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CARACAS, Venezuela – The Latest on Venezuela's Crisis (all times local):
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó says he knows he runs the risk of being arrested for pushing to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
But a defiant Guaidó said Tuesday that he is undeterred. The 35-year-old opposition leader spoke publicly moments after an assembly loyal to Maduro stripped him of his immunity from prosecution.
The move by the National Constituent Assembly paves the way for his prosecution and potential arrest for supposedly violating the constitution when he declared himself interim president.
Guaidó has backing from more than 50 nations, including the United States, which reject Maduro as illegitimately elected.
Maduro blames Washington for trying to install a puppet government to seize Venezuela's vast oil reserves.
Maduro loyalists stripped Venezuela's Juan Guaidó of immunity Tuesday, paving the way for the opposition leader's prosecution and potential arrest for supposedly violating the constitution when he declared himself interim president.
But whether the government of President Nicolas Maduro will take action against the 35-year-old lawmaker remains unclear. Guaidó has embarked on an international campaign to topple the president's socialist administration amid deepening social unrest in the country plagued by nearly a month of power outages.
He declared himself Venezuela's interim president in January, and vowed to overthrow Maduro. So far, however, Maduro has avoided jailing the man that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump and roughly 50 other nations recognize as Venezuela's legitimate leader.
The Trump administration has threatened the Maduro government with a strong response if Guaido is harmed and Florida Senator Marco Rubio — who has Trump's ear on Venezuela policy — said before the vote that nations recognizing Guaidó as his country's legitimate leader should take any attempt by Maduro's government to "abduct" him as a coup.
"And anyone who cooperates with this should be treated as a coup plotter & dealt with accordingly," Rubio said on Twitter.