Venezuela UPDATE: Guaido supporters’ heart broken

3 July 2019 — 

Juan Guaido, the U.S.-backed self-proclaimed “interim president” has frustrated his supporters. His support is also getting lost. On the other hand, the Venezuelan government is gaining diplomatically.

A Reuters analysis by Angus Berwick and Mircely Guanipa said:

“Four days before Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido launched a military uprising in a bid to oust President Nicolas Maduro, he told supporters at a rally outside the capital, Caracas: ‘In the next few days, we’ll decide our destiny.’

“The 35-year-old, who had risen to national prominence three months before, finished his speech with his usual rallying cry …: ‘We’re on track!’

“Yet after the April 30 insurrection swiftly unraveled, with troops remaining in their barracks and key government officials refusing to change sides, many Venezuelans aren’t so sure.

“Interviews with more than two dozen people across Venezuela – as well as fresh polling data – suggest that many people have grown frustrated by the slow pace of change amid the hardships of daily life. Several said they were losing hope that Guaido could dislodge Maduro.

“‘We’re on track but it’s the wrong track,’ said Rafael Narvaez, a taxi driver in the western coastal city of Punto Fijo.

“… Narvaez, 43, said, ‘Now I’m disappointed.’”

The Caracas/Punto Fijo, Venezuela, July 1 datelined analysis – “Disappointed Venezuelans lose patience with Guaido as Maduro hangs on” – cited analysts:

“Analysts said the most likely outcome now is for the status quo to continue as Maduro gains confidence …”

The analysis said:

Guaido injected new hope into Venezuela’s fragmented opposition. Washington backed him and imposed tough new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, with the aim of forcing Maduro and his allies from power. Guaido has gained control of some Venezuelan assets in the U.S.

It said:

“Since the April 30 uprising, the opposition’s momentum has slowed. Attendance at Guaido’s public rallies has dropped and the opposition has held no major protests since then. A march called for Friday will be a litmus test for Guaido’s support.”

It added:

The opposition says it is knuckling down for a more protracted campaign and seeking to build a grassroots organization.

“Yon Goicoechea, a member of Guaido’s policy team, acknowledged there was ‘fatigue’ among Venezuelans.

“‘We have to fight against demobilization and despair,’ he said. ‘We Venezuelans have to keep consistent in our support for Guaido and be patient.’”

The Reuters analysis said:

Guaido was focused on expanding a network of Help and Freedom Committees, a program the opposition began in April. “However, attendees say so far the committees have got little traction.”

It cited a survey from pollster DatinCorp that showed the proportion of Venezuelans who recognized Guaido as the legitimate president had fallen from 49% in February to 36% in June.

The analysis cited Raul Gallegos, associate director with consultancy Control Risks: The opposition will lose steam. “We can expect Guaido’s popularity to continue to erode the longer he is not exercising power,” he said.

The analysis said:

“Venezuela has also dropped down the list of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities, as his administration deals with tensions with Iran and trade talks with China.

“When Trump launched his re-election campaign in Orlando, Florida, on June 18, he made no mention of Venezuela, though aides insist he remains committed to Guaido.”

It cited Andraimi Laya, a 22-year-old former police student: “But, given that it’s all talk and there is no organization …”

The analysis was made on reporting by Mircely Guanipa in Punto Fijo, Anggy Polanco in Merida, Keren Torres in Barquisimeto, Mariela Nava in Maracaibo, Angus Berwick in Caracas, Mitra Taj in Lima and Robin Emmott in Brussels, written by Angus Berwick and edited by Daniel Flynn and Cynthia Osterman.

German ambassador sent back to Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro formally authorized German ambassador Daniel Kriener to return to Caracas, a few months after sending him back to Germany over interference in domestic affairs, reported Monday Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry.

The decision followed the meeting in Berlin between Venezuelan Vice-Minister Yvan Gil and Germany’s Head of Foreign Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, read an official statement tweeted by Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Relations of Venezuela and represents a serious setback to U.S. foreign policy by having one of its allies deal directly with the Venezuelan government.

Kriener was one of the few European representatives that were present on March 4 in Maiquetia Airport to welcome Guaido.

According to EuroPress, Kriener, on that occasion, later met with Guaido in the residence of Spanish Ambassador in Caracas, Jesus Silva, along with diplomats from France, Portugal, Romania, The Netherlands, U.S., Canada and Chile.

Even when the diplomat was expelled, the Venezuelan government insisted that it did not mean the rupture of diplomatic relations – in accordance with international law and that it still wished to continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Three weeks later, Germany refused to recognize the opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido’s envoy to Berlin as Venezuela’s ambassador, stressing that “political conditions” to recognize the Guaido’s envoy “are not met” given that the 30-day maximum period he had to call elections has expired.

European countries offer support to the Oslo dialogue

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza informed of the support that European countries offered to the Oslo dialogue.

Arreaza informed Tuesday that Cuba and Turkey will attend Venezuelan patients who are waiting for medical transplants.

