Image copyright AFP Image caption Juan Guaidó is the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly The head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament was briefly detained days after saying he was ready to assume the country’s presidency.A video posted on social media appears to show the moment intelligence agents intercept Juan Guaidó’s car in a busy road north…
The head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament was briefly detained days after saying he was ready to assume the country’s presidency.
A video posted on social media appears to show the moment intelligence agents intercept Juan Guaidó’s car in a busy road north of the capital, Caracas.
Two journalists detained while covering the case have also been released.
President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term on Thursday. The opposition calls him illegitimate.
Mr Guaidó – who said on Friday he was ready to assume the Venezuelan presidency on an interim basis – was detained on his way to a political rally in the northern state of Vargas, opposition members said.
His wife, Fabiana Rosales, who announced the detention on Twitter, and daughter were travelling with him, according to local media reports.
The detained journalists have been named as Beatriz Adrián, from Colombia’s Caracol television, and Osmary Hernández, who works for CNN’s Spanish news channel.
What’s happening in Venezuela?
Mr Guaidó is the speaker of the National Assembly, which has been stripped of its powers since Mr Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party lost control of it in 2016.
Mr Maduro dismissed his comments as a “show”. His re-election in May last year was marred by an opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging.
Since taking office Mr Maduro has been condemned at home and abroad for alleged human rights abuses and for his handling of the economy, which is in a state of near-collapse.
Venezuela is one of the world’s largest oil producers but its overreliance on the product, which accounts for about 95% of its export earnings, left the country vulnerable when prices dropped in 2014.
As a result, the cost of imported goods like food and medicine has risen, and currency inflation has skyrocketed.
The government is also increasingly struggling to get credit after it defaulted on some of its government bonds. In response, the government has printed more money, devaluing the currency further.
Mr Maduro was first elected in 2013, succeeding Hugo Chávez who died of cancer after governing for 14 years.