Venezuela's New Head of Assembly Asks Army to Oppose Maduro

Friday, 6 January, 2017 - 11:15

The new president of the Venezuelan National Assembly delivered his first address Thursday, beginning the year with sharp accusations against President Nicolas Maduro’s administration and calling on the army to back the opposition.

"Brothers in uniform of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the challenge is simple,” said opposition deputy Julio Borges before the assembly. "Do you want to be the proud heirs of Simon Bolivar's liberating army, or be remembered as the guardians of Nicolas Maduro?"

Borges was named the new president of the assembly on Thursday despite being in contempt of court, and the body itself has been declared in contempt of the law by President Maduro and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

Since he founded the right-wing Justice First reality TV show similar to Judge Judy, Borges has been a key player in right-wing politics in Venezuela.

In October 2016, Borges led the failed — and constitutionally illegal — initiative to put Maduro on trial, arguing that the democratically-elected president had staged a “coup,” and he has consistently appealed to the Washington-based Organization of American States to intervene in Venezuela.