February 9, 2023

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Juan Quito | What the End of Juan Guaido’s “Government” Means and How Opposition to Nicolás Maduro Holds Up in Venezuela | the world

Political controversy in A new phase is beginning, in which Juan Guaido will be the main face of the opposition against President Nicolás Maduro.

Majority of the opposition parties voted today on Friday Get rid of the “Interim Government”. It was established in January 2019 in response to Maduro’s illegal actions and is led by Guaidó, who was elected president of the National Assembly (Parliament) in 2015 with an opposition majority.

Meera: From a promise to overthrow Maduro to a demand for change in the opposition: moments of Guaidó’s interim presidency | Photographs

Abolition of the “Interim Government” was approved 72 votes in favor, 29 against, 8 abstentions Former opposition MPs.

The decision broke the unity of the opposition coalition and shattered the strategy supported by the United States and most Latin American and European countries over the past four years to encourage the exit of President Nicolas Maduro, and begin a new phase with the elections. 2024 presidential election on the horizon.

Quito declared himself Venezuela’s interim president in January 2019 after ignoring the legitimacy of the May 2018 elections in which Maduro was elected to a second term.

In January 2019, Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela. (Getty Images)

The main opposition parties did not participate in those elections because they denounced the conditions as not good.

In January 2019, with the support of 112 deputies whose term ends in 2021, Quito, a young and unknown member of parliament from the Voluntad Popular party, offered to pursue three objectives he repeated like a mantra in speeches and street demonstrations: “Expropriation, Interim Government and Suspension of Free Elections”.

With the support of many countries that recognized him as the legitimate president, he led a moment of maximum pressure against Maduro.

However, that did not translate into a change and the political strategy ended this Friday, after the majority of that assembly still voted in favor of the definitive removal of the “interim government”.

“It’s not about protecting a person, but the tools to protect Venezuelans, we owe them,” Guaidé said weeks before he ruled out an exit that would be carried out through a reform. A transition to democracy is called to restore the validity of the constitution.

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At BBC Mundo, we explain what the end of Guaidó’s “interim government” means, what he achieved and what he failed to do, and if it benefits Maduro, what the prospects are for the opposition in 2023. To choose a candidate to face Maduro in the 2024 presidential election.

What is the result of Guaidó’s “interim government”?

The “interim government” brought together opposition forces in a move recognized by the United States and most Latin American and European countries, although many of them later withdrew their support.

This support allowed the opposition to gain access to important public resources abroad, such as control of Citco, a subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela in the United States, and also allowed it to win a favorable ruling at the High Court in London. ceded control of US$2 billion of gold held by the Bank of England to the Central Bank of Venezuela.

However, the so-called appointed presidency has failed to remove Maduro from power, hold free elections, or exercise real power within Venezuela.

“The end of the interim government is the closing of the political cycle for the opposition. The strategy of pressure and internal collapse is coming to an end,” Venezuelan sociologist Juan Manuel Traque, a doctor of contemporary political processes at the university, told the BBC. Mundo from Salamanca (Spain).

Track believes opposition parties have avoided confronting Quaido in the past for fear of losing the international support his party, Voluntad Popular, has enjoyed.

Margarita López Maya, a Venezuelan historian and political analyst, believes that a change in the current strategy “must happen as it runs out of steam and loses popularity.”

“Quido has already shown for a long time that he can be the leader of the entire opposition. He never has been,” López Maya said, promising that “he will always follow the leadership of Leopoldo López.” Founder and Coordinator of Popular Will.

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Important opposition leaders such as López’s rival, Henrique Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate and politically crippled, have already ruled out continuing in the incumbent presidency.

“If I can say one thing to the people who are in charge of making decisions, it’s that they don’t allow themselves to be intimidated, and that’s enough. lifestyle” Gabriels said recently.

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has distanced himself from Juan Guaido.  (Getty Images)

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has distanced himself from Juan Guaido. (Getty Images)

Analysts believe that the lack of a clear electoral strategy, attempts to remove Maduro from power (such as the April 30, 2019 uprising and Operation Gideon in May 2020) and internal opposition corruption scandals have eroded the credibility of the appointed presidency. .

“Medieval government, instead of being established as a symbolic figure, became a bureaucratic structure with a budget, staff, ambassadors, commissions, managers,” Track explained.

“Only in March this year, the Interim Government’s budget included USD 35 million for the Defense and Security of Democracy programme. Then they approved another USD 50 million budget. I wonder where that money is going and to whom. The money is going,” he questioned. .

“There are very serious allegations of corruption and one has to look into this [la eliminación de la presidencia encargada] A predictable one,” López Maya warned.

How is Maduro?

After months of diplomatic pressure and on the streets of Venezuela, Maduro managed to overcome the worst moment.

Over time, the so-called “Guaidó effect” has diluted, the president has consolidated his position, and recently even had better relations with the United States, which was originally a big supporter of the opposition leader.

For this reason, Juan Manuel Traque considers the disappearance of the “interim government” “irrelevant” to Maduro.

“Maduro continues to rule whether there is an interim government or not. He will not lose his strength whether there is an interim government or not,” the sociologist said.

“The existence of the interim government has at no time diminished its power, and has allowed, through official procedures, the consolidation of what already existed,” he opined.

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Guaidó and the opposition ignored the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro's re-election.  (Getty Images)

Guaidó and the opposition ignored the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro’s re-election. (Getty Images)

Although Track thinks Guaidó’s personal security could be at risk by losing international recognition, he warns that “the risk the opposition runs by abolishing the interim government is the risk it runs by not abolishing it, which is to continue fragmenting in a dispute”. growing bitterness.”

“For Maduro, the only advantage is that the opposition continues to disparage him,” Track says.

What is the position of the opposition now?

By taking out QuaidoThe opposition has proposed the creation of a commission dedicated to the protection of Venezuelan government assets abroad under the authority of the president, known as Responsibilities.

“It is proposed to eliminate the entire interim government, except for three cases necessary to protect assets: the temporary board of PDVSA Holding, the temporary board of BCV (Central Bank of Venezuela) and an executive board that expands their functions not only to manage expenses, but also to represent and protect assets,” said Alfonso Marquina, one of the opposition leaders. proposed.

“The AN (National Assembly) shall be maintained only to legislate on all matters relating to the protection and security of assets abroad,” he added.

But the focus will be on the primary exams scheduled in 2023.

Analysts worry that Venezuela’s opposition coalition will split and clash over the emergence of a candidate to face Chavismo in the 2024 presidential election.

“For the opposition, more polarization is coming. We are going to see great fragmentation, the fight to the death, because Voluntad Popular will consider this decision a betrayal, and they will accuse anyone who does not support Juan Guaidó of ‘selling out’,” Juan Manuel tracks. predicts.

López Maya, for his part, warns that the biggest challenge, beyond the opposition’s civil wars, is going to the polls under what he describes as a “dictatorship” government.

“I firmly believe that there is no way to achieve elections with fair conditions. The problem in Venezuela is so serious that it has reached such levels that there is no solution in the short or medium term. Elections should be seen as one step in a long-range strategy.