If you saw the State of the Union last week, you witnessed a handful of inspiring guests invited by President Trump. To the surprise of many, rightful President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, was introduced and received a standing ovation. His presence and recognition was a huge deal for Venezuelan citizens and quite frankly, the rest of the world.

The people of Venezuela have suffered under a cruel dictatorship for long enough. On April 14, 2013 Nicolás Maduro was elected president of Venezuela. Though his supporters wanted positive change, they got a heaping hand of socialist policies that have continued to ruin their beloved country. Venezuela, once the richest country in Latin America, is fighting to survive. As Americans, we have heard about the crisis in Venezuela for years. Conservative politicians use its downfall as an example of failed socialist policies, and their call for freedom is often captured on our television screens. Their currency has become close to worthless. Food and medicine are scarce. Basic necessities aren’t being met. Maduro has tight control over the government and media outlets are being censored. Though Dictador Maduro has taken away fundamental liberties from the people of Venezuela, his second election “win” made it clear how fraudulent he actually is. It is speculated that Maduro’s second term election in 2018, was a sham. Therefore, adhering to the Venezuelan Constitution, Maduro is no longer a legitimate president.

So why is Maduro still in power and who is Juan Guaidó?

Juan Guaidó is head of the National Assembly. Due to the illegitimacy of Maduro’s second election, the head of the National Assembly then assumes the role of President. Sanctions only go so far though. Unfortunately Juan Guaidó is not much of a president in practice. Maduro has the strong support and loyalty of the military. This is something Guaidó absolutely needs if he is to gain any momentum or support. However, Maduro has given his military a lot of power and favor. Once, a new President takes office these members may be held legally responsible for the human rights violations they’ve carried out.

 José, Tomás Vargas Villamediana, a Venezuelan citizen living in exile in the United States, has seen firsthand how the Maduro regime caused a quick spiral to his beloved country. Villamediana states:

“Supporting Guaidó reassures the commitment the United States has with the entire hemisphere, abiding to an extent with the Monroe Doctrine and even the Roosevelt Corollary. Maduro’s regime has strengthened its relations with Jihadist groups, arms trafficking and guerilla training camps have flourished in the past ten year, and the Maduro regime proliferated drug trafficking in the hemisphere. If President Trump is giving the US’s full support to Guaidó, then that is the man for the expected change.”

Giving Juan Guaidó recognition, especially the way President Trump did at the State of The Union, makes a statement to the world. By recognizing this man as the rightful president, President Trump is opposing Maduro’s dictatorship in full. This includes the inhumane violations of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the horrific violence he ordered on his own people, and his political corruption. Maduro has ruined Venezuela economically with socialist policies that have granted him sole dictatorial power.

So, as a respectful reflection, to all the people who call President Trump a dictator, wake up. The socialist policies and empty talking points you spew are the backbone of true dictatorship and we are witnessing it live in Venezuela.

Christina H