Three of the four main opposition parties on Friday ended the “interim government” that Guaidó has led for the past four years. The parties want to take a new path due to the 2024 presidential elections and are not confident that Guaido can compete successfully against authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro.
In 2019, Guaido, the speaker of parliament, declared himself the legitimate president of Venezuela, arguing that Maduro rigged the 2018 elections. He was recognized by the United States, the European Union, and about sixty countries. US President Trump supported him as an alternative to the leftist Maduro dictatorship.
Guaidó is internationally known for his dramatic confrontation with the Maduro regime. On April 30, 2019, he appeared on a live broadcast among some soldiers. He called on the Venezuelan army to defect from the opposition.
On the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, opposition supporters clashed with supporters of Maduro and the military. One person died in the process. Although scores of soldiers sided with Guaidó, the military remained loyal to Maduro’s dictatorial rule.
After this failed coup, Guaidó’s star faded. In 2021, the European Union decided not to recognize him as president, because he lacked any actual power. Maduro has consolidated his position, even though seven million people have fled Venezuela in recent years due to poverty, inflation and food scarcity.
The former bus driver has received support from Russia, China, Cuba and Iran. He also improved relations with other South American countries, such as Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Argentina, where left-wing parties won elections.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition has engaged in a political dialogue with Maduro, likely to resume in January after a year-long hiatus. Maduro agreed to use part of Venezuela’s frozen foreign assets as humanitarian aid to alleviate social misery in the country.
The opposition hopes Maduro will also agree to free and fair presidential elections in 2024. Guaido is no longer seen as the man who can unite the traditionally divided opposition against the authoritarian Maduro.
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