Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Op-ed by Professor Smilde in NYT: "Trump's Shout-Out Masks a Bleak Outlook for Venezuela's Guaidó"

February 6th, 2020

Professor David Smilde, the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations and Senior Associate Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research, has published an opinion piece in the New York Times weighing in on Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó’s appearance at Tuesday’s State of the Union address. The article, entitled “Trump’s Shout-Out Masks a Bleak Outlook for Venezuela’s Guaidó,” argues that Trump’s endorsement of this opposition movement leader as “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela” does not change the severity of the country’s contentious political climate. Smilde states:

Despite Mr. Trump’s show of support, at no time in the past year has Mr. Guaidó been in a worse position to unify the opposition around the type of political actions that have led to democratic transitions in authoritarian places as diverse as Poland, South Africa and Chile. Not only have opposition radicals with completely implausible plans been emboldened, United States economic sanctions have worsened an economic crisis and migratory exodus and thereby undermined the possibility of opposition street protests. Thus the Venezuela conflict seems destined to be a repeat of the long-term standoff over Cuba that for over 50 years has provided a solid base for South Florida electoral mobilization but has done little for democracy and human rights in Cuba itself.

Visit the New York Times online to read the full article.