An ongoing political turmoil in Venezuela has larger geopolitical tensions brewing – the United States on one side and Russia on the other. The two nations have accused each other of interference in the OPEC-member nation’s affairs as Juan Guaido called for the biggest ‘political demonstration’ against Maduro on 1st of May.
(Guaido is recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state by the United States, the European Union and others, while Maduro is backed by countries including Russia, China, and Cuba.)
Heeding to their opposition leader, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets on Wednesday in a bid to force President Nicolas Maduro from power. Although Guaido’s call did yield a large turnover, the number of protesters had trickled down by late afternoon – mostly owing to military intervention. Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez, died in 2013.
It was unclear what more Guaido can do at this point. The Venezuelan opposition has often staged huge street protests against Maduro but failed to dislodge him despite a deep economic recession and hyperinflation.
As protests intensify, Russia and US have been accusing each other of interfering in a sovereign nation’s internal affairs.
Pompeo had been heard saying ‘they (US) were expecting Maduro to flee the country on Tuesday but Russia convinced him to stay’, which the Kremlin has denied.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.