FT | Venezuela: how Maduro has strengthened his grip on power

Gideon Long (Caracas) and Michael Stott (London) | Financial Times

After failed efforts to dislodge the regime, the country will present Joe Biden with one of his biggest diplomatic challenges

Juan Guaidó rose to his feet in the gallery of Washington’s Capitol building and waved stiffly to acknowledge cheers and applause from members of Congress as President Donald Trump’s words rang in their ears.

“Here this evening is a very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans . . . the true and legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó,” said Mr Trump. Dismissing President Nicolás Maduro as an illegitimate dictator, the US leader promised that “Maduro’s grip on tyranny will be smashed and broken”.

But less than a year after his guest appearance at the State of the Union address capped a triumphant overseas tour, it is Mr Guaidó who appears broken while Mr Maduro’s hold on power seems stronger than ever.

The failure of US policy on Venezuela comes as the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in the South American oil exporter deepens, presenting the incoming Biden administration with one of its biggest foreign policy challenges.

Five million people have fled the Maduro regime, creating the worst refugee crisis in the Americas and threatening the stability of neighbouring countries. The once-wealthy economy lies in ruins. Criminal gangs now control increasing portions of Venezuelan territory. Diplomats are talking of the risk of a large failed state appearing on the edge of the Caribbean.

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Bron: Financial Times

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