Brazil's Bolsonaro vows order after Guaido backers enter Venezuelan embassy

By Sergio Moraes BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his government was working to avoid violence after supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido gained access to the country's embassy in Brasilia on Wednesday. The move led to a standoff with backers of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and scuffles outside the embassy, creating a diplomatic embarrassment as the BRICS summit of major emerging economies kicked off in the Brazilian capital.

Reuters November 14, 2019 04:13:11 IST
Brazil's Bolsonaro vows order after Guaido backers enter Venezuelan embassy

Brazils Bolsonaro vows order after Guaido backers enter Venezuelan embassy

By Sergio Moraes

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his government was working to avoid violence after supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido gained access to the country's embassy in Brasilia on Wednesday.

The move led to a standoff with backers of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and scuffles outside the embassy, creating a diplomatic embarrassment as the BRICS summit of major emerging economies kicked off in the Brazilian capital.

Tensions at the embassy highlight the stark differences between Bolsonaro, who has recognised Guaido as Venezuela's leader, and Maduro's Chinese and Russian allies, who are joining presidents from India and South Africa in Brasilia this week.

Venezuelan embassies around the world have become flash points for the competing claims of Guaido, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly, and Maduro, a socialist who took over from late President Hugo Chavez in 2013.

Earlier this year, Guaido invoked constitutional provisions to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro's re-election last year was fraudulent. He has since been recognised by most Western nations as the rightful leader of Venezuela.

An occupation by protesters at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington in May resulted in arrests before the building was returned to Guaido's representatives, who are recognised by the United States.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the embassy in Brasilia had been "invaded by force at dawn" and said on Twitter that Brazil should respect the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Guaido's envoy in Brazil, María Teresa Belandria Expósito, said in a statement that her personnel had gained access when a group of embassy workers opened the doors voluntarily.

Bolsonaro repudiated "the interference of external actors" in a Twitter post about the incident, without specifying to whom he was referring. He gave assurances that public order would be maintained in accordance with the Vienna Convention.

The right-wing Brazilian president's security advisors said in a statement he had not "incentivised the invasion of the Venezuelan embassy."

Brazilian diplomats and police officers responsible for the safety of embassies in Brasilia were dispatched to the scene, according to Brazil's Foreign Ministry.

Crowds of Brazilians outside the embassy supporting the rival claims of Maduro and Guaido traded insults and some came to blows before police could separate them, according to a Reuters witness.

(Reporting by Sergio Moraes; Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle and Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Paul Simao)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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