May 24, 2019

Venezuela prepares for February 23rd

By Guido Lanfranchi.

The situation in Venezuela remains tense ahead of February 23rd, the date set by opposition leader Juan Guaidó for allowing humanitarian aid into the country. The current tensions trace back to January 23rd, when Mr. Guaidó declared himself as President of the Republic ad interim, swiftly gaining the recognition of a number of foreign countries, notably the United States, followed by a number of American and European countries.

The United States has assumed a leading role in the campaign against the government of Nicolás Maduro. After January 23rd, the U.S. has stepped up its economic measures against the current Venezuelan government, including through new restrictions on the state-owned oil company PDVSA. The U.S. has also harshened its rhetoric against Mr. Maduro and his government. In a speech in Florida on Monday, President Trump has reiterated that, while peaceful regime change remains the preferred path, “all options are on the table”. The U.S. President openly called for the Venezuelan military to turn against Maduro, and to allow the inflow of the humanitarian aid that is piling up along Venezuela’s borders.

The issue of the humanitarian aid remains a thorny one ahead of Saturday’s deadline. The Venezuelan military will be involved first-hand at the border and its role will be crucial in defining how the confrontation will evolve. While on the one hand Mr. Trump has been calling for the military to disobey the current government, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López assured that the military and the government will not give in to the U.S. pressure. “They underestimate us. We’re calling for carrying out our historic duty: to defend the country.”

Although the U.S. and other American states such as Colombia have been taking the lead in the international pressure campaign against Mr. Maduro’s government, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stressed that the origin of all such initiatives resides inside Venezuela, and that the Venezuelan people are those initiating the calls for a political transition in the country.

Comments are closed.