Maduro and Guaido: An Analysis

Laura –
Very good job. Rhetorical analysis was strong, good use of class concepts. Your media didn’t show up in the email. Please resend, and maybe send images or links to media separately just in case.

By: Laura Higuera



         Twenty years ago, Venezuela was a thriving and wealthy democracy. Today, Venezuela is a country in crisis. On January 23, 2019, Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition in Venezuela, proclaimed himself interim president. Guaido used logos as his main mode of rhetoric. The current president, Nicolas Maduro, refused to surrender power. In his response to the announcement, Maduro utilized pathos to persuade his audience. An analysis of forms of rhetoric and critical perspective provide insight into how we know what we know about the crisis in Venezuela. 

         In the first portion of his speech, Guaido appealed to the idea of a democratic government. He appeals to logic by saying, “If we give up now, it would all have been in vain. But if, on the contrary, we unite and occupy the streets, we will regain our freedom and all the Venezuelan effort would have been worth it” (Guaido 4:48). He then states his intentions: “We will insist until we reach our freedom. Until Venezuela’s prosperity is restored” (Guaido 5:42). He is using logos when he speaks because he is stating facts. There is currently no freedom in Venezuela- the people live in fear of the government. He explains, “Leaders in (Maduro’s) government have declared forgiveness and the humanitarian aid unconstitutional.(Guaido 9:00) There is no way international aid can be “unconstitutional”.

         He appeals to the military, stating that since there is so much support for the opposition, it is only logical that they support him, too. (Guaido 12:00) He goes on to say, “We count with the support of the international community. They do not support the usurper”, once again, using logos. He is saying it is only obvious for the military to support his cause since the international community is already in support of his interim presidency. He continues, “There are things that cannot be bought: respect, family, the admiration of our people, honor, and unity” (Guaido 13:15).

   “No one’s arm will be twisted here. We are stretching out our arms. Everyone is disappointed with what Chavez and his clan did- becoming rich at our country’s expense. And we are waiting for the water and bread to come back our table” (Guaido 13:20-13:45). Here, he confronts Maduro’s government with hard and very real facts. There is scarcity of food and water in the nation. He concludes, “Today, January 23, 2019, in my condition as president of the National Assembly, invoking the articles of the constitution; I swear in as the President in charge of Venezuela” (Guaido 18:10-19:00)   

         In terms of critical perspective, Guaido is certainly challenging the norms. He is standing up to the totalitarian government of Maduro by standing for democracy. Guaido is definitely expanding the bounds of debate, calling on the country to fight for liberty. He is also promising a betterment of society under his interim presidency. He wants the best for Venezuela, not looking to hoard power but setting himself up temporarily to restore democracy to the country. .

         “Welcome to Miraflores, the presidential palace- and your house, welcome!” Maduro stated, already hinting of pathos (Maduro 4:00). He is using the house as if it were a home belonging to all Venezuelans- using the home rhetoric to establish familiarity.
He attempts to create an “anti-imperialism” spirit by saying that the United States has tried to get Venezuela’s petroleum since the twentieth century (Maduro 8:30-8:45) He demonizes America as an imperialist power. This is apparently working as there are signs in the crowd that say, “Yankees Go Home”. He has manipulated his people so that they are sure America is trying to invade Venezuela. 

He states, “Here no one gives up, here we go to the victory of life, peace and democracy” (Maduro 13:59). It is ironic that he believes Venezuela is still a functioning democracy when the country has no power, hospitals, or food and the country is in deep debt (Correspondent).

Moreover, he states, “Via Twitter, vice-president Mike Pence ordered the naming of an extraconstitutional president” (Maduro 18:00). That is an outright lie; Mike Pence does not have the power to appoint Venezuela’s president. Maduro is now manipulating events. Using pathos to move people in his favor, he ignites national fervor. He unites people with his hatred of America, once again manipulating their emotions when it comes to the “imperialist” country. “Do you want a puppet president sent from Washington?” Maduro asks (Maduro 24:03). He then appeals to pathos, this time with religion. He says, “And I ask God, the Almighty, to help us overcome this trial” (Maduro 33:00). He then says, “Do not cling to the Gringo government. Gringos do not have friends and are loyal to no one” (Maduro 33:30). This is absurd because the United States has allies all around the world. Maduro continues to manipulate with pathos by now overtly lying to his people. The lies continue as he says that the United States wants the Venezuelan petroleum, natural gas, and gold. But he says they cannot have it, for those treasures belong to the people (Maduro 34:00) Everyone knows Venezuelans are having a hard time finding the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter. Some people have even been caught on video eating food from garbage trucks. (Ramos)

“You elected me,” says Maduro “On the fourteenth of May in 2013. And you re-elected me democratically, constitutionally on May 2018. All we have, we have earned by the vote of the people” (Maduro 34:30-36:35). This is another lie as many countries, including the United States, view the elections last May were fraudulent (Translated). As Scott Neuman writes for NPR, “Those opposed to Maduro have long maintained that the election is fraudulent, not least because the opposition’s most popular leaders — the ones with the best chance of unseating the president — were barred from running” (Neuman).

         Analyzing Maduro’s speech with critical perspective, one can see it is one-sided. He questions the norm that America is good- he insists the United States is evil. The bounds of debate do not expand, as he continues to demonize America, instead of having an open and candid discussion about the state of the country. Lastly, his speech is not for the betterment of society- Venezuela is still in crisis after the speech. 

         In conclusion, how we know what we know about the crisis in Venezuela depends on our source. Media plays an important role in how we understand the world around us. By analyzing both Maduro’s speech and Guaido’s speech, one can obtain a clearer image. Through rhetorical analysis and critical perspective, we can see that Guaido uses mostly logos as his form of rhetoric. On the other hand. Maduro uses mostly pathos. 

Works Cited

Correspondent, IFLR. “QUICK POLL: Venezuela’s Sovereign Debt.” International Financial Law Review, Feb. 2019, p. N.PAG. EBSCOhost,

Guaido, Juan. “Juan Guaidó Se Proclama Presidente Interino De Venezuela.” YouTube, CNN En Español, 23 Jan. 2019,

Maduro, Nicolas. “Discurso Completo De Nicolás Maduro Este 23 De Enero De 2019 Desde Miraflores.” YouTube, Luigino Bracci Roa – Situación En Venezuela, 23 Jan. 2019,

Ramos, Jorge. “Venezolanos Comiendo De La Basura: El Video Que Incomodó a Maduro.” Univision, 26 Feb. 2019,

Translated by ContentEngine, L. L. C. “Juan Guaidó was Sworn in as President in Charge of Venezuela.” CE Noticias Financieras, Jan 23, 2019. ProQuest


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: