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How Juan Guaido’s Gamble To Oust Venezuela’s Dictator Fell Apart

  • Venezuelan revolutionary leader Juan Guaido failed to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro Tuesday after calling on the military to oust the South American dictator.
  • Secret talks between Venezuelan military officials and revolutionary leader Juan Guaido reportedly broke down or were sabotaged.
  • Guaido called on the military to revolt but lacked support from the generals, and Maduro remained in control despite thousands of Venezuelans protesting against him.

Revolutionary leader Juan Guaido’s gambit to oust Venezuela dictator Nicolas Maduro failed on Tuesday after Guaido called on the military to oust the sitting president.

Guaido’s gamble failed after secret talks between the revolutionaries and high-ranking officials in Maduro’s regime reportedly either broke down or were sabotaged, leading Guaido to call upon the Venezuelan military without having the support of its top leadership, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The United States and 53 other countries recognize Guaido, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Maduro continues to rule with strong support from China, Cuba and Russia.

“We know that a part, a large part, a majority of the [military] high command were talking with the Supreme Court and Juan Guaidó about a change, a change in government, with the departure of Maduro, and with guarantees for the military,” U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams told an online Venezuelan TV network VPITV Wednesday, according to WSJ.

Maduro denied reports that officials in his government had engaged in talks with Guaido. Maduro and other top government officials blamed the United States for attempting to stage a “coup” in Venezuela, calling Guaido a puppet of Washington.

Guaido’s camp believed they had struck a tentative deal and had drawn up an agreement outlining guarantees for top government officials, including allowing them to stay in their positions and committing to holding new elections within a year. Guaido would serve as interim president until another was elected.

“There is a document,” Abrams told VPITV, The Guardian reports. “The U.S. was not involved in the negotiations, but they tell me it is a long document – there are 15 points I think – it mentions guarantees for the military, a dignified exit for Maduro, Guaidó as interim president, the supreme court and the high command stay in position, free elections within 12 months.”

Guaido launched “Operation Liberty” to oust Maduro Tuesday morning in a three-minute video at La Carlota air base in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas. In the video, Guaido was flanked by National Guard troops that had defected from Maduro.

One military official, Venezuela’s head of secret service Gen. Manuel Figuera, switched sides to Guaido and freed journalist and activist Leopoldo López, Guaido’s mentor, from house arrest.

No other officials answered Guaido’s call and Maduro sent out enforcement personnel to tamp down protests. Videos of gunfire from Maduro and Guaido soldiers spread over Twitter. Network news stations showed a video of Maduro military personnel in an armored vehicle running over a crowd of protesters.

One person died and dozens were left injured. Guaido has called on federal workers to protest through Thursday in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on Maduro.

The United States has continued to support Guaido’s revolt. Cuban and Russian agents in Venezuela are reportedly by Maduro’s side and may have influenced his decision to stay in power through the Tuesday riots, according to WSJ.

“We’re at a time for choosing here,” Bolton said at a White House foreign policy meeting Wednesday, according to The Guardian. “And I just don’t believe President Trump is prepared to see foreign governments effectively take over the control of Venezuela, and which possesses the largest reserves of petroleum in the world.”

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