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South Florida Expats Heartened As Guaidó Retakes Venezuela's National Assembly

Andrea Hernandez Briceno
Venezuelan opposition leader and widely recognized interim President Juan Guaido after being sworn in by majority opposition legislators as head of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Things haven’t gone so well lately for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. And last weekend it looked like the country’s socialist regime had left him powerless. But Guaidó made a comeback on Tuesday that heartened Venezuelan expats here in South Florida.

It’s been almost a year now since Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate president — with the backing of the U.S. and more than 50 other countries. But Guaidó’s movement to oust authoritarian socialist President Nicolás Maduro seemed to have run out of steam in recent months.

That looked especially true on Sunday — when Maduro installed a replacement to Guaidó as head of Venezuela’s National Assembly. Images of Guaidó being barred from entering the congress chamber were a blow to Venezuela’s opposition.

But Tuesday morning Guaidó pulled a counterattack when he and other opposition legislators — who are the majority in the Assembly — plowed their way back into the chamber. They’d already re-elected Guaidó as Assembly president — and, more importantly, they helped restore his image as a figure who can confront Maduro and his regime.

Guaidó’s defiance also lifted the anti-Maduro diaspora’s spirits in South Florida. One Venezuelan expat leader, Luis Gonzalez del Castillo, said it’s “important because it showed we can still stand up to Maduro’s corrupt regime and the traitors within our own movement.”

Luis Parra — the opposition lawmaker Maduro picked to replace Guaidó — still insists he heads the Assembly. Parra was kicked out of his opposition party last month when he was accused of involvement in a scandal within Venezuela's food subsidy program. He denies the charge.