On January the 10th, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in as President of Venezuela for a second time despite claims the 2018 election was illegitimate.
One day later on the 11th, The Venezuela National Assembly declared the election to be invalid and proclaimed their leader Juan Guaidó as President.
Whilst Maduro still claims power Guaidó is still contesting it.
Outside Venezuela, a number of countries have announced support for Guaidó. According to Reuters, Paraguay has cut political ties with Venezuela after Manduri was sworn in for a second term, Peru has withdrawn the country’s diplomats in objection, Brazil has issued support for Guaidó. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the United States has labeled Maduro’s claim as “illegitimate” and have voiced official support for protestors.
“On behalf of President Donald Trump and all the American people, let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you, the people of Venezuela, raise your voices in a call for freedom.”U.S. Vice President Mike Pence
United States interests in Venezuela:
Early into the Trump’s presidency, Maduro and his party blamed the United States and Trump for the issues plaguing Venezuela. Therefore the United States and Donald Trump have personal bones to pick with Maduro.
In 2018 (January – October), the United States imported between 13,000 and 21,000 barrels of oil and petroleum. Whilst this is down from previous years as the United States has focused on producing their own oil (reaching 11 million barrels per day last year), the United States still consumes almost 20 million barrels per day meaning they still have a significant interest in Venezuela and it’s stability.
Concerns surrounding refugees and migration has also become an overwhelming issue for the Trump administration. With Trump cracking down on migration, refugees, and asylum seekers hoping to escape their homelands and cross the border; Increased or continued instability within Venezuela will force more to leave in the future. According to the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Migration Agency, the total number of Venezuelan migrants and asylum seekers has now reached 3 million. And whilst the majority have been hosted by neighbouring countries, thousands still make the long journey up to the United States border each year.
Now Maduro has ordered the departure of US diplomats from the country in consequence for the country’s support of his opposition, however, according to the Washington Post, it may be the military that determines whether or Maduro retains control of the country. Whilst the Venezuelan armed forces have publically declared support for Maduro, some suspect internal/private uncertainty due to small actions such as noticeable restraint shown towards both Guaidó and the civilian protests.