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The difficult role of the Venezuelan opposition

The figure of Guaidó is an image of optimism, but the uncertainty over whether he is the one chosen to overthrow Maduro grows more and more

Leader of the opposition of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara

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The fight for power between the Venezuelan opposition and the current Maduro government took an unexpected turn when at the beginning of 2019, Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president of the country. Although several people said they did not know his name or importance within the opposition party, on January 5, 2019, he took control of the National Assembly and on January 23, this Venezuelan engineer declared himself interim president.

Leer en español: El difícil papel de la oposición en Venezuela

Guaidó showed his potential trying to take back control of the country, receiving the support of more than 50 countries and several international organizations. Since January 2019, Guaidó has become a figure of hope and a way out of the political and humanitarian crisis that Venezuela is going through.

For María Clara Robayo, a researcher at the Observatory of Venezuela at the Universidad del Rosario, "the figure of Juan Guaidó does constitute a figure of optimism about what can happen in Venezuela (...) a figure that unites positive wills against Venezuela within an opposition that, as we have seen in recent years, has been very fragmented and it is he who manages to regain leadership."

Nonetheless, there are doubts about if Guaidó is going to be the accurate figure that overthrows Chavez. This has been woven not only for several analysts but for several international communities. The lack of clear policies or strong leadership are some of the main arguments surrounding the hesitant self-report granted by Guaidó. For the researcher of the Observatory of Venezuela of the Universidad del Rosario, Ronald Rodríguez, in dialogue with LatinAmerican Post, the Venezuelan opposition leader may have a limit on January 5, 2020.

It is important to remember that on January 5, 2019, the Legislative Power for the period 2019-2020 started. With this, a year after coming to power, Guaidó could lose prominence. However, it is expected that negotiations with the Maduro government will be advanced, as a result of the constant international pressure, which has been accompanied by different sanctions to dismantle the Chavista regime. Under this same line, the opposition will have to decide if it continues with the leadership of Guaidó or if, on the contrary, it will change.

A decision that will be complicated, since despite being "new" in Venezuelan politics, the figure of Juan Guaidó proved to be important for Venezuela not only to be recognized internationally above the Maduro government but to be stipulated as the figure of salvation for Venezuelans.

Maybe you are interested in reading: Maduro, Citgo and the concern of the countries that supported Guaidó

An opposition with few exits

Although it has been thought that the opposition, led by Guaidó, has not advanced anything in terms of cutting back on the Venezuelan regime, the truth is that the process cannot end up immediately. Since 2008, the Venezuelan opposition has been gaining ground to the Chavez regime, especially in electoral terms. 2015 was the opportunity in which the results of this struggle were most evident since that year they manage to get the National Assembly, which, although it was not recognized at all by the Chavez regime, did take some valid steps in the road of taking control of Venezuela.

In this regard, Rodriguez says that gaining power "will not be an easy task, because the regime still has effective control of the State and that even though the opposition plays with a dynamic that has in its favor the desperation of the population, that same despair is the one that plays against it because the citizens don't understand that it is a long process and that it can take several years."

Under the premise that the Chavista government controls the different public powers, the opposition hasn't been able to wrest control from the state, and when it has achieved it (for example, by winning elections in different states), the Chavez regime has tax penalties that do not allow the governability of the territory, and as a consequence to compensate for these punishments, they have to raise taxes, generating the discontent of the population.

"There is not an opportunity for the opposition to respond in an effective way to the demands of citizens and it generate dynamics and confrontations that make it very difficult." Finally, for Rodriguez, "it is important that the opposition give demands to the citizens, not inside Venezuela because Chavismo has control, but to the more than 4 million Venezuelans who have had to leave because of the crisis. It is in this framework that he should concentrate his leadership."

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