Interim president Juan Guaido spoke to Venezuelans today via a web broadcast following his weeklong tour of Latin America. Yesterday, Guaido announced that his tour–which also saw him visit Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil–would end in Ecuador.
During the address, Guaido reiterated calls for a nationwide protest tomorrow at 11:00 AM local time, and announced its rally points in Caracas. Guaido also announced that he would take special measures to protect public sector employees from extortion by the ruling PSUV party, although he provided few details on the issue.
Because Guaido violated an order from the Supreme Court banning him from leaving the country when he snuck into Colombia last week, it is possible that he will be arrested when he tried to re-enter the country. In an interview with Argentinian media yesterday, Guaido said that Maduro would be committing “last mistake” if the authorities did detain him upon his return.
However, it is not clear at this time if Guaido broadcast his speech earlier tonight from Venezuela or from somewhere outside of the country.
Guaido tweeted a message tonight suggesting that he is still not in Venezuela, and that he is fully aware of the threat of arrest:
If the usurper [Maduro] and his accomplices try to detain me, we’ve set out a clear route, with clear instructions to be followed by our intentional allies and brothers in parliament.
We are much stronger than ever and now is not the time to falter.
Bolton: US Attention in Venezuela is because its “in our hemisphere”
National Security Advisor John Bolton spoke with CNN’s Jack Taper during a televised interview this morning in which he was asked about the United States stance against Maduro.
During the interview, Taper asked Bolton if it was hypocritical for the White House to condemn Maduro as a dictator while at the same time providing support to other dictatorships, like Saudi Arabia’s. Bolton responded by saying:
I think it’s separate, and I think–look, in this administration we’re not afraid to use the phrase “Monroe Doctrine”. This [Venezuela] is a country in our hemisphere. It’s been the objective of presidents going back to Ronald Reagan to have a completely democratic hemisphere.
The Monroe Doctrine is named after president James Monroe, who began a policy in 1823 of viewing European colonial ventures in the Americas as a threat to the United States in the hemisphere. Broadly speaking, the Monroe Doctrine has been used in the past to justify U.S. involvement in Latin American affairs.
Below, the segment of the interview in which Bolton makes the comment:
Ex-PDVSA Chief: Chavez “Would Have Launched Rebellion” Against Maduro
Rafael Ramirez, the former head of the state-owned PDVSA oil firm and Chavez loyalist, said in an interview published today that Chavez “would have launched a rebellion” against Maduro for all of the “suffering” that he has caused the people of Venezuela, and that he never expected that Maduro would actually become the president of Venezuela.
In the interview–which was published by Colombia’s El Espectador–Ramirez was asked why Chavez named Maduro as his successor. Ramirez said:
If president Chavez were alive today he would have launched a rebellion against Maduro for the conditions [that are causing] suffering for our people. He would be heading a patriotic movement against him, and if he were alive he would have removed [Maduro from power] immediately. What’s happened is that Maduro has taken advantage of the fact that Chavez died.
Ramirez went on to say that Chavez did not expect to die from his illness because his doctors had told him that “he would return” alive from the operation that he had in late December 2012.
Ramirez explained that Chavez was worried that he would be unable to be sworn in as president in January 2013, and that he also knew that in that event there would have to be another presidential election. Worried that the PSUV would be unable to chose a new leader in a matter of days, Ramirez explained that Chavez chose to name Maduro to save the party the trouble in that eventuality.
When asked about what Maduro’s biggest mistake has been, Ramirez said:
He threw chavismo aside. He didn’t listen. He was totally ignorant about how to run the country, and on top of that, he lacked the humility to recognize his own limitations because he never let anyone help him (…) Maduro has acted like a dictator and his time is up. He’s just desperate now, trying to figure out how to survive.
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