Desperate after years of economic disaster and political repression, Venezuelans are protesting in ever-greater numbers against the regime of President Nicolás Maduro, who was re-elected to a second six-year term last year in elections widely denounced as fraudulent.
In January, the Lima Group, an ad hoc consortium of 11 Latin American countries and Canada, refused to recognize Maduro as president. At the same time, Juan Guaidó, the president of the National Assembly, took an oath to serve as interim president of the country. His government has been recognized by members of the Lima Group as well as the Trump administration, which also levied sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector. At the same time, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is also pursuing an ambitious "a plan to reshape Latin America," causing many to wonder if a return to a historically disastrous gunboat diplomacy is in the offing.
For today's Reason Podcast, I spoke with José Ignacio Guédez, a member of the opposition party La Causa R, about the dire state of economic and political disaster in Venezuela, why it's important to remove Maduro from power and have a free and fair election, and why the troubled history of American intervention into Latin America complicates the way forward to a peaceful transition of power.
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