“Cuba is willing to attend to those who are waiting for a medical transplant and Turkey also joins in the cooperation to guarantee health to Venezuelans,” said Arreaza during a press conference where he informed of the diplomatic achievements from an international tour he made in Europe.

Besides those countries, Italy will also assume the cost of medical treatment for Venezuelan patients awaiting transplants in that country.

“We thank the Italian government which assumed the treatment costs of those people who are in that country to receive medical treatment, which could not be provided due to the Citgo blockade,” he said.

“The Government of Portugal supports one hundred percent the Oslo Dialogue Mechanism and negotiations between the parties for a democratic and peaceful solution in the country”, he said.

Similarly, Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell ratified his country’s support for the dialogue initiative in Norway.

“We will continue on the dialogue path in Venezuela; the opposition is the one which refuses to join the search for peace in the country,” said Arrreaza who also urged Pope Francis to join the dialogue for peace, after reporting his meeting with Paul Gallagher, the Vatican Foreign Affairs secretary.

In addition, the Bolivarian minister announced that Enrique Iglesias, the EU Special Adviser for Venezuela, would visit the South American country next week.

Two intelligence officials arrested, charged over Acosta death

Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Monday that two military counter-intelligence officials have been arrested in connection to the death of coup figure, army captain Rafael Acosta Arevalo, adding that the two have been charged with homicide over his death.

“First relevant expertise and preliminary investigations have been established, the link between two officials attached to the Directorate-General for Military Intelligence [who] has been linked to this regrettable fact,” William Saab said on his official Twitter account. ”

He went on to explain that the prosecutor in charge of the case has charged the two officials with manslaughter and added that the proceedings remain preliminary and that his office will continue investigating the incident and collecting evidence.

The top prosecutor concluded his statement by saying that he “lamented these unfortunate acts, which are not part of the democratic spirit of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

Arevalo died in the hospital 15 hours after the judge in his case ordered medical attention for him after he fainted at a trial hearing for his involvement in the coup attempt of April 30. Reports said he was on a wheelchair and showed signs of torture.

Arevalo was part of an attempted coup d’état against the government of President Maduro, a plan that was carried out by the Venezuelan right led by lawmaker Guaido with the help of the U.S. and its right-wing allies in the region, according to reports and claims by the Venezuelan government.

An earlier report said:

Venezuela’s armed forces also confirmed the death of Arevalo, who was being tried for taking part in the attempted coup, and said it would carry out its own investigation.

The Venezuela government confirmed Saturday the death of Arévalo, who was charged with crimes of terrorism, sedition, and assassination as part of his participation in the coup attempt.

Saab delivered a press conference confirming the news and said his office is carrying out an “objective, independent and impartial” investigation into his death.

Also, the country’s Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodríguez confirmed that President Maduro has asked Saab to execute a “complete and exhaustive investigation” to clarify the details surrounding Acosta’s death.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan National Armed Forces issued a statement in which it lamented the death of the army man.

Trump plays down stalled coup in Venezuela, but reiterates strategies to interfere

US President Donald Trump has denied that US efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have lost momentum, telling reporters “things take time” and that he has five alternative strategies for Venezuela.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the G-20 Summit in Osaka on Saturday, Trump was asked about his earlier response to the suggestion that the US had lost momentum in Venezuela, to which he replied it “takes time.”

Asked whether it was time to change strategies, the U.S. President said he had “five strategies” that he can switch to “at any time.”

He said: “We have a lot of things in store if we have to do that. We don’t want to do anything, we don’t want to get involved to the extent you may be thinking, but we have a lot of alternatives, we have five different alternatives for Venezuela.”

Putin questions U.S. actions in Venezuela

Russian President Vladimir Putin on last Wednesday questioned the U.S.’s actions in Venezuela in an interview with the Financial Times.

Putin asked whether it was “necessary to humiliate Latin American nations” by imposing government or leaders from the outside.

“Let us do the same in Japan, the U.S. or Germany. What will happen? Do you understand that this will cause chaos all over the world?, he said.

OAS meeting ends in disagreement over Venezuela opposition delegation

Members of the Organization of American States (OAS) ended two days of meetings on Friday without a clear plan for increasing pressure on embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, despite a majority vote to recognize a representative from the country’s opposition.

Venezuela has dominated recent OAS meetings, with some member states denouncing Maduro as a dictator and others continuing to back him.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro had said the group would seek to ramp up pressure on Maduro during this week’s session in Medellin, Colombia and even debate eventual sanctions.

But the member states were divided by the presence of a representative sent by Guaido.

Uruguay withdrew from the assembly on Thursday in protest.

The OAS permanent council approved the delegation in April but member states did not vote on it until Friday when 20 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, the United States and Peru backed recognition until Venezuela holds its next elections.

Eight countries voted against recognizing the delegation, while six abstained. Bolivia, Mexico and Nicaragua have expressed dismay at the opposition’s presence.

Maduro announced Venezuela’s withdrawal from the OAS in 2017 and has accused the Washington-based group of being a U.S. pawn.

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