This July 23 marks six months of the self – proclamation of the “president in charge”: Crowded concerts, covert meetings, attempts at military uprisings, internal corruption and even alleged romantic infidelities, have since happened on the grounds of the Venezuelan opposition.
By Edgard Ramírez
However, beyond the hectic media events, the entelechy of the opposition deputy Juan Guaidó’s self proclamation at the head of an alleged para-Government in Venezuela, he has not produced results and every day loses more impetus and support, inside and outside the country.
No forceful armed action – call it a coup d’etat or foreign intervention – has happened so far and the Government is riding through the political crisis against all odds, as it says.
During this first half of 2019, for example, the deputy and president of the National Assembly met with foreign leaders and requested in international forums military aggression against the country. This, and his participation in the escape of Leopoldo López, is perhaps what generates more impotence among the Chavista base that accuses the government of being “soft”.
Chronologically, the emblematic moments of the Juan Guaidó project allow us to determine how his proposal has lost momentum and which national and international sectors have distanced themselves, openly or stealthily.
On January 5, 2019 , Juan Guaidó (a deputy who came in second in his home state, Vargas) assumed the presidency of the National Assembly (AN) – majority opposition – instead of Freddy Guevara who fled to take refuge in the Chilean embassy in 2017, after the parliamentary immunity was lifted for alleged crimes of association, continued public instigation and use of adolescents to commit crimes.
By common agreement after winning the AN, the opposition agreed that the presidency of the chamber would be first go to Democratic Action, then to Justice First and finally to Popular Will. But since Guevara was out of play, Guaidó took his place.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally met with Guaidó only five days after his inauguration in parliament to plan a mobilization to press for a “transitional government” and to call for a presidential election.
On January 13 “the show began” as denounced by Guaido’s detractors. When he was heading to an event he was briefly stopped by SEBIN. The responses of both political sides to this fact are like the lyrics of (the Venezuelan song) “Alcaraván”: That it was you, that it was me, no, that it was you …
— Roman Camacho (@RCamachoVzla) January 13, 2019
Once the AN declared President Maduro as “usurper of the presidency,” he offered “amnesty” to the military who would disown the government.
Although the calculation in the opposition and its sponsors was that hundreds of soldiers would join the call, this did not happen and in the White House they began to suspect the incapacity and lack of support of their local allies, according to some local critics.
On January 23 (a date of great symbolism in Venezuela) the Guaidó project began to froth: he proclaimed himself “President in charge”, without the consultation or approval of the rest of the opposition parties.
It is not a minor fact that this political triquiñuela (trick) made from the very start of his “mandate”, created an opposition within the anti-Chavismo leadership.
Immediately, the governments of the US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia and other Latin American countries enthusiastically supported the “para-president” and ignored the constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro.
Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Portugal announced that they would recognize Guaidó as president if elections were not called within a week.
A few days after the self-proclamation, the issue of Venezuela and “the new leadership of Guaidó” was already in the UN Security Council, promoted by the United States. They insisted that all countries had to do the same. Of course, Russia and China blocked the US project supporting the opposition Parliament.
— Últimas Noticias (@UNoticias) January 26, 2019
Lies and videos
On January 25, some images are revealed that show Guaidó’s meeting with Diosdado Cabello. The anti-Chavista base – as a reflexive act – denied the encounter and then minimized the uncovered lie.
Tras las declaraciones de Diosdado Cabello quien dijo que se reunió con @jguaido un día antes de la marcha del #23deenero, el presidente interino de #Vzla dice que Cabello “miente hasta cuando dice la verdad”#HablaGuiado HOY en #JaniotPM 8PM (9 PM en Venezuela) por @uninoticias pic.twitter.com/ZRBKu0Xzbs
— Patricia Janiot (@patriciajaniot) January 25, 2019
It can be said that this event was well handled by the opposition since the Guaidó challenge was a viral success: virilizing funny memes about people wearing hooded shirts covering their faces to mock the government videos showing the meeting that later on was admitted by Guaido.
However, for the most radical sectors, this meeting meant a “betrayal” that brought the young leader closer to the most “hated” of Chavismo (Diosddo Cabello).
Venezuelan Mayamera media, for example, was the epicenter of the main criticisms.
Diosdado se reunió fue con un reguetonero jajajajajajajaja pic.twitter.com/3iVlLVUw1g
— Alta Tensión (@Altatension957) January 25, 2019
On January 27, Guaido called for two new demonstrations (January 30 and February 2) to demand the support of the Armed Forces. At that time, he announced that he already had control of Venezuela’s assets abroad.
#ComunicadoOficial al pueblo de Venezuela de los avances logrados sobre el:
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) January 28, 2019
On January 31, the European Parliament recognized Guaido and the EU created the Contact Group on Venezuela. A few days later, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands also recognize him “officially” after the expiration of the ultimatum given to Maduro to call presidential elections in eight days.
At that time, the popularity of Guaidó – inside and outside the country – was driven by hundreds of news stories of all kinds, repeated over and over again by all social media and networks. WhatsApp chains were strident about “the imminent liberation of Venezuela.”
Humanitarian aid, concert and show
On February 12 at a public event, Guaidó announced that a shipment of “humanitarian aid” would enter from Colombia and Brazil. Within the framework of that donation made by some countries to the Venezuelan opposition, an epic began to be built that took hold at the border concert “Venezuela Aid Live” that was held in Cúcuta on February 22 .
