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Venezuela dictator Maduro remains in power

TWO years ago, the Trump administration declared it no longer recognized Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

More than a dozen countries including the European Union followed the U.S. and backed Juan Guaido, a little-known opposition leader, as the Venezuela’s interim leader.

However, Maduro remains firmly inside the Presidential Palace, presiding over a grave humanitarian crisis and dizzying economic degradation.

Guaido and his team, and the Trump Administration, deserve credit for coordinating an extensive international diplomatic effort under extraordinary circumstances, which ultimately resulted in 57 countries across Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere, recognizing his legitimacy.

Earlier this year, Maduro secured an even tighter grip on power, resuming control of Venezuelan Congress, the only wing it did not domineer following elections in December.

The vote was largely snubbed by the opposition and condemned as a mockery. Some analysts say the loss by the opposition illuminates the failure of Guiado in appealing to an exhausted and disappointed Venezuelan majority.

In a statement last week, the E.U. pledged to continue its “engagement” with opposition leader Guaido.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the U.S. still considers the Maduro regime to be “illegitimate” and “will not recognize it nor its pronouncements.”

“President Guaidó and the (old) National Assembly are the only democratic representatives of the Venezuelan people as recognized by the international community, and they should be freed from Maduro’s harassment, threats, persecution, and other abuses,” he said.

The U.S., E.U. and Lima Group, a multilateral body established to oversee a peaceful Venezuelan power transition, have jointly broadcast calls for new, democratic elections in Venezuela.

It remains to be seen if the incoming Biden administration will drastically alter the current approach.