Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó claimed in remarks on Tuesday that he has held “discreet conversations” with military leaders over their continued support for socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro.
In an interview with RPP radio, Guaidó confirmed he held conversations with the military but preferred to focus on the growing levels of persecution by the socialist regime.
“We have of course had very discreet conversations with the military, but now is not the time to share their content because unfortunately, we are in the midst of a dictatorship, and fighting against persecution is the order of the day,” he said.
Guaidó said “91 percent of Venezuelans” want to see the removal of Nicolás Maduro, and that statistic “also applies to the armed forces.” He added that there are “various aspects of discontent” within the military, whom he considers “the last remaining appendage of support to the dictatorial regime” of Maduro.
The 35-year-old also said that should Venezuela begin a new democratic transition, the new government will still meet all its contractual obligations reached with allies of the Maduro regime, including Russia and China.
“It will not be a problem for Russia, China or any other country because what will be respected is the rule of law, the constitution, the rescue of the legal security that is lacking today to generate confidence in our economy,” he said. “We will continue to fight peacefully, not violently, but very forcefully to achieve this additional step and regain democracy.”
Guaidó’s comments come nearly three months after he was appointed the interim president of Venezuela by the country’s National Assembly, a position recognized by the United States and over 50 countries around the world. Yet despite energizing the opposition against the socialist regime through mass street demonstrations and pushing through the entry of humanitarian aid, he has so far proved unable to remove Maduro from power.
His failure can mainly be attributed to the fact that the regime continues to retain the backing of the military and the secret police, many of whose leaders were appointed because of their loyalty to the Chavista cause. As the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis continues to deepen, there have been multiple reports of growing discontent among much of the lower military ranks, but no sizeable rebellions have so far taken place. However, Guaidó continues to urge them to defect in return for future immunity from prosecution.
Last month, Guaidó’s Chief of Staff Roberto Marrero was kidnapped by intelligence agents during a pre-dawn raid, raising fears about his own safety at the hands of the regime. Just last week, the illegal lawmaking body known as the “national constituent assembly” also stripped him of immunity from prosecution, potentially paving the way for his arrest and subsequent imprisonment.