What is the legal status of Juan Guaido?
I am getting quite pissed off that the press of too many countries stick to the "auto/self/proclamation". It is a big insult to the intelligence when they say that because , 1) it validates the dictatorship horrors of Maduro, 2) it reveals that their journalists are doing a half-assed work of covering Venezuela and were likely sent in a hurry to Caracas and did not even bother to read the constitutional dispositions. That the lefty press does that is not surprising, but when you see that still today, the DW and some other European medias perpetrate that mistake, you wonder....
A helpful summary: the election of Maduro is not considered legitimate. As such his term in office expired on January 10. As the constitution dictates this is seen as a power vacuum and the speaker of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido right now, becomes interim president of Venezuela until new elections can be held. More here.
What meant the humongous march of Saturday February 2?
|Comparison of the approximative areas covered by the Maduro|
rally (upper left) and the opposition one (down right)
1) marches inside the country were bigger than on January 23 and this time around even reached small towns and villages. It is a truly national movement, even in most chavistas stronghold that do not look that strong anymore.
2) the opposition managed that only through social media. All press and airwaves media are censored with a few limited exceptions. Thus information on marches, rallying points, etc, is done through Twitter, Facebook and Whats-app. This also bring the point that in spite of years of strangulating Venezuelan media, in the end it was all for naught.
3) the regime managed to put up a single rally in the country on Bolivar avenue that they did not manage to fill half way, whereas the opposition filled up a similar avenue AND surrounding streets. Being charitable, the regime may have gathered 25% of what the opposition did. But with two notes to make things worse: there was no parallel rally for the regime elsewhere in Venezuela; the regime had to ferry in a lot of its attendees in bus and through threat; in Caracas today large contingents of popular areas join the opposition marches.
February 2 was an immense show of force that established without the shadow of a doubt that Maduro has lost support of the country. In a normal country, he would be resigning. Here he threatens violence.
A fun note. Journalists pretend to be objective, which sometimes they think prevents them from doing their job. That I know of at least two journalists had to backtrack form their reporting of the Maduro march as having comparable strength. When they finally were shown the video evidence collected, one of them even published a follow up piece. Advice: do not worry about the headline that much in Venezuela, be sure to make your ground job (or to talk with people that do know what is going on)
Another fun note: the regime tried to photo shop their low attendance and got caught. For example a main chavista paper, Ultimas Noticias, was caught red handed posting a front page a picture next day of a chavista march years ago, when there was enthusiasm. People quickly noticed that a building existing today was not on the pic.
Where is Maduro support now?
Clearly the fight now is not of the cold war type, you know, commie versus plutocrats. It is not about oil control as the left would have you believe (Venezuela is now a small player, in a world going green). The clickable map shown here splits the separation as being between democracies and authoritarian to totalitarian countries. Draw you own conclusions.
The situation got worse today as the European Union made good its threat of recognizing Guaido if elections were not called. Now all countries that matter are against Maduro or at least shut up, with the disgraceful exception of a few like Mexico, Uruguay or Italy (though in Italy it seems to be a reflection of an internal power struggle where the 5 Stelle movement is anti everything). As for the country of Mandela, words fail me.
What can Maduro do?
He got boxed in by himself.
In a way international condemnation does not matter to the regime since so many are going to jail that they would refuse to leave power no matter what. Even though they know that neither Russia or China is in a position to offer real militar support there holding firm, so far. The changing situation would make stubbornness a risk since it could lead to some form of intervention that now would be widely supported. Their time to negotiate some exit may have passed.
The condemnation by "capitalist countries", but democratic, also means that one by one assets of the regime will be frozen and/or passed to Guaido control. This will make it impossible for the regime to manage the internal problems. People are determined now to get rid of Maduro, and going a little bit hungrier for a few weeks is not a problem for them anymore.
What can the opposition do?
Keep as going.
Keep a cool head, do not cave in any of the extremes petitions.
It has been clear for a long time that the opposition was not able to remove the regime though any pacific mean. Only international pressure has a chance at doing that with limited damage. The opposition role is to explain to the people what is going on, to keep united, and to be ready to receive control of the country when the day comes.