Venezuela’s opposition has voted to oust self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaidó. Politicians also supported the dissolution of his government and the appointment of a commission to manage the country’s foreign assets. “To the Venezuelans: Count on me. As democrats, we will continue to defend the constitution. We will defeat the dictatorship,” Guaidó said after the vote. The opposition politician has been the public face of the fractious Venezuelan opposition since 2019.
With the move, MEPs want to try to find common ground for the elections to be held in 2024. Three of the four major opposition groups backed the bill to oust Guaidó and create a five-member commission to manage foreign assets.
Guaidó controls frozen assets
Guaidó’s Voluntad Popular party opposed the plans. Guaidó himself had urged lawmakers to replace him rather than dissolve the interim government. Both the article on the abolition of the interim government and the article on the establishment of the Property Commission were adopted with 72 votes in favour, 29 against and eight abstentions.
Guaidó has been organizing opposition in Venezuela since 2018 and has also been given control of frozen Venezuelan government assets abroad, including the Citgo oil refinery in Houston. However, the opposition led by Guaidó failed to win over the Venezuelan military or the country’s courts while President Nicholas Maduro crushed the street demonstrations.
Population is frustrated and flees the country
The United States and dozens of other states such as Germany did not recognize Maduro’s re-election in 2018. With the support of Russia, Cuba, China and Iran, Maduro has so far been able to stay in office.
The failed takeover of the Maduro government has left Venezuelans frustrated. The country’s population is struggling with high inflation, food shortages and the lowest wages in South America. According to estimates by the United Nations this year
more than seven million Venezuelans have left their country to escape poverty.
Approval values for Guaidó are six percent
In a November 2022 poll by Venezuela’s Andres Bello University, just 6 percent of Venezuelans said they would vote for Guaidó if he ran in the primaries next year — other opposition leaders received higher approval ratings.
The United States will continue to support the opposition, the assembly and the interim government “regardless of what form it takes,” a US National Security Council spokesman said. The United States wants to use sanctions to force free and fair presidential elections in 2024.
nob/kle (rtr, afp, dpa, ap)