Venezuela’s Maduro and Guaido Duel in Simultaneous Broadcasts

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuelans were able to choose which president to tune into on Friday.

For the first time both President Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly who swore himself in as the leader of Venezuela citing a constitutional rupture, spoke in dueling press conferences.

Guaido spoke in front of a rally of supporters in the Chacao neighborhood in the capital Caracas and took questions from local and international media outlets. With Maduro’s regime controlling the airwaves, Guaido’s speech was broadcast live on YouTube and other streaming platforms.

Maduro, speaking from the presidential palace in front of press, military and government officials, broadcast his comments across all radio and television airwaves and channels, showcasing his total control over the state apparatus despite Guaido’s claims to legitimacy.

While Guaido’s rally was full of people cheering, singing and clapping, Maduro’s event was somber and serious. Maduro was referred to as the “usurper” by Guaido, while Guaido was referred to as the “lawmaker” by Maduro.

Venezuela, already reeling from a historic economic collapse that has seen the economy contract for five consecutive years while annual inflation accelerates to more than 300,000 percent, is in the depths of a constitutional crisis and battle for the streets and military support. The U.S., Brazil and dozens of other countries are recognizing Guaido as the leader of Venezuela in a bid to force change that leads to free and fair elections while Maduro is being backed still by allies like China, Russia, Turkey and Cuba.

Here’s what they had to say:

GUAIDO

  • Venezuela in talks with countries to receive humanitarian aid
  • Interim government working to protect Venezuelan assets abroad
  • Venezuela must purge Cubans from armed forces
  • U.S. diplomats should stay in Venezuela
  • Russian, Chinese diplomats free to stay in Venezuela
  • Next steps include more street rallies and call for elections
  • Transition government ready to name cabinet, Citgo board
  • Interim government may send representative to IDB soon
  • European Union will take stronger position toward situation in Venezuela
  • Oil production will be increased

MADURO

  • Venezuela will defeat coup attempt
  • U.S. is behind opposition’s actions
  • Guaido asked for a meeting, would be willing to talk
  • Government committed to political dialogue
  • Expects U.S. diplomats to leave the country as ordered
  • Venezuela will maintain oil exports to the U.S., broke diplomatic not trade ties
  • Venezuela can divert oil exports away from U.S. if needed
  • Citgo is state property, will be defended
  • Russia offering full support in telecom, gas, defense

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