#Venezuela Grita Libertad: Presidential Crisis Explained

Update February 6, 2019

All eyes continue to be on Venezuela. The people of Venezuela continue to protest the regime of Nicolás Maduro. Whether Juan Guaidó should be officially named President of Venezuela or a call for re-elections happens, the people of Venezuela deserve to live in peace. Some argue the U.S. government influence in Latin America has caused this situation while others believe it’s the current regime’s abuse and mismanagement of the country and it’s economy which have brought them to this point.

On February 2nd, the surprising support of high-ranking officer, Gen. Francisco Esteban Yánez Rodríguez, shined a light of hope for the opposition.

With this new support, Guaidó continues to call on the military to support and contribute to the well being of Venezuela and their citizens. The first test was coordinating humanitarian aid through the Colombian city of Cucuta but the bridge connecting the city to Venezuela was blocked with trucks and shipping tankers by the military.

In the last week, international support has continued to be voiced in favor, and against, interim president Juan Guaidó.  According to various news outlets, the following countries are the latest ones to voice their stance on this matter.

Support Interim President Guaidó

  • Iceland, Haiti, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, U.K., Ireland
  • European Union – with a few countries continuing support for the National Assembly such as Italy and Greece

Support National Assembly

  • Cuyana

Support President Nicolás Maduro

  • Serbia

Neutral countries

  • Mexico, Uruguay, Norway, Vatican City, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia, India, Indonesia, Nepal

The people have spoken.

On January 23rd opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim President of Venezuela. Given the growing economic distress the country has been enduring for over eight years, supporters of the opposition took to the streets to march for a new beginning in Venezuela.

“A coup organized by Washington,” Maduro

A second presidential inauguration for Nicolás Maduro took place January 10th after claiming victory over last year’s May elections. So why is Guaidó claiming to be president? Well, the twist of events may come as a shock to some (cough…Maduro), but this transition has been long overdue. The May elections were considered illegitimate by many countries, especially the U.S.

With multiple messages and attempts by the opposition, National Assembly, to reclaim Venezuela through a call for re-elections, asking Maduro to step down, it shouldn’t be a surprise that an initiative to remove Maduro was going to happen.

Jorge Ramos spoke with Juan Guaidó in Real America (full interview here) to have a clearer answer of who in fact is the new President of Venezuela. His response was in line with the constitution which basically states that military support is needed to be able to be recognized as acting president of Venezuela. Sooo, this means he’s not, but the current international support from Latin America, Europe, Australia and the U.S. could mean this time Venezuela has a shot at freedom.

But why does #VenezuelaGritaLibertad?

In a nutshell, here are the three main reasons reported by The Washington Post last year:

  • Millions of people have fled the country seeking asylum in neighboring countries.
  • There is a shortage of food, medicine and work.
  • Approximately 25,000 people die every year in Venezuela.

Sadly, as much as neighbor countries would like to help the people of Venezuela, their economies are smaller than what is necessary to accommodate the millions of refugees escaping from Maduro’s regime. Here’s a snapshot of the hyperinflation causing this desperation:

Bloomberg chart showing hyperinflation in Venezuela

Is everybody against Maduro?

Actually, no. The key players in keeping or denouncing Maduro from power, the military forces, are with him. Just like them, most government affiliated players and their families support the president – their boss. Shocking.

So who’s with Guaidó?

Things are still a bit crazy to put it mildly. U.S. Secretary of Defense, Mike Pompeo has called on other countries to state their support for Guaidó or Maduro. Decisions are still to be made and America’s eyes are on Mexico. Yesterday, the Secretary of Defense issued an official statement that the country would not get involved in this issue. It seems Mexico is playing the neutral card (hi Switzerland). Here’s an updated map by Wikipedia showing which countries support Maduro, the National Assembly, or Guaidó.

(Dark Blue: Countries recognizing Guaidó, Light Blue: Countries supporting the National Assembly, Red: Countries recognizing Maduro)

Wikipedia map showing in blue and red which countries support Maduro vs Guaidó.
Wikipedia map showing which countries support Maduro vs Guaidó. The world is divided.

In a special coverage of the Venezuela presidential crisis by Spanish TV, El País, guest diplomat, ex-ambassador of Venezuela, Fernando Gerbasi invited the international community to denounce the regime of Nicolas Maduro, support Juan Guaidó or request re-elections. “To help. International pressure is needed to recognize what the Venezuela constitution states which is to recognize Juan Guaidó as interim President.”

Naturally, no parties for now

Yesterday, the location for this year’s baseball Caribbean Series was announced. Due to security reasons as a result of the Presidential crisis, the baseball series had to change locations from Barquisimeto, Venezuela to Estadio Nacional de Panamá in Panama City, Panama.

And Maduro is not happy about that: “The decision taken by the Caribbean Baseball Confederation is an immoral act that obeys the interests of the big leagues, the U.S. government and the Venezuelan right wing. Everything was ready for a great Caribbean Series, and they stole it from us. They politicized the sport.”

What can you do to help? Stay informed. Show your support on social media and most importantly write letters to your representatives asking for peace in Venezuela.

#VenezuelaGritaLibertad

 

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