Venezuela Power Struggle: A Play for Time... and Military's Support

By Howard LaFranchi

"Maduro’s legitimacy is being challenged now like never before," said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth in the The Christian Science Monitor.

Once Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country’s legitimate president last week, he set a clock ticking.

The longer Venezuela’s embattled leftist President Nicolás Maduro is able to defy the clock and retain his office, regional experts say, the better his chances of fending off this latest challenge and clinging to power...

Having already recognized Guaidó on Wednesday as Venezuela’s interim president, the U.S. took the next big step with oil sanctions in what appears to be a well-orchestrated hemispheric campaign to force Maduro from office...

“Things really do feel different this time after so many years of crisis, Maduro’s legitimacy is being challenged now like never before,” says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and a leading Latin America expert in Washington.

“But now Venezuela is in the middle of an unprecedented face-off between the Western democracies and their Latin American allies and the non-democrats rallying to Maduro,” Mr. Farnsworth says. If Russia and China and other “authoritarian countries push their engagement in ways that offset the U.S.-led pressure,” he adds, “it could give Maduro the time he needs to consolidate his hold on power.”...

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