What Is Happening in Venezuela? How It Got Here and Why It Matters

Venezuela in Crisis: Guaidó vs. Maduro

Just two weeks after President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was sworn in for a second term, an opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, declared himself the interim president, directly challenging the country’s leadership.

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across the country on Wednesday in support of Mr. Guaidó, and the United States, Canada and many Latin American countries quickly recognized him as the legitimate head of state.

Mr. Maduro, in return, severed remaining diplomatic ties with the United States and ordered its embassy personnel out of the country within 72 hours, a deadline the Americans said they would ignore.

“I am the only president of Venezuela,” Mr. Maduro told the country, speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace on Wednesday. “We do not want to return to the 20th century of gringo interventions and coups d’état.”

Here is how Venezuela arrived at this moment.

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