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Venezuela Crisis: What Happens Now after Two Men Have Claimed to Be President?

January 24, 2019

Venezuela’s political crisis was turned on its head on Wednesday as a succession of world powers declared they were recognizing the opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the South American country’s rightful interim president. […]

A senior US administration official said the move meant “Maduro and his cronies” now needed to understand they had no future and had no choice but to accept “a peaceful transition” and “an exit solution” from the country.

But as the dramatic news sunk in, Venezuela specialists said they were unsure what the immediate impact might be – and how Maduro might react.

Eric Farnsworth, a former US diplomat and vice-president of the Council of the Americas, said Guaidó’s move – and Trump’s swift recognition – which came on a day of rare mass protests in Venezuela – was “a clear inflection point” that could prove the tipping point for Maduro’s embattled regime.

“I don’t think we can automatically assume he is on the way out. But I do think today is the most serious threat he has faced,” said Farnsworth.

Yet it was also a moment fraught with danger, both for the regime and the country. “Maduro can’t acquiesce to this shift – he is going to have to react in some way,” Farnsworth predicted. […]

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