On 5 January, Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who proclaimed himself the rightful President of Venezuela last January, despite an internationally observed electoral victory by President Nicolas Maduro, was denied entrance to parliament by government security forces.
A video was released of Guaidó climbing a fence outside the parliament building and being restrained by security forces.
In a chaotic scene inside parliament, a quick hand vote was taken and Luis Parra, a local politician loyal to President Maduro, was declared the new president of the National Assembly.
Parra claimed to have won the votes of 81 legislators. Maduro acknowledged Parra the victor, saying that the congress had a “new board of directors.”
Hours later, some 81 legislators who are loyal to Guaidó voted him as the legitimate president of the National Assembly in an “alternative” session.
Following the pro-Guaidó vote, the Maduro government released a statement confirming that Luis Parra was now the official leader of the National Assembly.
Guaidó’s strongest support continues to be the U.S. government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the installation of Luis Parra as head of the National Assembly was “farcical,” and he confirmed the U.S. still recognizes Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
Pompeo went on to claim that Maduro was clinging to power only through “bribery and intimidation,” offering no evidence. Just days before, Elliot Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, accused Maduro of accepting a $500,000 bribe but offered no evidence.
Last month, Pompeo compared Maduro to former Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu stating, “In July of 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu said capitalism would come to Romania when apples grew on poplar trees – and by December he was hanging from a rope. The end will come for Maduro as well. We just don’t know what day.”
This past weekend, Guaidó called for street protests to oppose the Maduro government. Unlike the tens of thousands he mobilized a year ago after declaring himself interim President, this time, only a few hundred people turned out.
TREND FORECAST: Despite Guaidó’s failing efforts to mobilize support among Venezuelans, we forecast the United States will continue its efforts to overthrow the Maduro government and install Guaidó as president.

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