Venezuela is entering a crucial phase with opposition leader Juan Guaidó declaring that the armed forces no longer support incumbent President Nicolás Maduro. It’s unclear, however, if the armed forces really have switched sides, have decided to sit the conflict out, or still back Maduro.
Guaidó is growing more bold. He recently appeared outside of an air force base with dozens of National Guard members, urging the military to abandon Maduro. So far, Maduro has been able to maintain his tenuous position primarily because the military, for now, continues to back him.
Guaidó has been calling for more protests and is attempting to stage the largest march in Venezuela’s history in an effort to push Maduro out. Yet it’s hard to get reliable reports out of Venezuela with much of the local media under state control. Nevertheless, there have been reports of violence in the streets. Allegedly, a military vehicle collided with a crowd of Guaidó supporters.
Maduro himself has declared victory over the coup attempt but the United States claims that he was about to flee Venezuela for Cuba before Russia talked him out of it. The on-going situation in Venezuela highlights the rift between the United States, Europe, and the collective “west” and Russia, China, and Cuba, all of which have backed Maduro.
It’s believed that Russia has assets on the ground, although it’s not clear what role they are playing. Either way, the fate of Venezuela could be determined over the next few days. So far, the Trump administration has voiced support for Guaidó and has alleged that Venezuela’s elections, which Maduro won, were rigged.