Venezuelan conference leader briefly held in the midst of impasse

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – The new head of the increasingly challenging congress of Venezuela was pulled out of its vehicle and briefly detained by Sunday police, one day after the US backed him in assuming the presidency as a way out of the deeper crisis in the country.

The confusing incident will increase the tensions between the opposition and the government after a controversial second term by President Nicolas Maduro this month.

A video circulating on social media proves the moment when Juan Guaido is intercepted on his way to an anti-government "Citizen Meeting" in the port city of La Guaira.

In the video made on a mobile phone by a car driver stuck in traffic, several men in ski masks and assault weapons find it hard to close the door when someone is pushed into an SUV before racing a highway.

Although it was not possible to identify Guaido in the 33-second video, his wife on Twitter said he was being held by a command unit of the dreaded SEBIN intelligence service. When the news about his detention spread, he was released.

"I want to thank everyone for the quick response in the light of my husband's abuse by the dictatorship," Fabiana Rosales said in a message on Twitter. "The dictatorship will not be able to bow its fighting spirit."

Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gives a speech during a public session with opposition members, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition Congress says that with the support of the nation he is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gives a speech during a public session with opposition members, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition Congress says that with the support of the nation he is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Apart from the confusion, the government tried to blame Guaido's allies, with communications minister Jorge Rodriguez who said that the "media show" might have been orchestrated to provoke an international uproar.

Yet he acknowledged that police officers had taken part in the arrest and said they would be disciplined.

"We want to inform the people of Venezuela that the officials who have taken on the job are being fired," Rodriguez said on the state television.

At the Sunday after the incident, Guaido told The Associated Press that the SEBIN agents informed him that they were executing orders from above when they arrested him.

"We are survivors," he told the crowd of a few hundred waving Venezuelan flags.

Guaido leads an increasingly tense confrontation with Maduro who tries to expel the socialist from power and receives the support of a number of powerful international allies such as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke to him by telephone shortly after the 35-year-old presided the National Assembly controlled by the opposition.

At a meeting on Friday, he said he was prepared to take over the interim president of Venezuela and ask for new elections, a step that the American and regional governments are supporting.

But in order for such a strategy to succeed, he said that the Venezuelans must take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the fact that Maduro has destroyed the once wealthiest nation of Latin America. To this end he called for national demonstrations on January 23 together with the commemoration of the deposition of military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1958.

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Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.

Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, shows signs on his wrists, which he says are handcuffed, to supporters at a meeting in Caraballeda, Venezuela, Sunday, January 13, 2019. The new head of Venezuela's increasingly defiant Congress was pulled out of his vehicle and briefly detained by police Sunday, a day after the US supported him in the assumption of presidency as a way out of the deeper crisis of the country. Guaido & # 39; s wife Fabiana Rosales is standing next to him, is right. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, shows signs on his wrists, which he says are handcuffed, to supporters at a meeting in Caraballeda, Venezuela, Sunday, January 13, 2019. The new head of Venezuela's increasingly defiant Congress was pulled out of his vehicle and briefly detained by police Sunday, a day after the US supported him in the assumption of presidency as a way out of the deeper crisis of the country. Guaido & # 39; s wife Fabiana Rosales is standing next to him, is right. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, shows signs on his wrists, which he says are handcuffed, to supporters at a meeting in Caraballeda, Venezuela, Sunday, January 13, 2019. The new head of Venezuela's increasingly defiant Congress was pulled out of his vehicle and briefly detained by police Sunday, a day after the US supported him in the assumption of presidency as a way out of the deeper crisis of the country. Guaido & # 39; s wife Fabiana Rosales is standing next to him, is right. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gives a speech during a public session with opposition members, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition Congress says that with the support of the nation he is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gives a speech during a public session with opposition members, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition Congress says that with the support of the nation he is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gives a speech during a public session with opposition members, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition Congress says that with the support of the nation he is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members applaud Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, during a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition conference says that with the support of the country he is ready to defeat Nicolas Maduro presidential powers and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members applaud Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, during a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition conference says that with the support of the country he is ready to defeat Nicolas Maduro presidential powers and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members applaud Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, during a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela's opposition conference says that with the support of the country he is ready to defeat Nicolas Maduro presidential powers and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

An opposition member takes a selfie next to a woman holding up a sign that reads "Maduro dictator" in Spanish during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says he the nation's support is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

An opposition member takes a selfie next to a woman holding up a sign that reads "Maduro dictator" in Spanish during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says he the nation's support is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

An opposition member takes a selfie next to a woman holding up a sign that reads "Maduro dictator" in Spanish during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says he the nation's support is ready to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, center, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly greets supporters on his arrival to attend a public session with members of the opposition, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela & # 39 ; s opposition-run congress says he is ready with the support of the nation to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, center, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly greets supporters on his arrival to attend a public session with members of the opposition, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela & # 39 ; s opposition-run congress says he is ready with the support of the nation to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Juan Guaido, center, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly greets supporters on his arrival to attend a public session with members of the opposition, in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday 11 January 2019. The head of Venezuela & # 39 ; s opposition-run congress says he is ready with the support of the nation to tackle the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

Opposition members shout "Guaido President" during a public session of the National Assembly in a street in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, January 11, 2019. Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition conference, says that with the support of the nation he is prepared to take on the presidential powers of Nicolas Maduro and call new elections. (AP Photo / Fernando Llano)

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