Perhaps Juan Guaidó is two centimeters (almost an inch) taller. The following is a very personal, perhaps superficial perception, but when listening to Guaidó, some of his exact gestures remind me of Barack Obama. This doesn’t have anything to do with trends, responsibilities or what they did or failed to do in favor or against Chavism-Madurismo and Castroism. This is pure interpretation from the sidelines. There is a 22-year age difference between Obama and Guaidó, but their faces are very similar, and they both look athletic. I can even imagine Guaidó descending the stairs of an aircraft leaping and sprinting like Obama. Barack has three women in his life; Juan has two. But it is not only their physical appearance; I sense that both believe in destiny.
Both are confident in leading a transformation of their countries’ future course. Both have the verbal fluency that allows them to easily connect, unfiltered, with their audiences, irrespective of social background.
Both are inspirational and manage to create new democratic leadership among young people, not only in favor of their electoral interests, but also in favor of democratic principles.
Obama was a U.S. senator, and as a charismatic politician, he was admired during the Democratic National Convention and eventually arrived at the White House. On the other hand, the neighbors of the condominium where he lives did not even know the young Guaidó two months ago. Now, as Shakira would say, “from Bahrein to Beirut, from the North to the South Pole,” they know who Guaidó is.* The U.S., Canada, a dozen Latin-American countries of the Lima Group and 20 countries of the European Union recognize and support Guaidó.
At age 35, he struck it lucky. After a good number of leaders opposing Maduro were incarcerated or exiled, he filled a void that needed to be filled. Guaidó has reiterated his appeals to the military; his grandfather was one of them. Venezuela’s national sovereignty has been violated by a Cuban invasion. In this sister country faced with a collapsed system where people are starving and where services don’t function, there is no risk of civil war; there is risk there will be a massacre of an unarmed population.
Guaidó has been speaking about free elections for more than a week, and has been devising a plan to administer the arriving humanitarian aid for Venezuela. The plan sounds very simple: Accept the medicine and food supply shipment in three storage centers in Colombia, Brazil and on some Caribbean island. The challenge will be whether Maduro’s military allows that aid to enter. It is clear to me that Guaidó is not an improviser.
Obama always wanted to set aside the classic and stuffy image of a politician. Being with prime ministers, presidents or kings was the same to him as praising J Balvin during a campaign rally on behalf of congressional candidates or confessing that “Mi Gente” (“My People”) was on his favorite song list.**
Guaidó also met with the singer, Nacho, online and assured him that he was going to lead the way for change.
If Guaidó succeeds in making the transition and calls for transparent and democratic elections in Venezuela as provided under the constitution, he will be a hero in Obama’s image.
*Editor’s note: Shakira is a Colombian singer.
**Editor’s note: J Balvin is a Colombian singer.