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Venezuelan President Nicholas Madura secured another six-year term in May last year in an election widely seen as a sham by his opponents but not by his supporters, Russia and China. Things didn't work out the way Madura had planned as the losing candidate, Juan Guaido, declared himself as the interim president in defiance of the victory claimed by Madura, who had become the president after the death of the charismatic Hugo Chavez. Who will retain power rests with the army and CNN reported that the self-styled president Guaido has now made overtures to the military, requesting that they work with him.

Guaido leads opposition

Guaido is new to politics and has led the opposition to Madura, who did his cause no good by taking the Venezuelan economy to the brink with widespread discontent and violence.

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There is hyperinflation and in Caracas, the most lucrative profession is extortion and kidnapping. The omens are not good for Madura who is now facing the biggest challenge to his rule.

US not happy

The US president was always unhappy with Madura for his anti-American stand and along with Canada has recognized Guaido as the president. However, Madura also has support and both Russia and China have backed the beleaguered president.

The army

The army holds the key as to who rules Venezuela. Though the self-styled president Guaido has made overtures to the army, they have not so far indicated they will support him. It was reported by en.rfi.fr that the army is solidly behind Madura and has thrown its support behind him.

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One reason for this is that the USA is not looked on favourably by nationist elements in Venezuela and the army would not like Venezuela to become a lackey of the US.

Thus, despite the challenge by Guaido who is backed by the USA, the chances of him coming to power look a little remote. What is more likely, is a crackdown by the army on dissent and that will perhaps lead to further unrest in Venezuela.

The US would like to see the back of Madura and this has led to the recognition of Guido as the president. Madura has reacted by cutting ties with the United States and ordering the US embassy to close down within 48 hours. In a statement, the embattled Madura condemned the United States and Trump [VIDEO] who is firing on all cylinders, saying they wanted to have a proxy government.

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Army support

The situation is not rosy for the USA which backs the opposition leader Guaido, as the defence minister, Vladimir Padrino, flanked by generals of the military high command in aTV broadcast, clearly stated that Madura was the country's, legitimate leader. The entire ensemble in full military regalia declared that they would not bend to foreign intervention in an address broadcast by Venezuela state television.