Venezuela’s President Juan Guaidó pleaded with China and Russia to drop their support for Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship in remarks Thursday.
Guaidó, who became president last week invoking Venezuelan constitutional protections for democracy, “sent communications” to both Moscow and Beijing, who accuse him of staging an illegal coup to remove Maduro from power, seeking relations, he said.
“What most suits Russia and China is the country’s stability and a change of government,” he told Reuters. “Maduro does not protect Venezuela, he doesn’t protect anyone’s investments, and he is not a good deal for those countries.”
Since his appointment last month, Guaidó has rallied millions of Venezuelans around his leadership, designed to restore the constitutional order. Democracies around the world have since recognized his presidency, including the United States and Latin American neighbors like Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina.
The possibility of regime change has caused alarm among many of Venezuela’s authoritarian and leftist allies. The most important of those are China and Russia, both of whom have developed close ties with the Maduro regime through financial and military support that has left Venezuela with large debts it has so far proven unable to repay.
Responding to the widespread recognition of Guaidó’s presidency, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov declared this week that the Kremlin would “do everything” to support the Maduro regime. Recent reports indicated the Kremlin has sent mercenaries into Venezuela to help ensure his safety.
“Together with other responsible members of the world community, we will do everything to support the legal government of President Maduro in standing up for the Venezuelan Constitution,” Lavrov said, also accusing the U.S. “publicly setting a course for illegal regime change” through the imposition of further economic sanctions.
Last month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson remained coyer on the matter, merely affirming that Beijing “opposes external intervention in Venezuela,” amid growing speculation that the U.S. may employ a military solution to the crisis.
“We hope that Venezuela and the U.S. can respect and treat each other on an equal footing, and deal with their relations based on non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,” she said.