Venezuela is again becoming a pawn in the international power game with the incumbent socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro facing a coup from his challenger, “interim president” Juan Guaido, who is backed by the United States.
The Venezuelan presidential crisis may lead to a virtual civil war with heavy casualties and bloodshed, if the Army does not maintain complete restraint in the face of public protests to overthrow the incumbent President Nicolas Maduro.
At least at present it seems that the coup attempt by Juan Guaido has not succeeded, primarily because the Army continues to stand behind incumbent President Maduro and has not heeded to the call for uprising given by Guaido.
If at all some fringe elements from the forces have joined Guaido, as seen in some photos, President Maduro seems to be very much in charge. Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino has declared that the armed forces would continue to defend the constitution and “legitimate authorities”.
Interestingly, the Venezuelan Supreme Court, too, is in total support of President Maduro.
But how long President Maduro will be able to withstand the rebellion he faces is something to be seen in the days to come.
India is closely following the emerging situation in Venezuela.
India’s stated position has been that “it is for the people of Venezuela to find political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence.”
India believes that democracy, peace and security in Venezuela are of paramount importance for the progress and prosperity of the people of Venezuela.
As the whole world watches what is happening in Venezeula, President Maduro’s options are limited. He cannot crush militarily a public agitation and outcry to oust him, particularly in the name of freedom and democracy.
His challenger Guaido is supposed to have made a very forceful attempt, this time, to take over power from him, urging people to gather in larger numbers and asking the military to support him in overthrowing President Maduro. However, the military has stood firmly behind President Maduro.
President Maduro must be keeping in mind the fact that Guaido’s efforts are also backed by US, which was one of the first countries to recognize him as an interim President. Secondly, military intervention has not been ruled out by President Trump.
Even though Maduro has support from Russia, which has given him weapons and men, will Russia stand up strongly against US if the crisis escalates, even though its stated position has been that it will make all efforts to see that there is no military intervention in Venezuela.
It all began in January when the Opposition majority National Assembly invalidated President Maduro’s election of May 2018 and declared Juan Guaido acting president plunging Venezuela into serious crisis.
The UN Secretary General had asked for a dialogue in January to solve the problem. The whole issue seems to have got divided along ideological lines, with US, Canada and western powers supporting Guaido and Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Cuba and Bolivia, among others, backing Maduro.
Maduro’s government feels the US wants to foist a puppet government in the form of Guaido by toppling his government, with an eye on Venezuela’s oil reserves.
Nearly 54 countries, including US, Canada and most Latin America and western Europe nations have recognised Guaido as the interim president of Venezeula.
While there are supporters on both sides, many feel foreign powers should not interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs while it should be left to the people of Venezuela to decide their issues peacefully and democratically.
Cuba has strongly condemned attempts to create terror on the streets of Venezuela. “We strongly reject this coup, which aims to plunge the country into violence,” its president Miguel Diaz-Canel has said.
The Bolivian president said the uprising was just “serving foreign interests”.
Spain said it was looking for a peaceful solution of the Venezuelan crisis and does not support a military coup. However Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay have all taken a stand against Maduro and feel the coup was part of Venezeula’s transition from dictatorship to democracy though some wanted a more peaceful and constitutionally determined methods.
Guido, who has declared this as the “final phase” of “Operation Freedom” from a government “usurped” by President Maduro, the end seems nowhere near as he, along with his supporters, will continue to strive to oust the government.