Change of Strategies

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Venezuela’s opposition voted to dissolve the country’s interim government this week, putting an end to the leadership of Juan Guaidó, who had been attempting to oust the authoritarian government of socialist President Nicolás Maduro for years, the New York Times reported.

The vote was the second one last month to determine the fate of Guaidó’s interim presidency, whose influence has waned in recent years as Maduro has remained in power.

The parallel government began in 2019, when Guaidó – at the time the head of Venezuela’s parliament – invoked the constitution to declare himself the country’s interim leader. The opposition leader has accused Maduro of being an illegitimate ruler following his re-election in disputed polls in 2018, the BBC noted.

Guaidó’s move received international backing with many nations, including the United States, recognizing him as Venezuela’s leader. But his support began to falter after he failed to force Maduro out, including an unsuccessful attempt to spark a military uprising against the leftist leader.

US sanctions designed to assist Guaidó only ended up gutting government revenues and forced many Venezuelans to focus on daily survival, instead of political mobilization.

Other countries, meanwhile, have also backed away from recognizing Guaidó as interim leader, while new leftist governments in Latin America have taken a softer approach toward Maduro.

The dissolution is a major blow to US efforts to oust Maduro and underscores efforts by the opposition to seek different strategies.

Even so, the US has softened its stance toward Maduro’s government in recent months, while the Venezuelan government and the opposition have sought to revive stalled negotiations to end the country’s ongoing crisis.

Since 2014, oil-rich Venezuela has been grappling with economic, political, and humanitarian crises that have shattered the country’s democratic institutions and left much of the populace impoverished.

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