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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CARACAS - Juan Guaido "tried everything" in 2019 to force Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro from power, to no avail. Yet the 36-year-old opposition leader has vowed to re-launch the offensive this year.
The National Assembly speaker is set to be re-elected to his position on Sunday, but it is the top job currently occupied by socialist leader Maduro that he's after.
Just under a year since declaring himself acting president -- in a move recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries -- Guaido pledges to "resist and insist."
His power struggle began brightly when Guaido showed ingenuity and skill in rallying supporters to protest and defying Maduro's authority in a number of ways -- including flouting a travel ban.
But his challenge petered out over the second half of 2019, though he's never given up his demand for the "usurper" Maduro to resign so a transitional government can take over ahead of new elections.
Guaido, like many in the international community, considers the leader's 2018 re-election to have been fraudulent.
"Juan is ready to take on the challenge, there's no doubt about that," lawmaker Olivia Lozano, a member of Guaido's Popular Will party, told AFP.
"I'm a survivor, not a victim," Guaido has said, recalling how he survived one of Venezuela's worst natural disasters as a teenager: the Vargas tragedy of December 1999, when mudslides caused by torrential rain killed thousands of people.
Back then, Guaido lived with his mother and five siblings in the coastal state of Vargas.
"I know what it means to be hungry," he said.
Hunger is something millions in his country are intimately familiar with now. Venezuela's economy has crumbled, with shortage of cash, food, medicine and other basics that have led millions to flee. -AFP
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