Venezuela has been at the center of the international diplomatic scene since the head of the Parliament, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself president, defying the socialist leader Nicolas Maduro: what are the main supporters of each?
– THE MILITARY
A key support for the government, they reaffirmed their loyalty on Thursday. Out of 32 ministers, nine are military, particularly in Defense, Interior, Agriculture and Food. They control the national oil company PDVSA, the source of 96% of the country’s income, and the intelligence services.
But cracks are appearing: on Saturday, Venezuela’s military attaché in Washington, Colonel José Luis Silva, announced that he no longer recognizes Nicolas Maduro as legitimate president, calling on his “military brothers” to support Juan Guaido.
– INTERNATIONAL CREDITORS AND ALLIES
China, Venezuela’s main creditor with some 20 billion in debts, on Thursday opposed “outside interference” after the support of the United States and other countries for Juan Guaido.
Russia’s second largest creditor, Caracas also supports it militarily: in December, two strategic bombers and a hundred soldiers were sent to Venezuela for joint maneuvers. She demanded on Saturday “the end” of “cynical and undisguised interference in the affairs of a sovereign state”.
Turkey, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico and Uruguay have indicated that they continue to recognize Nicolas Maduro as legitimate president, who also counts on the support of Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea.
Finally, the leader of La France insoumise (radical left), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said on Sunday that he wanted Nicolas Maduro to “hold on”.
The Supreme Court, the highest court, has acquired power. Its members were appointed by the former Chavist parliamentary majority at the end of 2015, a few days before the opposition became a majority in Parliament.
Since 2016, she has overturned all decisions of Parliament for “contempt”. She renewed her support for Mr. Maduro on Thursday. Attorney General Tarek William Saab is also supporting the government.
– THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
It was summoned by Nicolas Maduro after four months of opposition demonstrations which left some 125 dead in 2017. Composed of loyal to the regime, it assumes in practice the role of Parliament.
– THE ELECTORAL POWER
The National Electoral Council (CNE) is chaired by Tibisay Lucena, openly Chavist. During his tenure, several opposition parties were banned. Mr. Maduro received his support on Thursday.
The CNE and the judiciary blocked a referendum to dismiss the socialist leader in 2016.
Denouncing the partiality of the CNE, the main opposition parties did not participate in the presidential election of May 20, 2018, at the end of which Nicolas Maduro was re-elected, and consider it fraudulent.
– GROWING INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
The United States, the European Union (EU) and several Latin American countries have not recognized the results of the presidential election.
Immediately after proclaiming himself interim president, Juan Guaido, a little-known young right-wing MP, received the support of Donald Trump, followed by a dozen American countries, including Brazil and Colombia.
The EU said on Saturday that it “will take action” if elections are not called “in the next few days”, but some of its members, such as Greece, continue to support Maduro.
On the same day, six European countries (Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands) demanded the convening of elections within eight days, failing which they will recognize Guaido as head of state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that his country recognized the “new power” in Venezuela, embodied by Juan Guaido.
– THE PARLIAMENT
The opposition-dominated Parliament was elected in 2015, when the Table of Democratic Unity (MUD), the main opposition coalition, inflicted on Chavismo the biggest electoral defeat in its history.
Elected president of Parliament on January 5, Juan Guaido calls for a “transitional government” and new elections. He proposes an amnesty to the soldiers breaking with Nicolas Maduro.
Parliament qualifies the latter as a “usurper”, but its hands are tied by the decisions of the Supreme Court.
– JUSTICE IN EXILE
A parallel Supreme Court, appointed by the parliamentary majority and the opposition in exile, welcomed the self-proclamation of Juan Guaido on Wednesday.
Attorney General Luisa Ortega, a Chavist-turned-opponent, who fled the country in 2017 after being sacked by the Constituent Assembly, expressed her “support” and recognized the “new president” Guaido.