Years of conflict between the Venezuelan people and their authoritarian government, led by Nicolás Maduro, has culminated into a standoff between two opposing governments. The Maduro regime was recently challenged by Parliament leader Juan Guaidó, who substantiated his claim as President of Venezuela through a clause in the constitution. The clause states the National Assembly leader becomes president in the event the nation falls into a “power vacuum”. Mr. Guaidó believes Venezuela’s current political climate warrants his claim, and he has been recognized as president by the United States and multiple European democracies. After being acknowledged as ruler, Guaidó has ordered members of the national guard loyal to Maduro to defect. For a while, it appeared he had the support of the military and Maduro would be overthrown, but the tides turned in late April. The national guard stayed loyal to him and troops and other supporters of Guaidó were forced into hiding, taking refuge in the embassies of Brazil and Spain. Maduro was prepared to flee to Cuba, a socialist nation and ally of Venezuela, but was encouraged to stay by the Russian government. In the following days, Maduro took advantage of the failed coup against him to denounce his opponents, claiming Venezuela wants peace.
The United States is weighing its options for ousting the current regime. It plans to pressure Russia and Cuba into cutting its support for Maduro, but if all else fails, would consider military intervention. Ultimately, the standoff between Guaidó and his democratic supporters and Maduro and his socialist support block is growing more tense with no end in sight.
Nugent, Ciara. “Who is Juan Guaido, the Opposition Leader Trump Just Recognized as Venezuela’s President?” Time, 23 Jan. 2019, time.com/5503040/juan-guaido-venezuela-democracy/. Accessed 18 June 2019.
“Running Out of Options.” The Economist, vol. 431, no. 9142, 11 May 2019, pp. 27-28.
Sequera, Vivian, et al. “Venezuela’s Guaido Calls for Uprising but Opposition Loyal to Maduro for Now.” Reuters, 30 Apr. 2019, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuelas-guaido-calls-for-uprising-but-military-loyal-to-maduro-for-now-idUSKCN1S60ZQ. Accessed 18 June 2019.