19-03-2020 Latin American Weekly Report
As region goes into lockdown, two populists play by own rules
Venezuela’s widely recognised interim president Juan Guaidó promised a
decisive development in the end game to bring down the government led
by Nicolás Maduro on 1 May. It was dramatic but not decisive. In the early
hours of the previous morning social media was awash with the image of
Guaidó standing alongside Leopoldo López, the opposition figurehead
supposed to be under house arrest but released by his captors. Flanked by
men in uniform outside the ‘La Carlota’ air base on the outskirts of Caracas,
Guaidó said he had won the backing of the armed forces and urged
supporters to set in motion the final phase of ‘Operación Libertad’. But he
was bluffing, overstating his hand to try and trigger an uprising to topple
Maduro. Guaidó’s energy and determination means he remains a significant
threat to the Maduro administration as he chips away at the Bolivarian
edifice, but the military hierarchy remains a formidable obstacle.
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