A poll released Wednesday revealed the vast majority of Venezuelans believe President Juan Guaidó procured the support of President Donald Trump through deception, claiming falsely he had the support of the Venezuelan armed forces.
The poll, published by the Venezuelan firm Meganálisis, found widespread political unity among Venezuelans – they overwhelmingly oppose both Guaidó and Maduro and oppose socialism as an ideology.
A majority consider Guaidó a socialist.
Guaidó – a member of the Socialist International member party Popular Will until this year – is legitimately the president of the socialist country as a result of dictator Nicolás Maduro refusing to step down after his last legal presidential term ended in January 2019. The federal legislature, the National Assembly, used its constitutional powers to make Guaidó interim president, with a mandate to organize free and fair elections to replace Maduro.
As Maduro commands the loyalty of the armed forces and Venezuela banned the civilian ownership of firearms under late dictator Hugo Chávez, Guaidó has no access to any organized force and has not been able to exercise any of his constitutional powers. The president has also faced repeated physical assaults at the hand of Maduro’s armed socialist gangs, known as colectivos.
Most of the free world recognizes Guaidó’s legitimacy, however, and has offered support in the form of accepting Guaidó-appointed Venezuelan ambassadors.
In April 2019, Guaidó declared that he had convinced the nation’s armed forces to support him and overthrow Maduro. Within hours, Maduro appeared on television alongside his minister of defense and other senior military leaders refuting Guaidó’s claim. No significant number of soldiers defected to Guaidó and Maduro still retains control of the military at press time.
The Trump administration recognized Guaidó as president following his swearing-in. Trump welcomed Guaidó as his personal guest at the 2020 State of the Union speech. By June, however, Trump appeared to express disillusion in Guaidó, saying publicly that he was only “OK” with recognizing Guaidó as president and that he had considered meeting with Maduro.
The Venezuelan polling firm Meganálisis found that respondents to its survey in Venezuela are also showing fatigue with Guaidó, identifying him – like Maduro – as a “socialist” and agreeing that Trump’s support for Guaidó was contingent at least in part on falsehoods.
Meganálisis pollsters took the survey between August 6 and August 10, questioning respondents in 19 states and the Caracas capital district.
Of those asked, 82.4 percent of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Do you believe that Juan Guaidó, the politicians who represent him, and the opposition National Assembly have deceived President Donald Trump by telling them that they have the support of the Armed Forces and of the majority of Venezuelans?” Another 12.3 percent said they did not know, over twice the number who answered negatively.
Asked if they believed the armed forces supported Guaidó, a slightly higher number, 86.1 percent, said no.
Similar to previous Meganálisis poll results this year, respondents did not appear to view Maduro more favorably as a result of their negative responses to Guaido. A wide majority, 73.8 percent, said they supported the implementation of a new government; 77.6 percent said they wished to see an end to the Maduro regime and chavismo in general. A similar number, 76.7 percent, agreed with the phrase “socialism guarantees misery, regression, and destroys the future.”
That rejection of socialism also informed views of Guaidó, as 66.5 of respondents said they considered Guaidó himself a “socialist.”
The July iteration of Meganálisis’s semi-monthly national poll also found decreased support for Guaidó. At the time, 78.8 percent of respondents said they wished to see Trump stop supporting Guaidó’s bid for the presidency. Asked, “do you think Guaidó is a weak politician?”, 83.1 percent said “yes.”
Like the July survey, Venezuelans told Meganálisis in May, by a factor of nearly 90 percent, that they did not believe Guaidó capable of running the country.
A “tell-all” book by former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed this year that Trump appeared to agree with the 83 percent, claiming that the president expressed reservations about supporting a “kid” like Guaidó, who made Maduro looked “tough.” Maduro has been in power since 2013, extending his rule through disingenuous calls for “dialogue” with opposition leaders affiliated with the Socialist International. Bolton had enthusiastically supported Guaidó while in the U.S. government, a likely factor in his removal from his office.
In June, Maduro announced that he had reached an agreement with Guaidó organized through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) accused of enabling human trafficking, to distribute humanitarian supplies in Venezuela in response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“Both parties propose to work in coordination, in coordination and with the support of PAHO, in the search for financial resources that contribute to strengthening the country’s response capacities in the face of the new coronavirus,” the Maduro regime’s Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez claimed. Guaidó confirmed the deal on Twitter, where he distributes most of his communications.