Juan Guaido, for those who aren’t familiar with the current situation in Venezuela, is Nicolas Maduro’s (Venezuela’s president since 2013) main opposition, the head of Venezuela’s national assembly and someone who’s come to represent change in the country.
Since Maduro’s rise to power, the country’s standard of living has fallen dramatically, which has only been exacerbated by hyperinflation, a lack of food and government crackdowns. He’s also been accused of rigging the last election earlier this year, with the results sparking protests across the country.
Guaido and his supporters have come to represent the push to overthrow Maduro, which reached a peak on the 30th of April this year with a failed uprising that couldn’t manage to draw any kind of significant support from the country’s generals.
Following this attempted coup, Guaido’s representative, Carlos Vecchio, in Washington sent a letter to the head of US Southern Command or SouthCom, Admiral Craig Faller.
In this letter Vecchio stated that, “We welcome strategic and operational planning so that we may fulfil our constitutional obligation to the Venezuelan people in order to alleviate their suffering and restore our democracy.”
This request for a meeting with Admiral Faller and other high-ranking US officials is, arguably, the closest Guaido and his supporters have come to requesting for direct US military help in their attempts to oust Maduro.
In response to this letter, Admiral Faller tweeted out that he would be willing to meet with the “legitimate” government of Venezuela in order to determine how best to move forward in helping the Venezuelan people and restoring constitutional order.
The US and many other countries, especially in Western Europe and South America, believe that Maduro’s last election was fraudulent and as such recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s actual president.
The likelihood of a direct military intervention into Venezuela is slim. A more suitable and commonly practiced form of providing support is to send an aircraft carrier that would provide supplies and reconnaissance and act as a deterrent. Or to merely send supplies and advisors. However, President Trump, earlier in the year, did not rule out the possibility of military intervention if it was deemed necessary.
This request by Guaido and his administration may prove to be a significant moment, should the meeting with Vecchio conclude that military support is necessary in order to remove Maduro. And, unfortunately even with US backing, Maduro’s government won’t give up its power peacefully, which will cause further bloodshed.