Tony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, said Tuesday the new administration will continue to recognize Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela rather than the democratically elected president, Nicolás Maduro. Blinken also said the U.S. would continue to impose harsh sanctions, which have crippled the Venezuelan economy.
In January 2020, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó stormed parliament with a group of lawmakers in an effort to forcefully swear himself in as the country’s leader. Guaidó and his supporters were eventually pushed back by police with tear gas outside of government buildings. Guaidó has failed to consolidate power since 2019’s unsuccessful coup attempt.
Ongoing U.S. sanctions have crippled the Venezuelan economy; research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimates as many as 40,000 Venezuelans have died due to sanctions.