CARACAS – Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido pointed on Monday to the Armed Forces as the factor supporting “dictator” Nicolas Maduro, but added that a vast majority of “military families” are dissatisfied.
“It is the Armed Forces who support the dictator today (...), that important sector of the country, which has a role not only in stopping the usurpation, but also in the reconstruction of Venezuela,” Guaido said in an interview with EFE on Monday night.
It is also clear there are soldiers who have already begun to turn their backs on Maduro publicly, he said, adding there are also 160 active soldiers who were captured and “are being tortured.”
According to his data, “80 percent of the military family is absolutely dissatisfied with this regime.”
This loyalty of the so-called Bolivarian National Armed Forces (BNAF) to the government would be the main obstacle to undoing what Guaido has called Maduro’s “usurpation” of the presidency, and would also be the obstacle to him assuming official interim presidency of the country.
On the possibility of ordering a foreign intervention, Guaido said the topic is “very controversial” but he is going to “do what is necessary to achieve the cessation of the dictatorship.”
When Guaido swore in as interim president on Jan. 23 before hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, he said that his government intends to achieve three objectives that have become a mantra for the opposition: “Cessation of the usurpation, transition government and free elections.”
Today, he said Maduro no longer has support but is still occupying the presidential palace of Miraflores because of “the military.”
“Maduro is unaware of the crisis (...) the deterioration of the quality of life, of public services, the risk of life we have in Venezuela,” he said.
“What do we lack today after 20 years of work, sacrifice, to build a majority? We lack the factor that ultimately sustains dictatorships, which is the Armed Forces,” he added.
Guaido did not want to talk about the deadline for Maduro’s “usurpation” and preferred to reiterate areas in which they must continue working, such as “social mobilization,” “the international community,” “the Armed Forces” and “the union of the opposition.”
“We are all desperate. We are all frustrated because of the hard moment in our country. But we must stay on the road. We have spoken very clearly and we are on a road of hope, of change that is getting closer,” he said.
He did not know who would be the next candidate for the presidency when the “free elections” are held.
“The best candidate will be the one that emerges from the union of all the factors, from the democratic alternative,” he said.
On the investigation that the Venezuelan Comptroller announced it would open for alleged international resources received, Guaido said that “an absolutely deteriorated regime with no credibility does not have any authority or legitimacy to speak after they have stolen all the money.”
He also reiterated that he is only interested in “getting out of this dictatorship, achieving the necessary social and political force to achieve the cessation of the usurpation.”
Guaido tried to dismantle the pro-government discourse that his actions can lead to a civil war by pointing out that in Venezuela “there is no possibility of a people-to-people confrontation” because “Maduro is isolated. He is alone and has no people’s support.”
Maduro only wants to “maintain and protect his privileges,” he added.
That is why “nobody would be willing to do anything for Nicolas Maduro, to sacrifice himself or to die for someone who is not willing to even attend to them or to protect them,” he insisted.
He also said that Maduro does not know how to finance this alleged warlike scenario and this is one of the reasons why the presiding parliament has asked international financial organizations not to deliver the assets of Venezuela to the government.
“Why do we protect the assets of Venezuela? Precisely so that they do not use the resources of Venezuela in continuing to arm the population,” he added.
Meanwhile, Guaido said he is focused on getting humanitarian aid to the country, and that he has already procured 1,700,000 food rations for children in a state of malnutrition.