The administration of our “America First” president is leading an international and multilateral effort to restore popular sovereignty and human rights in what was once the richest country in South America. This is an historical irony worth welcoming. Today, after a weekend of protests in Caracas, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland, among others, joined the growing number of countries recognizing 35-year-old Juan Guaidò as president of Venezuela.
It’s a trend that Donald Trump started. Last month the opposition-controlled National Assembly designated Guaidò president after the disputed inauguration of socialist autocrat Nicolás Maduro. On January 23, Trump validated the assembly’s decision and mobilized the U.S. government behind Guaidò’s democratic revolution.
The president of the Organization of American States, as well as the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, and Australia, followed Trump’s lead. Israel recognized Guaidò a few days later. Now the Europeans have joined the bandwagon.
Two decades of socialism have impoverished and corrupted Venezuela. The United States and Canada say they will send humanitarian aid, putting the generals who continue to support Maduro on defense. “To the Venezuelan military high command, now is the time to stand on the side of the Venezuelan people,” John Bolton Tweeted on February 2. The military is all that stands between Maduro and the abyss. His Cuban puppeteers, and his Russian, Chinese, and Iranian allies, will be dealt a major setback if the armed forces abandon Maduro and new elections are held.
The situation is fluid and dangerous. But the number of Guaidò’s friends is rising as Maduro grows ever more isolated. And given the ruin Maduro has brought to Venezuela, Guaidò needs all the friends he can muster.
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