Juan Guaido interview: ‘All Venezuelans want change’ | Talk to Al Jazeera

In January 2019, Juan Guaido, the almost unknown president of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly took his country and the world by surprise: Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela.

The justification was that President Nicolas Maduro was not a legitimately elected leader but an usurpator and dictator.

Venezuelans, desperate for economic and political change, rushed to show their support. And with the US leading the charge, nearly 60 countries followed suit.

But 12 months later, the promise of political change seems to have evaporated.

With help from China, Russia, Iran and others Maduro has circumvented harsh economic sanctions meant to force him out. Negotiations to allow new presidential elections have failed miserably, as has Guaido’s appeal to the army to support regime change.

Maduro has retaliated by arresting or exiling scores of opponents.

Driven by worsening poverty and hyperinflation, disheartened Venezuelans have joined the unprecedented exodus of millions of their compatriots to neighbouring countries.

On January 5, soldiers surrounded parliament to block Guaido’s reelection as speaker of the house while the pro-government minority named someone of its choosing.

While much of the international community calls the latest conflict escalation a sham, and continues to recognise Guaido as the leader of Venezuela’s only independent institution, the crisis seems to be reaching a new tipping point. And the possibility of regime change seems like a very distant possibility.

So, what is next for Guaido and Venezuela? Has Guaido underestimated Maduro’s resilience? And how can Guaido stop the military-based government from consolidating its power?

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Iran, also called Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.

Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.

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    Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the south.

    Russia spans more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. Moscow is the country’s capital.

    The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 and since 1993 Russia been governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia is a major great power, with the world’s second-most powerful military, and the fourth-highest military expenditure. As a recognised nuclear-weapon state, the country possesses the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

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    Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America with diverse natural attractions. Along its Caribbean coast are tropical resort islands including Isla de Margarita and the Los Roques archipelago. To the northwest are the Andes Mountains and the colonial town of Mérida, a base for visiting Sierra Nevada National Park. Caracas, the capital, is to the north.

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