Feb. 01, 2019
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP Exclusive: Secret diplomacy behind Venezuela’s self-declared interim president
The world watched enthralled on Jan. 23 as little-known Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president of the struggling South American nation and called on socialist President Nicolas Maduro to resign. More surprising still, the United States, Canada and a host of Latin American countries recognized Guaido almost immediately as the country’s rightful leader.
The timing was clearly no coincidence, but what exactly had happened?
Andean News Director Josh Goodman, Canada Bureau Chief Rob Gillies and Washington newsman Luis Alonso shared first-rate source work to scoop everyone, revealing a coordinated behind-the-scenes push to back Guaido that read like a spy novel. For weeks, a coalition of Latin American governments had launched secret diplomatic efforts, including encrypted messages and a furtive trip by Guaido to Washington, Bogota and Brasilia to build a strategy around the baby-faced Assembly president.
So far, the AP is the only media outlet to have told this story, and it has been widely used inside and outside Venezuela. Even embattled President Maduro praised the AP scoop to supporters at a rally over the weekend.
For their resourceful and consequential news break on one of the top stories in the world, Goodman, Gillies and Alonso win AP’s Best of the Week.