The day Maduro almost fell. The internal history of the failed Venezuelan uprising
Before dawn on April 30, 2019, Juan Guaydon ե Leopoldo Lպեսpez, the US-backed interim president of Venezuela և until the morning of the country’s most famous political prisoner, stood together to announce the end of the regime of Nicolas Maduro. The walls were closing. A plane claimed by US officials was waiting for asphalt to escort Maduro to Cuba. Get timely news from the market with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free. Two years later, Guaydo’s star fell, Lopez was exiled, and Maduro remained in the Miraflores Palace. Akios talked to the main characters of the efforts to oust Maduro, the eyewitnesses of the events of that day, to find out what is wrong, what is happening now. “Now or Never” John von Bolton’s day began at 5 a.m. with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. By phone on the 25th. It was clear to both officials at the time that “it was that day” when Bolton woke up Donald Trump for the first time during his tenure as National Security Adviser. He conveyed the message that Guido was plotting to split the regime, to oust Maduro, that the day might end with the imprisonment of one of Venezuela’s leaders. “I saw on social media that Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez are together,” said Carlos Sandoval, a writer and professor of literature at Central Venezuela University. “Guido said he was in La Carlota, an air force base mostly in the city center,” Sandoval said. “He said this was part of the process of liberating the country. People must be on the streets և “When I woke up, I saw this guy (Lopez) come out, I said, ‘What the hell is going on?'” Recalls Colombian Ambassador to the United States Francisco Santos, who had was closely coordinated with the White House և Guido team ahead of April 30. After receiving assurances that “everything was connected” և Maduro’s inner circle was going to leave him, Santos thought: They are going to take it out. “Now we have a completely different ball game.” Leopoldo Lopez (R) stands next to Guaydo in Caracas. Photo. Christian Hernandez / AFP, by GettyCarlos Vecchio, Guido’s Ambassador to Washington, was in regular contact with Guido’s others. Basically he remembers the expectation. “I was waiting for some events that we were negotiating with some people in the regime. I was constantly waiting for that moment [to come]”We talked to everyone, we never got anyone,” said a source who coordinated with the opposition “regime” ahead of April 30. “Everyone” included the supreme leaders, the court, the armed forces. Michael Moreno և Vladimir Padrino, respectively,, others in Maduro’s inner circle. They were offered protection if Maduro lost power, և everyone seemed ready to play their part, or at least jump on the ship when Maduro’s fall was imminent. The first domino fell when secret police chief Christopher Figuera helped Lopez escape from house arrest. Moreno was to move next, declaring Maduro illegitimate and elevating the National Assembly. Padrino would then publicly reconcile the military with the Supreme Court ruling. Guido was to be joined by the public and the military, among whom Maduro was widely disgusted. The will would be closed so quickly that he had no other choice! The era of the two presidents, which began in January with the announcement that Maduro was “usurped” and the speaker of the National Assembly, Guido, the legitimate leader, was coming to an end. “Time works against you like that,” says Santos. “Four or five hours later, when nothing happened, I said: “I do not think that is the case.” Troops loyal to Maduro arrive at the scene. Photo. Yuri Cortez / AFP Getty. “When I was outside, near my place of residence, the first thing I met was a national guard officer who was shooting at people gathering on the street,” Sandoval said. People fled as “arrived colectivo” or left-wing militant group և started firing. All this happened right outside the police station. “The first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Wait, Juan Guaydo said something was going on, some events were happening. How come the police don’t know what?’ to do? ‘ “You realize this is the same old story as ever.” “When it started to get gloomy, when we heard that Maduro was taken to Fort Tuna and the Russians and Cubans were there, they were digging,” Bolton said. is: “They were not going to let him go, that’s for sure.” At noon, when the situation “fell”, Bolton appeared in front of the White House, shocked the international media, announcing that Padrino, Moreno and Ivan Hernandez Dalan, the head of the president’s guard, “I wanted everyone to be sure that we know what is happening. “We knew the people of Maduro’s regime were part of this conspiracy.” John on Bolton at the press conference. Photo. By Brendan Smialowski / AFP Four protesters were killed and more than 200 were injured by GettyFour. This is just another episode of a long novel that has no end yet. We do not know when it will end, maybe I will die and lose the end. ” Carlos Sandoval, Professor of Writing and Literature What went wrong? The regime’s immigrants never fully trusted the promises of the opposition, the military only when they went to the side of the winner Source: who coordinated the parties, the team և “Maduro kept his cool”. If Maduro fired the conspiracy theorists behind him, the source said, the military could turn to him. Instead, he assured them of his loyalty. One by one, the top officials of the regime took their place next to Maduro. The next morning, Padrino was on state television, smiling at his commander-in-chief. “We came very close,” says Guido, who asks Akios. on April 30. “And we are very close to doing it.” “The most important element of April 30,” he said at the Hudson Institute last week, is that the military plays a central role in any situation. transition. Even those who were close to trying to oust Ma were in a state of uncertainty as to whether the possible turning jackets crossed them twice, hampered their bets, or just froze. “We underestimated Maduro’s ability to infiltrate information and other similar things,” Santos said. According to Vecchio, the opposition “underestimated the real nature of the regime … the criminal organization in power.” Nicolas Maduro with Vladimir Padrino at his inauguration. Photo by Juan Barreto / AFP via GettyBolton, partly blaming Trump. He says the president was ready to rally behind Guido for a moment, then to step down next to him, so much so that Bolton felt that Maduro’s ouster should have taken place quickly before Trump resigned altogether. “I think it definitely hurts the chances of success. “, Says Bolton. After failing on April 30, Trump “did not want to do anything.” The consequences. “From that day on, I felt cheated,” says Sandoval. “It seemed to me that I was just a group. In Venezuela, the opposition mistakenly believed that,” Sandoval said. “Now it is almost impossible for anyone to persuade me to march and listen to a politician. You can not even pay me to do it because I do not do it. “In Venezuela, the suffering intensified months after April 30, even as the eyes of the world were largely on the move. The migrant crisis has accelerated. Five million Venezuelans now live outside the country, about 2 million of them outside Colombia. “Bogota’s music has changed,” says Santos because of the number of Venezuelan accents. By one estimate, 96% of those left in the country live in poverty. “I think the Venezuelans have become lethargic since April 30. It seems like this feeling has no end,” Sandoval said. – We live in a situation where the situation has become much more complicated by inflation, epidemics, quarantine, because we try not to die. COVID or trying not to starve. ” The Venezuelans cross to Colombia. Photo by Schneyder Mendoza / AFP Getty What now? Guaidó is trying to keep the struggle alive և to restore the inner momentum and global attention that was so palpable two years ago. “We created it within the regime, Maduro knows that. – says Vecchio – he can not trust the people around him. “And at any moment we will be able to open that door to change in Venezuela.” In other words, he says, if the opposition remains united, the United States and its allies will agree on an effective strategy to put pressure on Maduro while providing humanitarian assistance. The Biden administration’s attention was elsewhere at this point. Epidemic, China, Russia, Iran deal. A review of Venezuelan policy is under way. The administration continues to recognize Guaydo, calling Maduro a “dictator.” A spokesman for the administration told the Western Hemisphere Bureau that the United States would work to help “end the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela through practical, effective international cooperation” while fighting “Venezuelan transnational crime networks.” I do not think the political situation will change soon. “I do not see it,” said Sandoval. – Although I am optimistic, I will continue to work, I will continue to help my students. “They can not leave the country, but they can try to find their way.” “I hope my optimism will find a way.” Like this article? Get more from Axios և Subscribe to Axios Markets for free.