That event was another clear example of how the plans to attack the Venezuelan government did not yield the expected results and after the initial boom … everything returned to “calm”.
In fact, after the strategic concert several scandals were uncovered (debts not paid to service providers, corruption with international donations, non-payment to the military defectors and so on).
The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don’t politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination. pic.twitter.com/I0yS3u75b6
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) February 18, 2019
As is well known, on February 23, no truck loaded with “humanitarian aid” entered Venezuela and although one of them was set on fire, the communication frame imposed the story was that it was set on fire by the Venezuelan Government itself.
There, once again, the interested support of the great public opinion makers tried to distort reality to continue artificially building the image of a young and charismatic leader who is peacefully confronting a ruthless and brutal regime.
The greatest evidence is the forgetfulness of the reports from Cúcuta, a Colombian town that suffers the greatest attacks of the disorderly reception of Venezuelan migrants and unscrupulous politicians.
CNN y las matemáticas: meta=100 millones. Recaudaron 2,4. Honorarios de 2000 personal técnico (supongamos que cobraron 500 $ c/u). Entonces: 2400000 (recaudado)-2000000(honorarios)-1000000(el millón que donó daddy yankee que no ha llegado)= menos 600 mil $. Branson? Missing
— Jorge Rodríguez (@jorgerpsuv) March 1, 2019
After the concert, the brazen embezzlement that the opposition maintains with international donations began.
Maduro’s own arch-enemy press denounced the situation recently (June 18 ). “Envoys from Guaidó appropriate funds for humanitarian aid in Colombia. Diversion of money, embezzlement, inflation of figures, fraud and threats so that emissaries of President Guaidó are surrounded by luxuries,” they reported. (This brought his base support to the lowest levels and even the most radical anti-Chavistas began to lose faith in him.)
Cumpliendo con mi deber e instrucciones de @jguaido entregue este martes, al Fiscal General de Colombia DR Fabio Espitia Garzón, los recaudos para la investigación sobre presunta corrupción en el manejo de los recursos para la atención de los militares venezolanos en Cúcuta. pic.twitter.com/Ms7ShoWh2r
— Humberto Calderón B. (@calderonberti) June 18, 2019
40 want-to-be presidents
Even before the foci of corruption were uncovered, international support was beginning to eclipse. Analysts say there is a distance between the “international community” and the representatives of Guaidó.
Recall that at the end of February, Guaidó participated in a meeting of the Lima Group where the use of force was ruled out.
The grandiloquence of the declarations of this international anti-Chavez coalition – promoted by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro – and Trump’s administration, is also becoming extinct. Paradoxically, many of the member countries now impose discriminatory laws against Venezuelan migrants and allow hate messages and xenophobic demonstrations against newcomers. (While a few months back they openly invited Venezuelans to go to their countries and flexibilized entry requirements.)
In addition, analysts say that the meetings that Russia and the US have had – through the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – makes clear the distancing of the White House from Guaidó’s representatives.
Pompeo referred to the “diabolical effort” to keep the Venezuelan right together and said that if there are elections, “more than 40 opposition candidates will be launched,” in a message that makes it clear that Trump’s cabinet is not very satisfied (with their Venezuelan puppets).
An interim first lady of the interim first lady?
The scandals around Guaidó have not only been politicians. A few weeks ago a photograph of the deputy with a girl in attitude, according to some, very close, went viral on the networks.
Immediately, the #GuaidoInfiel (Guaido Unfaithful) hashtag became a trend. Some claim that it is his cousin and model, but others lined up without compassion, against him -and her -.
— Ella Gretchen ☄️ (@EllaGret) June 5, 2019
Guaidó’s followers did not forgive a dive. During one of his most recent activities, in Margarita Island, a fishermen asked him to launch into the sea and he accepted.
The action generated dozens of reactions on Twitter and Instagram .
The photo of him jumping into the sea was used as a meme with hundreds of phrases: “This is how Guaidó jumps to failure”, “The virtual government of Guaidó, graphic description”, said the users on the networks.
The majority labeled the action as populist.
llegando a al sexto vaso
la fiesta de ron pic.twitter.com/toaN6qFPid
— Jon Marín Emerson (@nosabesnadajon) July 18, 2019
And now what will Guaidó do?
So far, Guido is sentenced to 15 years of disqualification and the lifting of his parliamentary immunity. In addition, he was banned from leaving the country and his bank accounts were frozen. All this for usurping the functions of President Maduro.
Despite this, the deputy maintains a constant tour around the country haranguing the opposition and making all kinds of calls to the “International Community.”
Moreover, according to Reuters, the gringo government approved the sending of $ 41.9 million to Venezuela (which was previously destined for “humanitarian aid” in Guatemala and Honduras due to the refugee crisis).
USAID would be the institution in charge of providing the Guaidó team with millions for “salaries, travel, communication equipment, technical assistance and training in the administration of government budget and other needs of the Venezuelan opposition”.
La tortura y la represión en Venezuela no van a quedar impunes. Tenemos el respaldo del mundo y estamos trabajando fuertemente en todos los terrenos.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) July 19, 2019
However, and parallel to the manifest insurrection, the new dialogue between the Government and the opposition – with Norway observing – creates a new political platform from which to seek an understanding.
This despite the extremists who pretend to ignore the political adversary and drive a kind of (fascist) spree, very dangerous.
Translated by JRE/EF