Opposition leader Juan Guaido lost his position as president of Venezuela’s National Assembly on … [+]
Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, lost his post as leader of the National Assembly on Sunday. He was replaced by a former opposition colleague, Luis Parra, a representative from the state of Yaracuy, governed by the ruling Socialists United (PSUV).
Guaido considers Parra a weak opposition figure. He was kicked out of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, a coalition of parties opposed to PSUV. Guaido and allies called Parra’s victory a “coup”.
Everyday there is a new coup in Venezuela, according to just about every Venezuelan politician.
Luis Parra, new National Assembly leader, speaks with the press before declaring himself parliament … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
Guaido’s ouster means he is no longer the highest level elected official in the land after president Nicolas Maduro. That title now goes to Parra, a man Washington is unlikely to consider Venezuela’s “interim president”. Washington will either have to recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s leader, recognize Parra, or painstakingly stick with Guaido who has failed to convince the rank and file of the Venezuelan military to jump the PSUV ship.
The National Assembly is majority run by opposition politicians. But PSUV politicians and a few opposition figures unhappy with Guaido’s leadership voted for Parra, according to Spanish newswire EFE.
Guaido and other opposition leaders either did not vote. Some were held back from doing so. The Assembly leadership vote is not done by public ballot.
Guaido said on his Twitter account earlier today that Maduro’s military police stopped numerous officials from entering the National Assembly, apparently preventing them from voting.
Venezuela’s opposition parties are numerous and often have competing interests along party lines and among individuals. Parra is not a PSUV politician.
It is unclear if Guaido will be able to force the anti-PSUV Democratic Unity Roundtable — of which Parra is no longer a member — to toughen up and rally around a single focus, getting rid of Maduro, now that they have lost leadership in the legislature.