The figure of the “interim government” of opposition leader Juan Guaidó in Venezuela was eliminated by his own allies after four years of failed attempts to oust socialist President Nicolás Maduro. The AFP reviews the main events surrounding it.
The ascent Guaidó, a 35-year-old legislator from La Guaira (a coastal town near Caracas), was elected on January 5, 2019 as head of the Parliament, then controlled by the opposition, after a resounding victory in the 2015 legislative elections.
A few days later, on January 23, the young leader self-proclaimed himself in a square as the “acting president” of Venezuela, claiming that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was the result of fraud and that, as head of the National Assembly, it was his turn to assume power.
The opposition largely supports him. The United States and about fifty countries recognize him as president, while deepening financial sanctions against the Caribbean country as a mechanism of pressure against Maduro. The prosecutor’s office opens the first of numerous criminal investigations launched against Guaidó.
Months of conflict
Guaidó leads a failed attempt on February 23, 2019 to pass shipments of medicine and food sent by the United States through the borders, which Maduro describes as the first step towards an “invasion”. Soldiers block the loads amid violent riots.
Guaidó led massive street protests since 2018, which weakened over time. Virtuality After a journalistic investigation linking them to businessman Alex Saab, close to Maduro and now being tried in the United States for money laundering, a group of opposition deputies rebel against Guaidó in Parliament and appoint a legislative directive in 2020 with the support of the governing Chavismo without Guaidó.
However, in a parallel session, the majority of opposition congressmen ratify him as head of the National Assembly and “acting president” of Venezuela.
Guaidó’s parliamentary sessions begin to be held virtually, via videoconference, without access to the National Assembly headquarters.
The Maduro government announces on May 3 and 4, 2020 that it stopped a sea invasion by “mercenaries” hired by Guaidó. The opposition denied the accusations, while the United States described them as “melodrama,” but his advisers admitted to being behind the attempt.
Former US soldiers Luke Denman and Airan Berry, arrested in connection with the so-called “Operation Gideon,” were sentenced to 20 years in prison for the case. They remain imprisoned in Venezuela.
End of term
The majority of the opposition boycotts the parliamentary elections of December 6, 2020, qualifying them as fraudulent as it had done with the presidential elections of 2018. Chavismo, without major rivals, obtains an overwhelming majority.
The term of the National Assembly of the opposition majority elected in 2015 expires on January 5, 2021. However, by maintaining that the new Congress is illegitimate, the opposition decides to extend the validity of its legislative period. The United States still supports that body.
Corruption allegations in the control of assets handed over to the “interim government,” such as the CITGO refinery in the United States or the Monómeros petrochemical company in Colombia, hit this figure hard.
Three of the main opposition parties that supported Guaidó at the end of 2022 promote an initiative to eliminate the “interim government,” arguing that it did not achieve the objective of political change.
This article is originally published on rfi.fr