Crisis in Venezuela: What lies ahead for Juan Guaidó?

CGTN / Youtube

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with the President of the Inter-American Dialogue, Michael Shifter, about the crisis in Venezuela. Among the topics discussed were Juan Guaidó’s swearing in as interim president, the role that the military and outside actors will play, and how the crisis might unravel.

Comments by Michael Shifter: 

“Nobody knew who [Guaidó] was three weeks ago […] and he emerged as the elected leader of the National Assembly. He has had a messaging and discourse that are very compelling, more than any other opposition leader we have seen. […] He has been very smart, and the international community has wisely followed his lead. Today was a demonstration of the breadth of his support and the desire for some change.”

“How do we cross this river? […] That is going to require some negotiation. Clearly, the big issue is the armed forces, which today we learn are still loyal and supporting Maduro, and they are an obstacle to making this transition happen. […] They will have to work out some details and some guarantees for the armed forces. There have been a lot of abuses committed, high levels of corruption. All those things have to be dealt with, and I think once they have been dealt with we will get to the other side of the river. ”

“The United States has been following Guaidó’s lead. Guaidó said he was interim president today and so president Trump’s announcement came right after.”

“We are finally at a point where we have a leader who certainly has legitimacy. He is the president of the National Assembly, he seems to enjoy broad support as we have seen on the streets and in many other areas, and this is what had been missing in Venezuela.”

“Maduro has been unpopular for a long time but there was never an effective unified opposition as there seem to be now. […] The opposition is very heterogeneous and it is going to be hard to hold it together, but so far Guaidó has been able to do that.”

“There is a positive scenario, but it is going to require some time and it is going to require a lot of negotiations and talks with the opposition and the government and especially high-level military officers associated with the government to try to make this as peaceful as they can.”

“The worst-case scenario is that this really collapses and there is a massive violent confrontation with the Chavistas and with the opposition. […] If they push too hard and there is no negotiation and they feel that the military should just surrender and support Guaidó, that could be very complicated for Venezuela.”

Watch the full interview here