CARACAS, VENEZUELA — (Analysis) In an act described by the Venezuelan government as a small coup attempt, self-declared “President” of Venezuela Juan Guaidó appeared in a video alongside uniformed men who he claimed were a number of military defectors, declaring this as the “final phase” of Nicolás Maduro’s presidency.
The Venezuelan military generals and the vast majority of the military have pledged their loyalty to Maduro, who urged them to have nerves of steel.
The counter-revolutionary “activist” backed by the US State Department Leopoldo Lopez was among the instigators of this “final phase” coup. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza claims that the U.S. likely paid a guard to let him out of house arrest to join the coup.
Arreaza assured the public that this coup attempt will be contained and thousands of pro-Maduro protesters have taken to the streets and have surrounded the presidential palace.
The government of Mexico has expressed concern over possible bloodshed, as live rounds were being used as well as tear gas. Mexico has not recognized Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela, but has offered to broker a peace process.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has expressed his disdain for the coup attempt. He released a statement via twitter:
We strongly condemn the coup attempt in Venezuela performed by the right wing, which is submissive to foreign interests. [We are] confident that the courageous Bolivarian Revolution headed by brother Nicolas Maduro, will prevail against this new attack by the empire.”
Only the beginning?
The Venezuelans leading the coup see it quite differently. They seem to acknowledge that their efforts won’t end with today’s brazen actions. In a statement earlier today, they doubled down on their mission towards a mixed military and civilian coup. However, they denied that their undertaking is a coup. Opposition leader Carlos Vecchio held a press conference earlier today:
This is only the beginning…This is an operation that is developing right now. We will see more events in the hours and the days to come.
This is a constitutional process led by the Venezuelan people under the leadership of a civilian — the interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó. He’s calling for the restoration of our Constitution and of course, the restoration of our democratic system…”
Venezuela is ready for a change. You must facilitate the transition in our country. You must allow the Venezuelan people to re-establish the democratic system. The time is now. Venezuela is ready for a change. Nobody is going to stop it.”
It’s quite astonishing that Vecchio would invoke the democratic process while leading a violent coup in support of a “president” who earned the title by standing at a podium and declaring himself president.
Russia calls upon United Nations
The Russians have registered a much more level-headed response to the coup attempt, invoking the United Nations. That long-standing pan-global institution was created in no small part to respond to this type of situation. The Russian Foreign ministry had this to say:
The radical opposition in Venezuela has once again turned to confrontation with the use of force. Instead of peaceful resolution of political disagreements, a course was chosen that is aimed to incite conflict, provoking disruptions of public order, clashes involving the armed forces.
We urge [Venezuelans] to say no to violence. It’s important to avoid turmoil and bloodshed. Issues that Venezuela is facing right now must be resolved via a responsible process of talks without any preset conditions. Any action must be taken exclusively within the framework of the legal field, in full accordance with the Constitution and without any destructive outside interference.
We confirm our principled position supporting political, civilized ways of resolving inner disagreements by the Venezuelans themselves. We appeal to all members of the international society, including the closest neighbors of this country, with an urge to affirm their adherence to the UN Charter, and norms and principles of international law, and to support Venezuela’s return onto a path of stable and incremental development through a dialogue that includes all responsible political powers within the country.”
The Russians call for peace at a time when the media, the United States, Europe and their hired Venezuelan plotters are all beating the drums of war. Russia has spent most of the last decade as a reasonable counterweight to aggression from the U.S. and NATO.
Guaidó’s plan seems to follow the same cynical formula used time and again for regime change. The opposition will not be able to achieve success on its own. Instead, leaders of the opposition will try to pull larger world powers like the U.S. and NATO into the conflict so that they can topple the Maduro regime.
Somehow the media will spin this as a victory for the people of Venezuela. Even though before Guaidó declared himself “president,” 80 percent of those people didn’t know who he was.
Feature Photo | Venezuela’s Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Remigio Ceballos, speaks during military drills in response to President Trump’s threat of military action, at Fort Tiuna, Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 25, 2017. Ricardo Mazalan | AP
Nick Rehwaldt is a MintPress News intern. He is an author, artist, and standup comedian focused on political issues, with much of his material ripped from the headlines on any given week. He’s also a proud non-voter and global citizen who happens to live in the U.S.