President Maduro Consolidates Power As The Opposition Grows Weaker

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Backed opposition in Venezuela has spent years trying to dislodge authoritarians President Nicolas Maduro. Nothing has worked instead, as John Otis reports Maduro has consolidated power, while the opposition appears to be growing weaker by the day. It wasn't long ago that Maduro's days appeared to be numbered. His oil rich country was facing its worst economic meltdown in history as well as crippling U. S sanctions. Nearly 60 nations recognised opposition leader Kwon Guido as Venezuela's rightful head of state in January. Why, though, was a guest of honor at President Trump's State of the Union address here this evening? A very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate president of Venezuela. Juan Guido. Mr President, please take this message, but Nicolas Maduro is still ensconced in the presidential palace. The Venezuelan military has ignored y those calls to mutiny. Anti government protests have petered out. Meanwhile, the opposition is split between moderates who favor negotiations and hardliners who want military action to oust Maduro. The hardline strategy backfired in May, when a tiny force of exiled Venezuelan soldiers tried to invade their homeland. They were quickly captured or killed. So is very stock for us. Right now. We have a very, very complicated situation. That's unhealthy. Alvarado Ah, lawmaker with an opposition party called First Justice. The government jailed several party members. Then last month in a legal maneuver, it replaced the leaders of first justice and two other opposition parties, with politicians friendly to Maduro. Alvarado claims these new party bosses were paid off to switch sides. First, they persecute the literature off our party. Then they tried to divide us on DH. Then they replace the leadership of our party with new months that received the money off Maduro. The Venezuelan government ignored NPR's requests for comment. Chef Ramsay of the Washington office on Latin America, says Maduro wants to weaken but not eliminate the opposition. It is ultimately useful for the regime to point to the existence of opposition politicians in Venezuela, as it allows them to say that they live in a democracy. Maduro controls nearly every government institution. Except for the National Assembly, which is led by Juan Guido. But now the opposition is talking about boycotting this year's legislative elections because of fears of vote rigging. If the opposition does boycott why, though, will no longer be president of the Legislature. Jeff Ramsey notes that this post is the basis for his claim to be Venezuela's legitimate head of state. The international community is going to be at a crossroads where they'll have to decide whether to continue recognizing one way, although as interim president Venezuela at a recent rally in Caracas. Why, though, tried to buck up his followers, But if there's a political physical office, you know He acknowledged that they're worn down and frustrated. But he insisted the opposition would outlast Maduro. No, only are the wellbore idea. They are not going to defeat us. Why, though, proclaimed, We are still here

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