Press TV – Feb 9, 2019
Venezuela’s Juan Guaido does not rule a US military intervention to oust President Nicolas Maduro amid reports that Washington is in direct contact with Venezuelan generals to stoke a mutiny.
The self-proclaimed interim president told AFP in an exclusive interview that he may authorize a US military intervention to force Maduro from power and establish a “transitional government” in Venezuela.
Guaido, the head of opposition-controlled National Assembly, said he would do “everything that is necessary,” even though a US military intervention is “a very controversial subject.”
The 35-year-old opposition figure called on the Venezuelan army to allow the “humanitarian aid,” currently in a warehouse at the Colombian border, to enter the country.
Maduro has denounced the aid, saying US President Donald Trump is using Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis as a cover-up for his military plans in the country.
In the Friday interview, Guaido called on his supporters to stay in the streets and protest until Maduro allows the US convoy to cross into Venezuela.
The opposition leader also rejected the Venezuelan government’s offer for talks and said he was not willing to “participate in fake dialogues.”
His remarks came a day after Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Caracas was ready to sit at the negotiating table with the opposition and resolve the political crisis in the South American country.
US expecting military defections
On Friday, a senior White House official revealed that the US was holding direct communications with Venezuela’s military personnel to encourage them into abandoning President Maduro.
Members of Venezuela’s army have widely expressed loyalty to President Maduro, saying they will give their lives to defend their homeland.
The While House official told Reuters that the US administration had called on members of the Venezuelan army to switch their allegiance in exchange for sanctions relief or face stronger penalties.
Venezuela has been in political turmoil in the past couple of weeks, with the opposition blaming the country’s President Maduro for an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items, urging him to resign.
Maduro has accused Washington of waging an economic war against Caracas through sanctions which have exacerbated the country’s problems.
Trump imposed new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry earlier this month as he officially recognized Guaido as the “legitimate” president even though he has not run in any presidential election.
Other US allies such as the UK, France, Spain and Germany have recognized Guaido but Italy has refused to follow suit. Russia, China, Turkey and Iran are some of the countries that have thrown their support behind Maduro.
China calls for peaceful settlement
On Friday, Chin’as Foreign Ministry said Venezuela should resolve its political crisis via peaceful talks and that Beijing supports the international community’s efforts in this regard.
“Venezuela’s affairs should be resolved by its people within the framework of the constitution and the law through peaceful dialogue and political channels,” it said. “Only this way can Venezuela realizing lasting stability.”
The International Contact Group (GCI), which includes European and Latin American countries, also stated this week that all sides need to find a “peaceful, democratic” way out of the situation “without the use of force.”