We know that Maduro's armies are riddled with persecution, torture, threats, and wrongful arrests.
To achieve a successful transition, we don't just have to remove Maduro. We also have to rescue our institutions themselves. That's why we have set out three phases: ending Maduro's usurpation of power, implementing a transition government, and holding free elections.
A pattern has developed under the Maduro regime. When pressure builds, the first recourse is to repress and persecute. I know this because buckshot pellets fired by members of the armed forces - at peaceful protesters in 2017 - remain lodged in my own body. A minor price to pay compared to the sacrifices made by some of my compatriots.
As president of the National Assembly, I am fully able and willing to assume the office of the presidency on an interim basis to call for free and fair elections.
My ascension as interim president is based on Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, according to which, if at the outset of a new term there is no elected head of state, power is vested in the president of the National Assembly until free and transparent elections take place.
I would like to be clear about the situation in Venezuela: Mr. Maduro's re-election on May 20, 2018, was illegitimate, as has since been acknowledged by a large part of the international community.