Venezuela's congress names new leader, vows to battle Maduro

Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress has opened its first session of the year, installing a fresh-faced leader who struck a defiant tone toward socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

In its first act, the National Assembly on Saturday named 35-year-old Juan Guaido as its leader.

He takes over a congress stripped of power by Maduro, whose government is blamed for leading the once-wealthy oil nation into a historic political and humanitarian crisis.

In his address to congress, Guaido called Maduro a dictator, saying Venezuela is living a dark but transitional moment of its history.

Congress opens days before Maduro's inauguration to a second term widely condemned as illegitimate.

A dozen Latin American countries have rejected Maduro, urging him to hand power over to the congress until a valid president is elected and democracy restored.