The pressure is building on Nicolás Maduro.
A host of European countries recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s president on Monday, after Maduro predictably failed to meet their eight-day deadline to schedule free and fair elections. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders say all options are on the table. And recently announced U.S. oil sanctions will begin to take effect in the coming weeks as the international community attempts to send humanitarian aid to Venezuelans without Maduro’s assistance.
But Maduro’s past attempts to consolidate power, combined with an unprecedented international response to recognize a leader who does not control the country’s military, institutions or a portion of territory, does not have a direct correlation with other U.S.-backed efforts in Latin America and elsewhere. Experts who are both skeptical and supportive of the decision to recognize Guaidó’s government and a warp-speed time frame to hold elections in a matter of weeks say violence beyond the sporadic street clashes over the past few weeks is likely, whether or not foreign troops enter the country.
“I don’t see Maduro leaving peacefully,” said Eric Farnsworth, a former State Department official who is now a vice president of the Council of the Americas and a supporter of the decision to recognize Guaidó. “He’s not going to wake up with an epiphany, he’s going to have to be forced out. If it happens, it’s going to be by Venezuelans... members of the security forces or members of his own coalition, if they see him as ineffective.”...