Trump’s right in backing Guaido in Venezuela — but he needs to proceed with caution

( CNN) How did it come to pass that President Donald Trump — who insults Latin American migrants, vows to build a wall to keep them out, embraces authoritarian leaders around the world and undermines democracy at home — is suddenly backing a pro-democracy insurgency in Venezuela, recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, and doing it with the support of most Latin American nations, along with the world’s leading liberal republics?

If you are skeptical about Trump’s claim that he cares about democracy in Venezuela, I’m right there with you. Trump has constructed it inescapably clear he has a soft spot for dictators and no great passion for liberal republic, with its pesky separation of powers, independent rule of statute, free press and protection of minorities.

That, however, doesn’t mean he is wrong in backing the opposition against President Nicolas Maduro. Trump is supporting Venezuelans’ legitimate demands for genuine democracy in a competition that, as I have written, is not a Cold war-era battle between left and right, but a 21 st-century one that pits Maduro, a populist authoritarian, against Guaido, who is backed by republics such as Canada, the European Union and most Latin American nations.