Brazil, US back Guaido as Venezuela's interim president

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazil and the United States led several regional governments in backing the head of Venezuela's opposition-controlled parliament after he declared himself interim president Wednesday in open defiance of Nicolas Maduro.

"Brazil recognizes Mr Juan Guiado as Venezuela's interim president," Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted.

"Brazil will support politically and economically the process of transition so that democracy and social peace return to Venezuela," he wrote.

He sent the post from the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where he and other Latin American leaders were attending the World Economic Forum.

Trump said in a separate statement the Guaido's National Assembly was "the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people."

Canada, Colombia and Peru also gave their backing to Guaido, dramatically raising the stakes over Venezuela. The oil-rich nation that has become deeply impoverished under Maduro, who is allied with Russia.

The US said it stood ready to us "all options" if Maduro tries to quash the opposition to his rule -- an implied threat of military force.

Bolsonaro, a far-right former paratrooper who has set about forging close ties with US President Donald Trump's administration since taking power at the beginning of January, has repeatedly vowed to challenge Maduro in any way he can.

He initially said he was open to discussing Brazil hosting a US military base, before changing his mind when the idea sparked objections from his military brass.