Maduro spoke before a crowd of supporters in Caracas today on his expectations for the Bolivarian Revolution in 2020, telling the crowd that they were “not allowed to fail”.
Saying that 2020 should be “a year of progress”, Maduro stressed his desire to see legislative elections this year. Without giving concrete details, he also said that his government was planning a new round of negotiations with a a faction of the opposition in order to secure the conditions for the election to take place.
It is likely that Maduro was referring to the so-called dissident opposition faction in the National Assembly headed by Luis Parra, who claimed the presidency of the legislature in a chaotic session on January 5 of this year. The faction represents a minority of the opposition. Parra himself has been implicated in a corruption scandal, having allegedly received money from individuals with close connections to the Maduro regime for lobbying work.
Maduro also criticized opposition leader Juan Guaido for his ongoing international tour, saying that it was a complete “failure” and predicted that the opposition would “continue being clowns” this year. He launched into an angry rant at Guaido, saying:
There’s nothing stupider than declaring yourself [president]. Who the fuck elected you? You bololongo [a disparaging nickname for Guaido], you imbecile, you traitor, you turncoat. You’re an idiot [and] corrupt.
On his own international relations, Maduro said that he was willing to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump if asked. Maduro said:
I’m willing to meet with the US as long as they respect us. If one day Trump gets tired of the lies from [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and his friends, we revolutionaries are willing to talk and understand one another to [secure] peace in Latin America and in our country.
The comment is not noteworthy in itself, as it follows in Maduro’s mercurial stance towards the United States and the Trump administration in particular.
Guaido Speaks at Davos
Guaido gave a speech today in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum.
During his speech, Guaido asserted that the opposition under his leadership made “mistakes” in its struggle against the Maduro regime last year, blaming the overwhelming support that Maduro enjoys from the country’s armed forces.
On the possibility of finding a negotiated resolution to the crisis, Guaido said that the opposition has already earnestly tried twice, and that both times the regime has destroyed the opportunity. He said:
The queen of conflict resolution mechanisms is mediation, negotiation. We’ve tried twice, and unfortunately the dictatorship has made this option impossible.
The opposition and the Maduro regime have sat down to negotiate twice in recent years: once in 2017 in the Dominican Republic, and once last year under the auspices of the Norwegian government.
Guaido also said that he had been having meetings with unspecified actors in regards to the ongoing exodus of Venezuelans from the country. He said:
We’ve had meetings with countries that have had experience with migrants when it comes to the issue of papers, follow-ups, everything to do with health.
Below, a short clip of Guaido’s speech at Davos:
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