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Mar 3, 2019-2019


Guaidó Returns



Juan Guaidó (Venezuelan Oposition)


Maduro's Government


Members of the political opposition ought to be endowed freedom of travel and movement.


Issue and Opposition: Nicolás Maduro Moros has been the president of Venezuela since 2013 despite strong allegations of corruption and oppression against him. Maduro’s steady rise under President Chavez in the 2000s led to his presidency after Chavez died in 2013. Maduro’s opposition gained strength when in 2015, a National Assembly led by the opposition parties was elected followed by a mass movement against Maduro demanding his resignation from the presidency. To remain in power uncontested, Maduro tried several strategies. For example, he attempted to remain in power by using Venezuela’s supreme Tribunal, National Electoral Council, and the military. He went to the extent of changing Venezuela’s constitution and forming the Constituent Assembly in 2017 with the help of a rigged election. This resulted in a Constituent Assembly that was completely in favor of Maduro (since it was populated by his followers). Matters worsened when in the next year, a presidential election was announced before time and conducted under questionable conditions to help Maduro win another term as Venezuela’s president. Opposition leaders and activists speaking against Maduro were arrested and assaulted in his attempt to drown all voices of dissent. Maduro’s government did not allow any international observers during the election and the election results were doubted not only by the Venezuelans but also by the international community. Many governments including the US government refused to acknowledge Maduro as the rightfully elected president of Venezuela. One of the strongest challengers to Maduro was Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez. A much younger opposition leader, Guaido was a former member of the social-democratic Popular Will party, and federal deputy to the National Assembly representing the state of Vargas. After accusing Maduro of corrupt election practices, Guaido announced that he would henceforth hold the position of the acting/ interim Venezuelan president in 2019 under Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution until the next presidential election. The USA, Canada, and a host of Latin American and European nations recognized Guaido as the legitimate head of the nation of Venezuela. However, nations such as China, Russia, Cuba, and Turkey still recognized Maduro as the legitimate president. This dilemma action was Guaido’s solo action against Maduro and his administration in 2019.
Dilemma Action: Amidst the threat from the Maduro administration, Guaido left Venezuela secretly for Latin America. It was later revealed that the reason for his visit was to talk and gather support from Latin American leaders. However, after he left, Maduro and his followers assumed that the opposition leader had left the country for good. Guaido shocked and surprised them by returning to Venezuela. Maduro’s government faced the great dilemma of whether or not it could arrest Guaido after the opposition leader arrived from Panama and landed at the Simón Bolívar International Airport. Maduro’s government had earlier imposed restrictions on Guaido’s traveling outside of Venezuela. So, Guaido was doing something illegal by traveling to Latin America.
Outcome: Guaido’s return was successful as an action because the Maduro administration did not arrest him because of his act of defiance. This is because of the huge support that Guaido already enjoyed from several nations. However, this action, one of many constituting the anti-Maduro campaign, was not effective in overthrowing Maduro from his presidential position.




Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance



7 / 12

(MC) Media Coverage

(OR) Opponent response

(PS) Dilemma action built sympathy with the public

(PUN) Punishment favored the activists

(REFR) Dilemma action reframed the narrative of the opponent

(RF) Dilemma action reduced fear and/or apathy among the activists

(SA) Dilemma action appealed to a broad segment of the public


3 / 3

Activist group continued working together after the action

Encouraged more participants to join the movement

Internally replicated by the same movement


Project documentation

Dilemma Actions Coding Guidebook

Case study documentation


CC BY 4.0 Deed, Attribution 4.0 International


Phillips, T. 2019. “Guaidó returns to Venezuela with new hope to unseat Maduro,” The Guardian. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/04/guaido-venezuela-return-maduro-us-washington).

Herrero, A. V., Casey, N., & Rogers, K. 2019. “Juan Guaidó Returns to Venezuela, Facing Threat of Arrest,” The New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/world/americas/juan-guaido-venezuela.html).

BBC News. 2019. “Venezuela crisis: Guaidó banned from office for 15 years,” Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47739510).

Meredith, S. 2019. “Venezuela’s top court seeks to strip Guaido’s legal immunity — raising fears of arrest,” CNBC. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/venezuelas-top-court-seeks-to-strip-guaidos-legal-immunity.html).

Daniels, J. P., & Torres, P. 2019. “Venezuela court freezes Juan Guaidó’s bank accounts and imposes travel ban,” The Guardian. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/29/venezuela-juan-guaido-tarek-saab-investigation).

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