The Battle for Venezuela

Tony Wood

On 23 January – the anniversary of a revolt that toppled the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 – the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, declared himself interim president. But the crisis has been long in the making. Most of the Venezuelan opposition boycotted the presidential election held last May, in which Nicolás Maduro was standing for a second term, and refused to recognise his victory or the legitimacy of his new term in office. Within hours of Guaidó’s announcement, by contrast, the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, among other states in the Western hemisphere, had recognised him as Venezuela’s president. Two weeks later, however, Maduro remains in the Miraflores, and it’s unclear whether we’re witnessing Trump’s first regime change or a failed coup.

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[*] Greg Grandin has written about the history of Latin American and US ideas of sovereignty in an article published on 8 February on the LRB website.