In crisis-hit Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaido decided to challenge President Nicolas Maduro, declaring himself interim president, a claim that has been recognised by dozens of countries. However, the question is to what extent will Guaido escalate political conflict to maintain control over a country plagued by hyperinflation, shortages of basic necessities and rampant violence and is he likely to request foreign military intervention?
In an interview with AFP, Guaido declared that inviting intervention by foreign military forces by trading on his prerogatives as speaker of the National Assembly and acting president is, “a very, very controversial subject,” and acting with, “sovereignty and judiciously,” is necessary.
Despite the blockade in Tienditas on the border with Colombia’s, Venezuela will be receiving humanitarian aid by next week, “when we have formed the corps of volunteers and organised the distribution process,” Guaido confirmed. He pointed out that Venezuela’s armed forces are facing a dilemma as to whether to accept the aid or not but, “It would be almost miserable at this point of huge necessity not to accept it."
"We are ready to talk with everyone, with a very specific agenda." Guaido said in responding to a question about the possibility of receiving emissaries of the International Contact Group to reach a negotiated solution. In reply to a question regarding an offer of amnesty for members of the military, Guaido said that the armed forces,” have a role in the reconstruction,” and noted an atmosphere of discontent and division among some officers in the National Guard.
Guaido has received wide international backing from various countries and regional powers but Russia and China remain the top allies of Maduro’s regime. "I am sure that Moscow and Beijing know the situation in Venezuela really well,” Guaido told AFP. “Maduro doesn't have popular support and he can't stabilise the economy, which has led to the world's highest rate of inflation at two million percent."
The embattled Maduro requested Vatican mediation in the current political standoff. Yet, Pope Francis appears lukewarm towards both conflicting parties in Venezuela. However, Guaido confirmed that the Pope did not receive anyone from the Maduro government, saying, “he does not take them into account anymore.”