However ‘controversial’ such a move might be, the self-proclaimed US-backed ‘interim’ president of Venezuela has claimed he would not rule out the possibility of ‘authorizing’ a foreign military intervention to topple Maduro.
Guaido told AFP he would do “everything that is necessary” in order to “save human lives” – not ruling out the admittedly “controversial subject” of calling on foreign powers, and the United States in particular, to intervene militarily in Venezuela to remove Nicolas Maduro from power.
Opposition leader and parliament speaker Guaido proclaimed himself the only legitimate leader of Venezuela last month, and was immediately backed by Washington and its allies across Latin America and Europe.
Over the last two weeks, the US administration has made it clear that the military option is not off the table if Maduro refuses to voluntarily surrender his power and launch a ‘democratic’ political transition in Venezuela. Simultaneously, President Donald Trump’s administration has been urging Venezuelan officers to defect and support the opposition’s claim to power.
So far the Venezuelan armed forces have mostly kept loyal to Maduro, who has repeatedly claimed his compatriots are ready to repel any foreign-led aggression. The elected president has also repeatedly called on the opposition to come to the negotiation table instead of stirring up street protests and violence.
The opposition, however, rejects any talks with Maduro, while officials in Washington claimed that the time for negotiations has long passed. The US is also reportedly holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military, urging them to switch their allegiance in exchange for sanctions relief, or to face even stronger penalties.
Blaming Maduro for bringing the dire social and economic crisis upon the sanctions-strangled Venezuela, Guaido has been taking advantage of the situation to push for regime change and pleading with his international support base to urgently send humanitarian aid. However, fearing a possible conspiracy designed to further destabilize the country, Maduro has so far refused to allow in trucks with foreign aid. On Friday, Guaido urged his supporters to stay in the streets and protest until the ‘usurper’ Maduro lets the convoy with US-sent aid, which is currently sitting in a warehouse at the Colombian border, cross into Venezuela.
Amid the escalating political struggle, Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Juan Mendoza has accused Guaido of trying to usurp presidential powers, noting that the country’s constitution does not include any provisions for forming a ‘transitional’ government. Mendoza reiterated that Maduro had been re-elected by a popular vote of 67.8 percent in last year’s election, which the opposition coalition voluntarily boycotted, taking to the streets instead.
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