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
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
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.