Posted by 24 January 2019
Grappling with economic crises and protests, the socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro now faces a new problem – a rival claim to power by National Assembly Leader Juan Guaido. After announcing that he was the legitimate head of state, Guaido received swift recognition by the United States, Canada, and other governments. With Maduro refusing to step down, it is unclear what is in store for the future of this oil-rich nation.
Venezuela’s economy has been deteriorating for years, with hyperinflation, extremely high poverty rates, and a crisis in the health care sector. Millions of Venezuelans have fled. Many observers point to the socialist policies begun by Hugo Chavez two decades ago and continued under Maduro as the reason why the economy has collapsed. Maduro says that these socialist policies are not the problem, but instead the collapse in the price of oil is to blame.
There have been popular protests against the Maduro regime, but he won a presidential election vote last year. However, observers from 60 countries have said that this vote was plagued by corruption. Many consider it illegitimate. There are also widespread reports of the Maduro government violating civil liberties.
After Guaido’s announcement, Venezuelans took to the streets to protest Maduro’s continued hold on power. These protests were the largest in two years. Maduro says that he will stay, and the Supreme Court is remaining loyal to him. One of the criticisms of the Chavez and Maduro regimes is that they have packed courts and many other government institutions with loyalists.
Guaido is calling for a new election that will be free from corruption.
Do you think that the U.S. is right to recognize the opposition government of Juan Guaido in Venezuela?