With the announcement by Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó and other opposition parties that conditions do not currently exist for free and fair elections in Venezuela, the United States vowed they will continue to recognize the decisions made by the National Assembly, and Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, confirmed this before a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on August 4 adding that other countries felt the same.
“In our view the constitutional president of Venezuela today and after January 5, 2021, is Juan Guaidó,” Abrams told the committee.
Guaidó’s legitimacy as the constitutional president has rested on the fact that the Presidency was vacated in 2018. Opposition leaders have stated that minimum conditions for elections have not been met. As a result, the opposition will not participate in any elections that do not meet the National Assembly’s 10 minimum conditions for free, fair, and legitimate elections. Maduro’s illegitimate regime-led election body would ensure Maduro’s party would win.
In an interview on August 5 with the Associated Press (AP) in Caracas, Guaidó said boycotting the congressional elections is justified because the conditions set by the Maduro regime eroded the electoral process beyond the 2018 presidential election. That election has been considered fraudulent in large part because top opposition figures were banned from running against Maduro.
Guaidó told AP that Maduro is an “authoritarian dictator,” responsible for “genocide” and “trafficking” in gold and drugs at Venezuela’s expense.
“Look, we’re fighting here for democracy,” Guaidó told AP. “The fight we’re waging in Venezuela rises from the legitimacy of our constitution.”