AIn light of the escalating national crisis in Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro and the self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó campaign for support from the armed forces. "Always loyal, never traitor," the soldiers called during a visit to Maduro on Sunday at the 41st brigade in Paramacay Fortress. During an exercise the head of state walked along the side of Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino through the barracks. He drove a military boat and showed himself armored with soldiers on a naval base.
Guaidó meanwhile tries to pull simple soldiers at his side. On Twitter, he published the amnesty law passed by parliament, which assures the army of impunity when they participate in the restoration of the democratic order. "Divide it into the army in your family, among your friends and neighbors," he wrote. Opposition MPs and student leaders handed over the document to civil servants of the National Guard.
"Soldier of the homeland, today I give you an order: do not shoot the Venezuelan people, do not oppress peaceful demonstrations," said Guaidó on Sunday. "It's time to take sides with the Constitution."
Guaidó wants more protest
For the coming week he announced new protests. On Wednesday, people across the country should take to the streets against the Maduro government, he said. "Our demands are that the armed forces must stand on the side of the people and pass on the humanitarian aid that we have already requested all over the world," Guaidó said.
Guaidó, head of the powerless parliament, had appointed the interim president of Venezuela on Wednesday. The United States and many Latin American countries have already recognized him as a transitional chief of state. Australia also moved on Sunday. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua continue to support Socialist President Maduro.
Among others Germany, France, Spain and Great Britain have asked Maduro to hold free and fair elections within a week. If that did not happen, they would be willing to recognize Guaidó as the rightful interim president. This Saturday, the self-appointed transitional leader called on the Venezuelans at home and abroad for further demonstrations to support the demands of Europeans.
Trump's safety advisor warns of violence
The US President Donald Trump's security advisor, John Bolton, has now warned against violence against the Venezuelan opposition and US diplomats. "Any form of violence and intimidation against American diplomats, the democratic leader of Venezuela Juan Guaidó or the parliament would be a serious attack on the rule of law and an important reaction", he wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Control over the armed forces is considered the key to power in Venezuela. The leadership of the army has so far left Maduro, but in the lower ranks there is apparently more dissatisfaction. Recently there were several small riot soldiers. On the weekend, the military attaché of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington announced Maduro's loyalty and joined Guaidó.