Venezuela's army declares loyalty to Maduro

Ann Santiago
January 26, 2019

Jamaica yesterday steered clear of endorsing Juan Guaido, Venezuela's opposition leader, as interim president, even though the politician declared himself so in a defiant speech amid widespread protests against putative head of state Nicolas Maduro.

As political science experts weigh the effectiveness of Canada's Venezuela policy, the family of a former colonel accused of conspiring against Maduro is cheering on opposition protesters from their home in Montreal.

Rubio led a delegation of Florida lawmakers to discuss Venezuela with Trump on Tuesday, although an aide said Trump had decided before the meeting to recognize Guaido. On Wednesday, demonstrators clogged avenues in eastern Caracas, chanting "Get out, Maduro" and "Guaido, Presidente", while waving national flags. Maduro, who met President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in December, was the legitimate president, said Peskov. He escalated his campaign Wednesday by declaring the constitution gives him, as president of the congress, the authority to take over as interim president and form a transitional government until he calls new elections. Washington has refused to comply, but ordered its non-essential staff to leave the tumultuous country, citing security concerns.

The avalanche of support for Guaido dramatically raised the stakes in Venezuela, an oil-rich nation has become deeply impoverished under Maduro.

The latest developments in Venezuela's political crisis have dealt a severe blow to President Nicolas Maduro - severe, but not fatal, for one key reason: the military still backs him. "I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy".

Guaido set the showdown in motion on Wednesday by proclaiming himself "acting president" and was swiftly recognised by the U.S. and about a dozen regional governments, including those of Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

Did this come as a surprise?

The European Union said Wednesday (23 January) that the voice of the Venezuelan people "cannot be ignored" and called for "free and credible elections" after the South American country's parliament leader declared himself interim president on Wednesday (23 January).

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview Thursday that Maduro - to whom the military leadership is still loyal - bore responsibility for the safety of USA diplomats.

Meanwhile, pressure on Venezuela is still mounting.

Does anyone else agree with Donald Trump?

But politicians in Russian Federation, which has a close relationship with Venezuela, were critical of the move.

"I am extremely concerned that the situation in Venezuela may rapidly spiral out of control with catastrophic consequences", Bachelet said.

Much as it did in 2014 over the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych, Kremlin officials dub the street protests in Venezuela a Western plot.

This isn't the first time the USA has inserted itself into Latin American politics.

Elsewhere in the Americas, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru all followed suit within two hours of the United States move.

Mr Guaido has said this was "the beginning of the end" for Mr Maduro while he pledged to guarantee humanitarian aid and introduce new economic measures. They don't have friends or loyalties.

Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Behgjet Pacolli wrote on Thursday: "On behalf of the people and government of Kosovo to Juan Guaido and the people of Venezuela: we wish you all the best in your path to restore democracy and we stand with you until #Libertad is restored". Their departure came after Maduro broke off relations with Washington and ordered the USA personnel out. Two of Venitez's female relatives recently fled Venezuela and travelled "for days" to Peru by bus and on foot, she said.

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