March 26, 2019 / 5:10 PM / a year ago

Wife of Venezuela's Guaido to visit Pence, Melania Trump

FILE PHOTO: Fabiana Rosales, wife of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido participates in a rally with Venezuelans living in Peru during her visit to Lima, Peru March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fabiana Rosales, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, will meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday and first lady Melania Trump in Florida on Thursday, White House officials said.

The high-profile meetings are aimed at demonstrating U.S. backing for Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, who in January invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

“The United States is determined to support Interim President Guaido’s leadership as he champions freedom and the restoration of democracy for the Venezuelan people,” a White House official said in a statement about Pence’s meeting with Rosales.

Most Latin American and Western countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Maduro, who retains control of state functions and the country’s military, says Guaido is a puppet of the United States.

Melania Trump will meet with Rosales, a 26-year-old journalist and opposition activist who is considered Venezuela’s first lady by supporters, at the Trumps’ private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the first lady said.

Rosales, who told Reuters before her trip that her family and friends have been stalked and threatened, is also expected to visit New York City and Miami during her U.S. trip.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown

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