Background Briefing: January 23, 2019
Trump Recognizes Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s Interim President
We begin with the widespread demonstrations across Venezuela by supporters of the opposition to the Maduro government on the day of the anniversary of the 1958 uprising which overthrew a military dictatorship. David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America who has researched Venezuela for the past 25 years and has lived there for 15 years, joins us to discuss his article at the Conversation “Venezuelans reject Maduro presidency – but most would oppose foreign military operation to oust him.” We assess the impact of the President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido declaring himself interim president of Venezuela with a number of South American countries having already recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state followed by President Trump’s move to recognize him as the country’s interim president which prompted Maduro to break off relations with the United States. And since Trump Administration officials met with rebellious Venezuelan military officers back in September but decided not to support their coup plot, we will explore what options there are for the vast majority of beleaguered and battered Venezuelans to remove from power the unpopular and incompetent Maduro who has brought an oil-rich country to the brink of starvation and collapse.
Nancy Closes the House Door on Trump’s SOTU
Then we examine Trump’s letter to House Majority Leader Pelosi vowing to deliver his State Of The Union speech from the House chamber in spite of Pelosi’s earlier request that he not show up on January 29 or deliver his speech elsewhere or in writing, as long as the government remains shut down. John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington D.C. who worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years and served as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff, joins us to explain how Trump cannot gatecrash the House to deliver his SOTU speech but has to be invited by the Speaker, Madam Pelosi.
Mexico’s President Tutors Trump on How to Curtail Immigration from Central America
Then finally we go to Mexico City to speak with Dr. John Mill Ackerman, a professor at the Institute of Legal Research at U.N.A.M. and the editor of the Mexican Law Review as well as a columnist for La Jornada and the weekly magazine Processo. He joins us to discuss why the Mexican press is downplaying revelations that former President Pena Nieto took a $100 million bribe from the drug lord El Chapo and Mexico’s new president AMLO’s efforts to get Trump to deal with violence and corruption in Central America which are at the root of why migrants seek refuge in the United States.