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Venezuelans losing hope with Guaido as savior

CARACAS/PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela: The Venezuelans are growing frustrated that opposition leader Juan Guaido can dislodge President Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

After the April 30 insurrection swiftly unravelled, with troops remaining in their barracks and key government officials refusing to change sides, many Venezuelans aren’t so sure.

Reuters news agency reports that interviews with more than two dozen people across Venezuela shows many people have grown frustrated by the slow pace of change amid the hardships of daily life. Several said they were losing hope that Guaido could dislodge Maduro.

“We’re on track but it’s the wrong track,” said Rafael Narvaez, a taxi driver in the western coastal city of Punto Fijo.

Narvaez said he had been full of hope on April 30 when he saw Guaido appear with military officers in a video posted on Twitter saying it was time to rise up against Maduro.

“I thought that finally the moment had come to recover our country,” Narvaez, 43, said. “Now I’m disappointed.”

Analysts said the most likely outcome now is for the status quo to continue as Maduro gains confidence that his crackdown on the opposition will go relatively unpunished and Guaido seeks a new strategy to keep a weary public energized.

When Guaido, the speaker of the National Assembly, proclaimed a rival presidency in January in a bold challenge to Maduro, he injected new hope into Venezuela’s fragmented opposition. With most Western nations saying Maduro’s reelection last year was rigged, Guaido cited the constitution to announce an interim presidency until fresh elections could be held.

Washington backed him and imposed tough new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, with the aim of forcing Maduro and his allies from power.