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Guaido calls for mass protests in bid to unseat Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

HAPLESS Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido called for his supporters to take to the streets next month as he plans to unseat President Nicolas Maduro in the 2024 election.

He said that peaceful protests would take place across the country in a bid to oust Mr Maduro, although Mr Guaido has led numerous failed coup attempts.

“We are talking about organising ourselves from now, we’re talking about a presidential election,” he said at an event on Sunday evening.

It is not clear whether Mr Guaido intends to be a candidate, but he called on opposition groups to unite as soon as possible to mount a challenge.

Despite him having never been a candidate for the presidency, a number of Western countries, including Britain and the United States, recognise him as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

They claim, without any credible evidence, that the 2018 presidential poll was rigged in favour of Mr Maduro.

But the opposition was trounced in recent regional elections and Mr Guaido’s previous attempts to rally support have fallen flat.

The Washington-backed politician, however, insisted that Mr Maduro’s government “fears the streets, fears organisation of the base” as he urged participation in a demonstration on February 12.

Mr Maduro dismissed Mr Guaido and said that “a true revolution has been unleashed that is more alive and victorious than ever.”

Speaking at a mass rally to mark the anniversary of the 1958 fall of the military junta, he praised the “anti-imperialist spirit” of the Venezuelan people.

During an annual address given recenlty, Mr Maduro said that the economy had grown by more than 4 per cent last year, despite five years of “economic war and blockade” imposed by Washington.

“Venezuela is back on track for economic growth,” he said, as inflation continues to slow while exports have increased by 33 per cent.

Analysts have welcomed the positive signs, although they warn that sustained economic recovery remains difficult while US sanctions remain in place.

Talks between representatives of the Bolivarian government and the Venezuelan opposition stalled last October after the extradition of Colombian businessman Alex Saab to the US on trumped-up money laundering charges.

Mr Maduro remains the overwhelming favourite to win the presidential election.

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