Trump considering recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader as legitimate President

President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Venezuela's opposition leader as the legitimate president ...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 5:47 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 5:47 PM

President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Venezuela's opposition leader as the legitimate president of the country, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN, a significant move that would increase pressure on Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump is weighing recognizing the country's National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the legitimate Venezuelan leader after Maduro, a socialist authoritarian who has presided over Venezuela's political and economic crisis, was sworn in last week for a second term.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Embargoes and sanctions

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

International relations

International relations and national security

John Bolton

Latin America

Nicolas Maduro

North America

Political Figures - Intl

Political Figures - US

Politics

South America

The Americas

United States

US federal government

Venezuela

White House

The Venezuelan opposition, the United States and dozens of other countries have decried Maduro's presidency illegitimate and the country's constitution says a presidential vacancy can be filled by the president of the National Assembly.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis declined to confirm that Trump is weighing this step, but said the US has "expressed its support for Juan Guaido, who as President of the democratically-elected National Assembly has courageously declared his constitutional authority to invoke Article 233 and call for free and fair elections."

The Trump administration is also considering leveling its harshest set of sanctions yet against Venezuela's oil industry, weighing actions as severe as a full-fledged embargo of Venezuelan oil, two sources briefed on the matter said.

The Trump administration has previously weighed imposing sanctions against Venezuelan oil, but Trump ultimately rejected taking that additional step after an internal analysis showed it would lead to an increase in US gas prices. A full oil embargo would cause gas prices to rise by 15 cents a gallon for about six months, a former senior administration official said of the analysis.

"The United States is currently considering all diplomatic, political, and economic tools in its arsenal in response to the usurpation of power by the illegitimate Maduro regime," Marquis said when asked if the US was considering an oil embargo.

The regional Organization of American States has said it won't recognize Maduro's term. The May 2018 election that returned him to power was boycotted by opposition groups and largely discredited by opponents in Venezuela, with hundreds of complaints of election violations and a low turnout.

The Organization of American States said last week that its member nations voted 19-6, with eight abstentions, to not recognize the legitimacy of Maduro's government. One of those nations, Paraguay, announced Thursday it was breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela and closing its embassy there.

Maduro defended his legitimacy in a speech last week after his swearing-in in Caracas, decrying what he called a "permanent campaign of lies" about him and his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

"We're a real democracy and I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, I am a truly democratic president," he said in a televised address.

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, has been one of the top proponents of ratcheting up US actions against Venezuela to bring more pressure to bear on the Maduro regime, the sources said.

And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday said he asked Trump to recognize Guaido as "the legitimate transitional President of Venezuela if the National Assembly invokes Article 233 of the constitution."

The Trump administration has been laying the groundwork to recognize Guaido as the legitimate Venezuelan leader over the past week, with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Bolton issuing a series of statements.

In a statement on Friday, Bolton expressed US support for "the courageous decision of the National Assembly President, Juan Guaido, to invoke protections under Venezuela's constitution and declare that Maduro does not legitimately hold the country's presidency."

And after Guaido was briefly detained Sunday by Venezuelan government operatives, Pence lambasted Maduro as a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power" and reiterated Bolton's support for Guaido.

As the US weighs recognizing Guaido, it must also contend with whether the Venezuelan opposition -- which has been divided on whether Guaido should be sworn in as president while Maduro remains in office -- is ready to take the step.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 37°
Muscle Shoals
Mostly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 35°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 35°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 680847

Reported Deaths: 8355
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby757471115
Davidson70180656
Knox38327390
Hamilton34288326
Rutherford32907282
Unassigned22485127
Williamson21226138
Sumner18067229
Out of TN1593479
Wilson14327154
Montgomery14229148
Sullivan12473210
Washington11818191
Blount11784123
Maury10903123
Bradley1066290
Sevier10406108
Putnam9896136
Madison9031178
Robertson757085
Hamblen6910109
Anderson6723102
Greene6548108
Tipton616265
Gibson5594111
Coffee557281
Cumberland535272
Dickson532677
Bedford530386
Roane515078
Carter5074112
Lawrence506369
McMinn503273
Warren496253
Loudon490750
Dyer471582
Jefferson470575
Monroe452162
Hawkins441768
Franklin407958
Obion398978
Fayette391751
Rhea379156
Lincoln376144
Cocke341256
Marshall340336
Weakley338248
Cheatham333529
Henderson331656
Campbell319740
Giles319371
White308543
Hardeman307652
Carroll306159
Hardin296047
Lauderdale292831
Macon287050
Wayne260019
Henry259158
Overton251342
DeKalb241241
Haywood238545
McNairy236842
Smith230027
Trousdale228614
Marion226631
Scott223631
Hickman221734
Fentress212331
Grainger207235
Claiborne205522
Johnson201232
Morgan187114
Crockett180038
Bledsoe173210
Chester172237
Unicoi165943
Cannon156619
Lake154519
Decatur146426
Polk141817
Grundy139120
Union137721
Sequatchie135618
Humphreys132017
Benton131935
Lewis127220
Meigs113316
Stewart104320
Jackson103421
Perry94525
Clay93426
Houston93322
Moore7949
Pickett67419
Van Buren6567
Hancock4026

Community Events