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Two Years After U.S. And Worldwide Recognition As President, Has Venezuela's Guaidó Lost Standing?

Ariana Cubillos
Venezuela's Juan Guaido visiting Caracas' La Lucha neighborhood last month.

The European Union stunned Venezuela's opposition this week when it announced it no longer considers Guaidó head of state. Where does it leave him?

Two years ago the U.S., and much of the world, recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president. But as the anniversary of that decision approaches next week, Guaidó’s international standing is slipping.

This week the European Union issued the stunning decision that it could no longer recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state.

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The EU — like the U.S. and almost 60 other countries — declared Guaidó Venezuela’s rightful president in 2019 because they concluded Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had won re-election unconstitutionally. Since Guaidó led the National Assembly, he was Maduro’s interim successor according to Venezuela's constitution.

But last month Maduro and his authoritarian socialist regime held parliamentary elections. Although most of the world — including the EU — called the vote a sham, a new National Assembly stuffed with Maduro loyalists was seated this week.

The EU decided Guaidó is not head of that legislature — and therefore no longer president.

The union did however say it still does not recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s president, either. And the U.S. and Great Britain do continue to endorse Guaidó as head of state.

Still, as Maduro rebuilds his power, the EU decision may signal a softening of international support for Venezuela’s opposition.