated by government loyalists, placed a travel ban on him.

Media captionJuan Guaidó speaking to the BBC earlier this month: “We want genuinely free elections”

But the 35-year-old opposition leader defied that ban last month when he toured Latin American countries to garner support.

Mr Guaidó has continued to call for President Maduro to step aside and has urged the security forces, which have mainly been loyal to the government, to switch sides.

Last week, the chief prosecutor said it had asked the Supreme Court to investigate Mr Guaidó for allegedly sabotaging the country’s electrical system in the wake of this month’s power cuts.

Mr Guaidó has been recognised as leader by more than 50 countries, including most in Latin America and the US. Mr Maduro, who still has the support of China and Russia, accuses the opposition of being part of a US-orchestrated coup.

Venezuela crisis: Guaidó banned from office for 15 years

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