For the second day in a row, protesters and military forces went toe-to-toe in Venezuela. The disputes have been caused by the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, and the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó. Thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Caracas to rebel against Maduro’s socialist rule. According to Reuters, Guaidó told supporters: “If the regime thought we had reached maximum pressure, they cannot even imagine. We have to remain in the streets.”
On Tuesday, Maduro hit the airwaves to state that the rebellion had been defeated and had come to an end. Of course, that didn’t prevent Guaidó from posting a video on Twitter to encourage the military to join forces with the people looking for change in Venezuela.
As of yet, only a small group of soldiers and one high-ranking officer have publicly broken away from Maduro. On Tuesday, the leader of SEBIN, the secret police organization in Venezuela, called out Maduro in a letter he wrote to the Venezuelan people. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera said that it’s time to “rebuild the country.”
According to an interview Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, did with Fox News’ Special Report, amid calls for his dismissal on Tuesday, Maduro was “ready” to up and flee Venezuela. But after speaking to Russia, he was convinced to stay.
Along with 50 other countries, the U.S. believes that Maduro’s most recent election was a fraud. They’ve also argued that he wasn’t the legitimate president of Venezuela. Alongside Russia, Cuba has announced its direct opposition to Guaido.
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said: “there’s a lot at stake here for the people of Venezuela but for the hemisphere as a whole.” He explained to Fox News that one of the biggest issues is that “people incorrectly refer to what Juan Guaidó is doing as a coup. He’s the legitimate president. He’s trying to take control of the government.”
Bolton continued by saying: “The coup here has been by the Cubans and the Russians who have sort of grafted themselves on to Venezuela. I think they’re running it in some sense more than Maduro is.” In January, the administration made an unusual step and recognized Guaido as the interim president.
Before the protests continued on Wednesday, President Trump threatened Cuba for having a connection to Venezuela. He also warned them that he is not afraid to impose a “full and complete embargo” and sanctions on Cuba if their troops do not put an end to their operations in Venezuela.
Previously, Bolton accused Cuban troops of keeping Maduro in power in Caracas. The U.S. has said that approximately 20,000 Cuban agents and troops have been doing work in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s government.
Even though the Trump administration stands with Guaido, they were caught off-guard on Tuesday when he made his decision to launch a campaign against Maduro. According to Elliot Abrams, Venezuela’s special representative, the administration was expecting major protests to talk place on Wednesday.