Mar 1, 2019

Juan Guaidó vows to return to Venezuela after border clashes

Juan Guaidó (R) with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro today in Brasilia. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Five days on from what some hoped would be a decisive moment in Venezuela’s power struggle, Nicolás Maduro remains in power and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó remains outside Venezuela’s borders.

What to watch: Guaidó says he will return to Caracas this weekend despite fears he might be arrested for orchestrating the showdown at the border last Saturday. Jailing Guaidó would cross a U.S. red line and raise the risk of military confrontation.

Rob Malley, president of the International Crisis Group, recently met with allies of both Maduro and Guaidó in Venezuela. He says there’s a sense among more pragmatic actors that Trump’s forceful demands could make it harder to enter negotiations.

  • According to Malley, some close to the regime could potentially support early elections or a unity government. But they would not accept an outcome in which Guaidó simply assumes the presidency, as the U.S. is demanding. “They see him as a tool of a foreign power,” Malley says.
  • Keeping his hold on power amid the standoff allows Maduro to argue he has won, and that the opposition is responsible for inflicting suffering by backing sanctions, Malley adds.
  • “A protracted crisis does not lend itself to solutions,” he says. As for claims Maduro's support will evaporate as he runs out of hard currency, Malley argues "he will still have the ability to buy the right people off. … They have learned the art of survival. And they are continuing to learn it.”

What’s next: Malley says that “walking around Caracas, you don’t get the feeling this is a government walking on eggshells, believing a military intervention is imminent.” The regime may actually become emboldened, sensing that risk is fading. That presents another risk: miscalculation.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 659,367 — Total deaths: 30,475 — Total recoveries: 139,304.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 121,117 — Total deaths: 2,010 — Total recoveries: 961.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
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U.S. coronavirus deaths top 2,000

Nurses in masks, goggles, gloves, and protective gowns at Penn State Health St. Joseph conduct drive-thru coronavirus testing in Bern Township, Pennsylvania on March 27. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

More than 2,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. as of Saturday, per data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Why it matters: Recorded deaths in the U.S. surpassed 1,000 two days ago. The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy.

Go deeper: Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

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