Juan Guaidó’s swearing in as interim president on January 23, 2019 and his recognition by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president has consolidated him as the leader of the opposition. But real power remains elusive for the young leader. What must happen to finally trigger change in Venezuela?
Despite ongoing mass mobilizations, Venezuela will likely remain in flux for the foreseeable future. Backed by powerful external (illiberal) allies, the Maduro regime doesn’t have to play by the rules.
As the standoff continues without much sign of a plan B from the White House, the Maduro government is threatening to arrest President Juan Guaidó. It’s time for the other members of the 50-plus international coalition to put some muscle into the game.
The use of military force to bring about regime change in Latin America would set U.S.-Latin American relations back decades. The U.S. needs to follow a more pragmatic and ultimately productive approach.
Juan Guaidó, who only a month ago was little known on the international scene, has positioned himself as the leader of a generation of service-oriented young Venezuelans who today represent the best option for unleashing a democratic transition in the country.
U.S. decision makers must not let frustration or enthusiasm distract them from the importance of the Venezuelan people and the constitution. Any role for the U.S. military must be a limited, supporting one at most.