In a month, Venezuela’s Guaido emerged from obscurity to challenge Maduro ,
In less than a month, Juan Guaido has gone from a virtual unknown in Venezuelan politics to the country’s most-
watched figure, assuming the presidency of the opposition-controlled congress and briefly being detained by the secret police.
The salsa-loving baseball fan has animated the opposition’s upper-class base and won over many working-class
Venezuelans fed up with the country’s hyperinflationary economic collapse, who have taken to the streets demanding Maduro step down.
Yet Guaido still needs the backing of the armed forces to achieve his goal of forcing new elections.
“Today in Venezuela we are living under a dictatorship, and we need to put on enough pressure to take control,”
Guaido, the grandson of National Guard and Navy officers, said in an interview with Reuters this week.
He has proposed an amnesty for members of the military, but said members of the Maduro government who committed human rights violations should be punished.
“I do not intend to heal the wounds of 20 years, but nor do I intend to hide them.”
Guaido took the helm of the National Assembly on Jan. 5 with a call for the armed forces to recognize Maduro as a “usurper” after his May 2018 re-election vote, widely viewed as fraudulent.
The eldest of six children from a working-class family in the coastal state of Vargas, Guaido survived a devastating 1999 mudslide that posed one of the earliest tests to Chavez’s 14-year rule.
He went on to study engineering, but became involved in politics while at university and received a master’s in public
administration from George Washington University in the United States. He is married with a 1-year-old daughter.