Democratic World Rallies Around Venezuelan Opposition amid Military Uprising

Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, left, shakes with Vice President Mike Pence, after a meeting of the Lima Group concerning Venezuela at the Foreign Ministry in Bogota, Colombia, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. Pence's appearance before the Lima Group comes two days after a U.S.-backed effort to deliver humanitarian across …
Martin Mejia/AP Photo

The heads of numerous democratic state reiterated their support for Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó on Tuesday after the 35-year-old declared that his movement was entering the “final phase” of removing the Maduro dictatorship.

On Tuesday morning, Guaidó uploaded a video revealing that some sections of the military had agreed to recognize him as the country’s legitimate commander-in-chief and called on people to flood the streets in support of his opposition movement.

“People of Venezuela, let’s take to the streets to support the end of the usurpation, which is irreversible,” he said. “The National Armed Forces have made the correct decision, they have the support of the people of Venezuela, and the backing of our constitution, they are guaranteed to be on the right side of history.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was one of the first to send a message of support.

“To [Juan Guaidó] and the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in [operation freedom] — Estamos con ustedes! We are with you!” he wrote on Twitter. “America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored.”

Neighboring countries including Brazil and Colombia also expressed their backing for Guaidó.

“We call on the military and the people of  to remain on the right side of history, rejecting the dictatorship and usurpation [of power] of Maduro; uniting in search of freedom, democracy, and institutional reconstruction,” wrote Duque.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro warned that the Venezuelan people were “enslaved by a dictator,” adding that he supports “freedom for our sister nation to finally become a true democracy.”

Other regional allies, such as Argentina, Peru, and Chile, also backed the opposition’s efforts.

“We fully support Interim President Juan Guaido in his fight to restore democracy in Venezuela,” the Peruvian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The usurping, dictatorial regime of [Nicolás] Maduro should come to an end.”

“We confirm our full support for President Juan Guaido and democracy in Venezuela,” added Chilean President Sebastian Piñera. “Maduro’s dictatorship must end peacefully and in accordance with the constitution.”

Maduro still retains the backing of many of regional allies in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, all of whom expressed concern that power may quickly be slipping away from the socialist regime.

“We reject this movement towards a coup d’·tat, the aim of which is to fill the country with violence,” wrote Cuban second-in-command, President Miguel Díaz-Canel. “The traitors positioning themselves in the vanguard of these subversive activities have used the military and armed police on the road to the city to cause clashes and terror.”

Díaz-Canel’s statement is believed to reflect the opinion of dictator Raúl Castro.

“We call on governments of Latin America condemn the coup d’état in Venezuela and prevent violence from innocent lives. It would be a nefarious precedent to let the coup intrusion settle in the region,” added Bolivia’s socialist leader Evo Morales. “Dialogue and peace must be imposed on the coup.”

Maduro also retains support from some governments further afield, including China and Russia, both of whom have helped prop up his regime with financial and military support.

According to various Russian news agencies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin raised the current developments in Venezuela during his scheduled meeting with the Security Council, adding that they had “paid significant attention to the news reports about a coup attempt in that country.”

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