Nicolas Maduro

Andrea Hernandez Briceno / AP

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.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Venezuela is starting the year with a dramatic new twist to its political crisis.

On Sunday, allies of President Nicolás Maduro hijacked a session of the country's National Assembly while security forces locked out the body's president, Juan Guaidó, and his supporters. Meanwhile, inside the chamber, lawmakers allied to Maduro's government quickly selected a new head of the chamber.

Venezuelan security forces on Sunday blocked opposition leader Juan Guaidó from a special session of the National Assembly, where he was expected to be reelected as the legislature's leader — an apparent bid by President Nicolás Maduro to outmaneuver the man who has staked a rival claim to the presidency.

In Guaidó's absence, supporters of Maduro elected one of their own to head the body. Hours later, however, a majority of National Assembly lawmakers met in emergency session elsewhere, reelecting Guaidó and accusing Maduro of attempting a "parliamentary coup."

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

MATIAS DELACROIX / AP

Senior Trump administration officials discussed plans to “increase pressure” over the coming year on Venezuela’s embattled ruler, Nicolás Maduro, with top opposition leaders at the State Department this week, Colombian and Venezuelan opposition officials confirmed to McClatchy and el Nuevo Herald.

The State Department hosted four of Venezuela’s largest opposition parties, starting with one-on-one sessions that began earlier this week before all the parties gathered together on Wednesday.

JUAN BARRETO / AFP/Getty Images

A newly negotiated government funding compromise on Capitol Hill includes nearly a half-billion dollars in humanitarian aid to support Venezuelan refugees and codifies sanctions against the regime of embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolás Maduro.

Desmond Boylan / AP

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, is something capitalist happening in the socialist countries of Latin America? We're talking about the sudden dollarization of Cuba and Venezuela.

Beto Barata / AP

This story was updated at 8:30 pm November 13, 2019. 

A group of Venezuelan opposition supporters took over the Venezuelan embassy in Brazil on Wednesday. By the evening, the Brazilian government said it had intervened to usher them out and return the mission to Venezuelan government control. At the same time Miami’s congressional delegation in Washington announced a new caucus to represent the interests of Venezuelan expats.

Rafael Urdaneta Rojas / AP

Are Venezuela and Colombia headed for war? Believe it or not, that's the big worry in South America right now.

Susan Walsh / AP

COMMENTARY

When he was Undersecretary of State in the early 2000s, John Bolton insisted communist Cuba had an “offensive biological warfare research and development” program.

Cuba did have an advanced genetic engineering, biotech and vaccine complex. And Cuba was still ruled by Fidel Castro, a despot capable of such nefarious doings. Still, there was no evidence, and none ever surfaced, that cash-strapped Cuba was exporting anthrax instead of vastly more profitable meningitis vaccines.

But that sort of hawkish illusion, or delusion, is what the world came to expect of Bolton – whom President Trump fired this week as his national security advisor.

YouTube

COMMENTARY

There’s a video Venezuelan expats are sharing on WhatsApp like a bottle of Cacique rum at a beach party.

It’s got a guy dressed as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, shackled in a small cage, being paraded around a plaza in Spain by an effigy of Donald Trump. “Maduro” is dressed in one of his garish Venezuelan-flag track suits, making vulgar gestures to the crowd, as a smiling “Trump” takes the captured despot on a perp walk.

It’s funny.

It’s also fantasy.

Ingebjorg Karstad / Norwegian Refugee Council

The U.N. announced last week it has to ramp up humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. But it admits this new effort to deliver more food, medicine and other essentials to Venezuela will be “modest in terms of responding to the scale of needs” there. A new survey shows as much as a fifth of Venezuela's population have fled the country – and that number is rising.

WLRN’s Luis Hernandez spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about where the Venezuela crisis is going – especially since the socialist regime critics say is responsible for the mess doesn't look to be going anywhere soon.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Thousands of Venezuelans seeking political asylum continue to live in South Florida as a bill that would grant them Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, stalls in Congress. The U.S. House attempted to fast-track the bill to pass last month, but those efforts ultimately failed before the Senate left for a six-week break. 

Leonardo Fernandez / AP

Over the weekend, Venezuelan opposition leaders warned the country's regime was poised to shut down the National Assembly. That hasn't happened — but something just as distressing to pro-democracy advocates is taking place.

JUAN BARRETO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime continued lashing out after it was hit with punishing economic sanctions earlier this month, charging three opposition lawmakers with treason and other crimes.

But the country’s leadership stopped short of dissolving the National Assembly — the Venezuelan equivalent of Congress — or calling early legislative elections as some had feared.

On Monday, the country’s Supreme Court — dominated by ruling party judges — accused three opposition congressmen of treason, conspiracy and rebellion, among other charges.

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