Venezuela's Guaido says US to continue backing him as leader

By Ezra Fieser and Andreina Itriago Acosta

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido said the Biden administration will back him as the country’s interim president through 2022, even as other nations abandon him and his support slips at home.

“The U.S. and allied countries reaffirmed for this year and next,” he told Bloomberg News after a press conference in Caracas on Monday when asked about foreign recognition.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Monday that the U.S. supports the Venezuelan opposition and Guaido, whom he referred to as interim president. Sunday’s regional elections, in which Nicolas Maduro’s government won a majority of seats, were flawed, he said.

The statement did not address the U.S. position on Guaido as of next year.

The U.S. and dozens of other countries threw their support behind Guaido, the president of the legislature, as the constitutional leader in January 2019, maintaining elections won by Maduro were fraudulent.

Yet, Maduro has kept firm control over the government and country. After stacking the electoral system in its favor, his socialist party further strengthened its position in the vote for governors and local officials Sunday.

Even with the U.S. backing, Guaido would be left with a whittled-down number of supporters after the National Assembly’s legal mandate expires in January. Some Venezuelan political parties that rallied around him in 2019 are opposed to extending his term and foreign governments have been dropping their support, people with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg last month.

Guaido, 38, who assumed the role as interim president in 2019, set up a shadow government, including parallel diplomatic missions, and took control of state-owned assets in foreign countries, including the U.S. oil refiner Citgo Holding Inc.

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