In Venezuela, Maduro Is More Entrenched Than Ever. What Can Biden Do?

In Venezuela, Maduro Is More Entrenched Than Ever. What Can Biden Do?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a closing campaign rally for the upcoming National Assembly elections, in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Venezuelan opposition leaders and the governments that back them just saw their strategy for dislodging the increasingly tyrannical regime of President Nicolas Maduro culminate in failure. Last Sunday, in farcical elections for a new legislature, Maduro’s supporters took control of the last remaining bastion of the opposition, the National Assembly. The legislature had served as the tip of the spear for a coordinated international campaign to remove Maduro, which was promoted by the Trump administration and supported by European and Latin American democracies.

That plan, which launched two years ago, had tried to capitalize on the opposition’s control of the National Assembly. Opposition politicians had won an overwhelming majority during the last legislative elections, in 2015, which turned out to be Venezuela’s last credible polls. Although the regime later stripped the National Assembly of all its powers, the opposition still enjoyed the legitimacy of a duly elected government institution, even one with seemingly no practical authority, and found a way to leverage it.

After Maduro proclaimed himself the winner of a fraudulent presidential election in 2018, the National Assembly declared the presidency vacant and, following constitutional guidelines, named the head of the legislature, Juan Guaido, as the country’s rightful interim president until fair elections could be held. Guaido was soon recognized by some 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state. The United States led a new “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime, including tightening sanctions, but an expected military uprising to oust Maduro failed to materialize.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review