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VENEZUELA: GUAIDÓ RETURNS TO VENEZUELA FULL OF FIGHT

VENEZUELA: GUAIDÓ RETURNS TO VENEZUELA FULL OF FIGHT

Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela's interim president by more than 50 countries, is willing to go as far as it takes to bring "freedom" to his country. That's what Guaidó told a GZERO correspondent at Caracas' Simón Bolívar Airport, moments after he rushed into a wildly cheering crowd of supporters. See the full video here.

Guaidó's return after nearly two weeks abroad reignites the contest for power between him and President Nicolás Maduro, who still controls much of the government and the military despite plummeting popularity and a deepening humanitarian crisis.


Looking ahead: Guaidó has tremendous popular momentum – enjoying a 61 percent approval rating, compared to just 14 percent for Maduro – but to sustain support he'll need to show his supporters that he can make progress towards alleviating Venezuela's humanitarian crisis and achieving a political transition.

President Maduro, meanwhile, continues to cling to power with the allegiance of senior military figures as well as massive backing from the government and intelligence services of Cuba. But the cash flow that underpins the generals' loyalty to Maduro is drying up fast under harsher US sanctions. Guaidó's best hope for a quick transition is to convince some of the key brass to break with the regime.

Over all of this drama hangs the prospect of outside military intervention – an option that US policymakers and even some of Guaidó's advisers have hinted is still on the table. But none of Venezuela's neighbors support the idea of a fresh yanqui invasion in the region, and the risks associated might be too high even for the most hawkish Washington interventionists.

That said, the Trump administration has staked itself to a policy of regime change in Venezuela, and no one hates looking like a loser more than Donald Trump.

The bottom line: There have been many moments at which the Venezuela crisis seemed like it was coming to a head – Guaidó's return to his home soil makes the next few days critical to watch.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

Ten years ago this week, a powerful earthquake off the coast of eastern Japan triggered a tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. A decade and dozens of decommissioned reactors later, nuclear energy still supplies about 10 percent of global electricity, but its future remains uncertain amid post-Fukushima safety concerns.

As more countries pledge to curb emissions to mitigate climate change, nuclear could serve as a clean(ish) and reliable source of energy. But investing more in nuclear comes with tradeoffs.

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This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the czar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, life looking better every day in the United States, coronavirus land. But I thought I'd talk about, this week, all of this cancel culture that everyone's talking about right now. If you're on the wrong political side, your opponents are trying to shut you down and you take massive umbrage. I see this everywhere, and it's starting to annoy.

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"Apocalyptic" protests in Senegal: At least five people have been killed in clashes with police as protests over poverty, unemployment, and the jailing of a popular politician rock the West African nation of Senegal. Ousmane Sonko, who heads the opposition Movement to Defend Democracy (M2D) and is considered the most viable challenger to current president Mackie Sall, was accused of rape in February and arrested last week. Sonko says the charges are a politically motivated attempt to remove him from politics before the 2024 presidential election. His supporters immediately hit the streets, voicing a range of grievances including joblessness and poverty. Though youth unemployment has fallen over the past decade, it still exceeds eight percent and close to two-thirds of the country's 16 million people are under the age of 25. As Sonko supporters pledge to continue protests this week, Senegal's head of conflict resolution says the country is "on the verge of apocalypse."

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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