During a rally in Caracas on April 27, Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó (shown) appealed to members of the nation’s army to cease their support for leftist strongman Nicolas Maduro and come over to his side. More than 50 nations, including the United States, recognize Guaidó as the legitimate head of Venezuela’s government.
Guaidó told supporters at the rally that the support of the army for the opposition was “fundamental” to removing Maduro from power, “but time is passing and the wait cannot be eternal.”
He reminded military leaders that they have “a historic opportunity resting on their shoulders.”
An AP story that just broke as we write on April 30 said:
Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó took to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky attempt to lead a military uprising and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.
The early-morning rebellion seems to have only limited military support. But it was by far the most-serious challenge yet to Maduro's rule since Guaidó, with the backing of the U.S., declared himself the country's interim president in January in rejection of a government he accused of "usurping" power.
In addition to the widespread international diplomatic support for Guaidó, Maduro is feeling great economic pressure. Venezuela’s economy is in shambles, with the inflation rate now at more than 10 million percent a year. There are widespread shortages of food and medicines.
Furthermore U.S. oil sanctions against Venezuela, depriving the Maduro regime of most of its income, are beginning to have an effect.
The sanctions became a complete oil embargo on April 28. The U.S. government announced that, as of that date, the United States will take action against anyone who deals with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, or any entity in which the company holds at least a 50-percent stake.
The United States has already moved to put Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of PDVSA, under the control of Guaidó, who appointed his own board.
The only thing keeping Maduro in power is the support from his army, as well as support from Cuba, China, and Russia.
Guaidó urged his supporters to escalate pressure on the regime with a massive May Day protest on Wednesday that he predicted will be “the largest in the country’s history.”
There is more potential trouble in Venezuela, Guaidó believes. A reporter for the Miami Herald wrote on April 29, that Guaidó told him in an interview that the recent arrival of Russian military personnel in Venezuela is a blatant foreign military intervention. “It’s very serious, because foreign military aircraft arrived in Venezuelan soil without authorization from parliament, which is the only one that can authorize foreign military missions of any shape or rank in Venezuela,” Guaidó told the reporter.
Guaidó told the Herald that Maduro “has often denounced [U.S.] interference and intervention, but it turned out that it has been Maduro who has facilitated not only the arrival of these two [Russian] planes, but also the Cuban presence in intelligence and counter-intelligence activities.”
Image of Juan Guaidó: Voice of America