Sixty-one years to the day from the overthrow of the Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, another dictator, President Nicolás Maduro, was supplanted. At least that is the symbolism for which the president of the opposition-controlled national assembly, Juan Guaidó, was striving when he proclaimed himself interim president on 23 January. The trouble is Maduro has not been removed from power. Guaidó’s audacity won him the formal recognition of US President Donald Trump, and several regional governments, but while there was a minor uprising by national guardsmen this week, and some large street protests, for now the armed forces are not swayed by Guaidó’s promise of an amnesty if they help to topple Maduro, who also enjoys the support of the supreme court (TSJ). This leaves Guaidó as an unpromoted pawn unable to checkmate Maduro.

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