MADURO OR GUAIDO — PICKING SIDES IN VENEZUELAN PRESIDENTIAL CRISIS

Written by Julian Sng

What’s going on?

Since 10th January, Venezuela’s current president, Mr Nicolas Maduro, was deemed illegitimate by Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament – voiding the results of the controversial 2018 Venezuelan presidential elections. The elections had seen record-low voter turnouts and opposition boycotts that nonetheless gave Mr Maduro his disputed second-term in power. Mr Maduro’s first term in power was plagued with economic woes due to hyperinflation and UN-backed allegations of rampant corruption and widespread human rights violations, including protest suppression and arbitrary detainment.

Along the same vein, opposition leader and the current head of Venezuela’s parliament, Mr Juan Guaido, has just declared that he will assume the temporary role of interim president, filling the presidential void reluctantly left by Mr Maduro.


Vying for military support

It follows that Mr Guaido intends to gain the vital support of Venezuela’s military, many of which are still loyal to Mr Maduro and served as ministers in his government. While some of the armed force have defected, many in high-ranking military positions remain in fear of being charged with corruption despite Mr Guaido’s offer of amnesty should they decide to switch to Mr Guaido’s side. On the other hand, Venezuela’s Supreme Court justices – who were installed by and thus still supportive of Mr Maduro – have slammed back by freezing Mr Guaido’s bank accounts and banning him from leaving the country.


Vying for international recognition

Foreign countries have since picked sides that seems to resemble what some describe as an “ideological battleground” with countries such as Russia, China, Turkey and others backing the incumbent Mr Maduro while US, UK and at least 18 other countries choosing to recognise Mr Guaido as interim president. The European Union has instead called for a fresh set of elections to settle the ongoing crisis.

 

Vying for change?

For some Venezuelans, the following weeks is more than just an ideological battle but a battle for their rights and quality of life. This all rests on the sides chosen in Venezuela and the rest of the world.

 

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