US-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido blames “people who failed to follow through” for the demise of last week’s attempt to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government – but believes there’s still hope.
“There were people who failed to follow through,” Guaido told AFP on Monday, but “it doesn’t mean that they won’t do it soon.” The self-appointed interim president didn’t specify who his backers were, but they aren’t the only ones he has blamed for Maduro’s refusal to quietly go away.
Guaido previously blamed the military for not rushing to his side after he called on them to defect last Tuesday, though he stressed his door is still open to anyone who wants to defect. “We still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it,” he told the Washington Post on Saturday, and he indicated to AFP that interest has increased. “There have been discussions…with civil and military officials,” he said, insisting “we are very close to achieving change in Venezuela.”
Freddy Superlano, who the Post calls the “architect” of Guaido’s “Operation Freedom,” blamed turncoat Maduro loyalists for the coup’s failure, claiming a cell of top Maduro officials – including defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez – had secretly hatched a plot with Guaido mentor Leopoldo Lopez to “give Maduro up” in exchange for holding on to their positions in the new regime. “We moved forward out of trust that the top ranks [of the government] would make announcements against Maduro,” Superlano complained, though he claims negotiations with the officials “are still happening” despite their unequivocal condemnation of the coup, and that Maduro’s government will collapse any minute now.
Guaido’s supporters might be next on the blame list. Protesters are reportedly weary of being used as “cannon fodder” and have gone public with their discontent as the opposition leader called for still more street protests on Sunday. Efforts to flood the streets with supporters in order to hand-deliver another call to arms to military barracks also fizzled as “hundreds rather than the anticipated thousands” turned out to do Guaido’s bidding.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has pinned responsibility for the failed coup on the CIA as well as his country’s opposition, claiming the US agency had a “joint plan” with Guaido’s Venezuelan backers, while Maduro placed the blame squarely on Guaido and his inner circle’s heads, in a speech the day after the failed coup, telling the crowd that “the Venezuelan coup leaders not only deceived themselves, but also deceived US imperialists, saying that I was going to leave the country.” Maduro affirmed the “total loyalty” of all senior military officers and called on them to be ready to defend Venezuela against an invasion by the US, which was operating “a conspiracy with a lot of money in order to destroy and divide our armed forces from the inside, with the help of a group of traitors.”
The Trump administration has not given up on regime change, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continuing to insist that “all options are on the table” in Venezuela and claiming “any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful” as he commanded Russian personnel to leave “our hemisphere.”
“Every country that is interfering with the Venezuelan people’s right to restore their own democracy needs to leave,” Pompeo said.