Venezuela's government said Thursday that it has barred opposition leader Juan Guaidó from public office for 15 years as he intensifies his U.S.-backed effort to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.
The government's move was announced by state comptroller Elvis Amoroso, who cited "inconsistencies in [Guaidó's] personal financial disclosures and a spending record that did not match his level of income," according to Reuters. The 15-year punishment is the maximum permitted by law.
Guaidó was quick to denounce the government's attempt to ban him from office.
"We're going to continue in the streets," Guaidó said on state television after Amoroso's announcement.
As CNBC reported Wednesday, Guaidó is gearing up for "a mass mobilization—called 'Operation Freedom'—in a bid to force Maduro to step down."
Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela in January, and the United States quickly became the first country to recognize him. Major European nations—including France, Germany, and the U.K.—shortly followed the U.S. in recognizing Guaidó.
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As Common Dreams reported in January, Vice President Mike Pence called Guaidó the night before the announcement and promised that the Trump administration would back him if he attempted to seize power.
National security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were also reportedly involved in behind-the-scenes orchestration with Guaidó.
Not surprisingly, Rubio on Thursday used news of Guaidó's ban from public office to charge Maduro with launching a "massive wave of targeted repression."
Yesterday I warned that #MaduroRegime about to launch massive wave of targeted repression against key leaders. This action is part of it. @jguaido is President of the National Assembly. This illegitimate ruling designed to create a pretext to remove himhttps://t.co/nVdWMdAiqv
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 28, 2019