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Venezuela's National Assembly head Juan Guaidó at a mass opposition rally against leader Nicolás Maduro on Jan. 23. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has taken a firm position on Venezuela by officially recognizing opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaidó as the country's president. This declaration could mark a moment either to draw a red line and walk away or to further amplify the U.S.' voice through a multilateral approach in opposing Nicolás Maduro.

The big picture: Maduro is already claiming the anti-gringo mantle, despite the rise of a domestic opposition leader legally empowered to demand his removal. To ensure long-term stability, the U.S.' most promising approach is to work with regional allies who together will bolster Guaidó's efforts to legally succeed Maduro.

Between the lines: Because Maduro's anti-gringo card is his key to survival, Trump would have to take actions that maintain the legitimacy of Guaidó’s position without adding risk by raising the American profile. There could be several dimensions to such a strategy:

  1. Economic and political incentives: A robust economic aid package dependent on a new leader being installed could make it clear to Venezuelans that their economic pain will subside once Maduro is gone. Amnesty to those willing to switch sides against Maduro could also be offered.
  2. Humanitarian assistance: The U.S. could signal that it stands with Venezuelans by increasing humanitarian assistance to refugees and expediting its asylum process.
  3. Non-militarism: A call for non-violence is critical. Maduro and his cronies should know that they will be held accountable for any violence on their part. Any hint of U.S. military activity could play into Maduro’s hands.

Multilateralism has been effective and remains the clearest path to resolving the crisis. It will ensure that those who can actually achieve the goal of displacing Maduro — the Venezuelan people, armed forces and politicians — are viewed as legitimate both inside the country and abroad.

What to watch: The next step for the U.S. is to build a robust package activities backed by regional partners — and potentially the UN — that further incentivize Venezuelans to push out Maduro. There's a real sense of urgency, as Venezuelans themselves will face greater risks without support from the international community.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and the former deputy assistant secretary of state for the House of Representatives.

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.