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.
Washington can no longer take the Caribbean for granted. That means more than just impotently warning partners south of the hemisphere about China and Russia. Instead it will require more effective diplomacy and economic statecraft.
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 U.S. must recognize the role of China and Venezuela in the Caribbean and develop policies that compete with these rivals rather than simply telling the Caribbean to get in line with U.S. objectives.