There's a report in Panampost that claims that Jimmy Story has communicated President Joe Biden / State Department's new Venezuela policy to Juan Guaido. If true (big if), it amounts to an ultimatum along lines of "you have till December 1st to sort your shit out".* Given that source of information is most definitely not an authoritative one on issues pertaining State Department, we put the question to Ambassador Story and will report / update here if a reply is forthcoming. But what if, indeed, it is true? Shall we speculate?
Juan Guaido was never going to achieve a single thing. On January 10th 2019, I attended a meeting in Washington with State Dept. officials in charge of Venezuela. Before we got to sit down, we were told in no uncertain terms by presiding official "we like Leopoldo." The remark was made nearly two weeks BEFORE Guaido "decided" -with State Dept.'s support- to declare himself "interim president" in the middle of the street. The whole thing was cooked by "we like Leopoldo" officials and the real thing. As every signature project involving Leopoldo Lopez, Guaido's "presidency" and his "Cese de usurpación, gobierno de transición y elecciones libres" plan have been a spectacular failure. Though I recall thinking "how can I retort to that? What can I possibly say to someone who thinks that Leopoldo Lopez is an acceptable solution to chavismo?"
State managed to get over 50 nations to align with its policy, and all they got in return was to strengthen Nicolas Maduro's grip. In a subsequent charade (April 30 2019), this time also involving Donald Trump's National Security Council, a "coup against Maduro" was orchestrated. The mastermind was -again- Lopez. "We like Leopoldo" officials bought his insane plan, whose aim was to oust Maduro, with strategic and critical help from Maduro's Supreme Court Chief, Maduro's Minister of Defence, and one of Maduro's most trusted boligarchs. Not all was lost -for Lopez- however. He left house arrest that day, and holed himself up in Spain's Embassy in Caracas, from where he left Venezuela afterwards.
Regardless of location, Lopez managed to install his puppets all over the place. With "we like Leopoldo" officials' undimmed support, key Lopez collaborators were given strategic positions in CITGO, in Washington, in Madrid, in London, were put in "control of asset recovery", of "negotiations with bond holders", in multilaterals... As master puppeteer, Lopez placed his people where he wanted, Guaido being first one of them. But none of that would alter reality on the streets of Caracas, nor indeed within Venezuelan borders, where neither him, nor his ever shrinking adoring fan-base have any control whatsoever.
Trump was never going to repeat, that was as clear as Guaido's chances. The Biden administration finds itself in a situation which it did not create, having to deal with a policy formulated by "we like Leopoldo" officials devoid of the most basic scepticism. In Venezuela, no single "opposition" politician can truthfully claim to speak for all. Lopez, and this is a widely known fact, is arguably -along Diosdado and perhaps Jorge Rodriguez- the most toxic political figure in Venezuela. Nonetheless, Trump's officials decided he was the choice, but what informed that decision? Lobbying of course, but was there any substance to the bullshit?
Neither Guaido nor his master deserve support. Of any kind. They will go down as the two imbeciles that squandered the good will and political support of over 50 nations, wasting a precious opportunity unlikely to manifest again. Lopez travels the world these days as if he is, and not Guaido, the actual "interim president" of Venezuela. It is, without question, the closest thing to real power that he has had, and the thought of what a real presidency will bring must obnubilate Lopez's every waking moment. The question as to who he and Guaido represent remains as relevant as ever though, regardless of what has been claimed in the Panampost.
* In Guaido / Lopez / "we like Leopoldo" officials speak, "sorting shit out" means participating in elections where Maduro will still have everything under control, give back control of some of the goodies (CITGO) received from the U.S. government, and agree to a sort of cohabitation designated by chavismo. In exchange, Guaido / Lopez will travel the world lobbying for Maduro, they will actively seek: a) lifting of all Treasury sanctions, and b) immunity for all their friends (Raul Gorrin, Alejandro Betancourt, Francisco Convit, Danilo Diazgranados, Luis and Ignacio Oberto, Francisco Morillo, Alex Saab, Mauro Libi, Julio Herrera Velutini, etc., etc., etc.).