Although a relatively small country, the latin American nation of Venezuela has managed to take over international news, headlining with its dire humanitarian crisis and democratic power struggle. For decades, its citizens have seeked to end the long established tyrannical government and welcome democracy into their borders. Many of these reports feature a mysterious character named Juan Guaido, whose involvement in the political climate is both new and crucial.
So… Who is Juan Guaido?
Juan Guiado is a 35 year old Venezuelan politician who has served as the President of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Venezuela since January 5th, 2019. The son of an airline pilot and a teacher, he comes from a modest background. In the year 1999, he was left without a home or school after a geographical phenomenon destroyed his every surrounding and the government did little to help him and his community. This sparked a fire within him that led him to graduate as an Industrial Engineer and further complete two postgraduate programs in George Washington University.
As a student, he helped found a political movement that protested the totalitarian Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew the broadcasting license of an independent tv network, as well as the 2007 constitutional referendum. He was also a powerful ally and activist in the opposition party, helping its leaders battle the corrupt government.
How is he “the current Venezuelan President”?
Article 233 of the Constitution of Venezuela states that, “when the president-elect is absolutely absent before taking office, a new election shall take place […] and until the president is elected and takes office, the interim president shall be the president of the National Assembly”. Thus, Maduro’s illegitimate elections of this current year were rightfully challenged, placing Juan Guaido in the position of interim or temporary leader of the nation until its citizens are provided with a fair and democratic vote.
The international community’s take on his legitimacy.
Nations from all around the globe have spoken out on this issue, some recognizing Nicolas Maduro, and others Juan Guaido as the rightful President of Venezuela. More than 40 countries, such as the United States, Spain, England, Brazil, Colombia, Israel and France have pledged their support to the opposition leader, while nations like Turkey, Russia, China, Iran and Cuba have declared Maduro as the current President.