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Guaidó visits the European Parliament. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

DAVOS — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó used an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to demand elections and call for more support from Europe.

Why it matters: Recognized as president by the U.S. but locked out of power for the past year by the regime of Nicolás Maduro, Guaidó is desperate to change an equation that tipped in Maduro's favor after a failed uprising last April.

  • Guaidó defied a travel ban in visiting Europe. He has acknowledged that Maduro could attempt to block his return, and said his presence in Davos puts members of the Venezuelan opposition in danger.
  • Guaidó was added late to the forum's agenda, and news of his impending arrival generated speculation of a meeting with President Trump. Trump left Davos yesterday, apparently without meeting Guaidó.

What he's saying: Guaidó laid out the scale of the crisis — a 75% drop in GDP, a migrant crisis that rivals Syria's as people flee in search of work and health care, and one million orphans left behind.

  • "There is murder, there is torture, but despite all of that we are here — we are united," he said.
  • As for why he had thus far failed to displace Maduro, Guaidó said outside powers were propping him up, and "perhaps we underestimated the capability of the dictatorship to do bad."

Guaidó said he was in Davos to keep the eyes of the world on Venezuela, but also called on Europe in particular for more support, including for Venezuelan refugees.

  • He said the world needed to come together to block the illegal gold trade, which provides critical revenues to the regime.
  • He also called for international backing for elections this year. "Only in a dictatorship do you have to ask for free elections," he said.

The backdrop: Venezuela's economic crisis is almost unfathomable given its vast oil resources and former prosperity. The migration crisis has severely strained the resources of neighbors like Colombia.

  • Colombian President Ivan Duque sat in the front row during Guaidó's speech, and embraced and conferred with him after it concluded.

Driving the news: On Jan. 5, security forces blocked Guaidó from entering the National Assembly, which he leads, and a Maduro loyalist was sworn in to replace him. That move was condemned internationally, and the U.S. continues to consider Guaidó the president of the assembly and the country.

Go deeper: Maduro survives 2019.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
58 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.