The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC gave an eviction notice on Monday to the activists who have occupied the embassy for a month. These activists consider Nicolas Maduro to be Venezuela’s legitimate president and are unhappy that the US and other countries recognize the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido, as the interim Venezuela’s president.
(photo credit to: fair.org)
Tensions at the embassy
These activists comprise a group of US anti-war people who claim that the permitted access to the embassy was given by the diplomats from the Venezuelan government of Maduro’s administration. However, the situation went stuck that the diplomats left due to the confrontation between Maduro and Guaido. Maduro’s administration later announced that the US police intrusion in the embassy is an aggression against Venezuela. News report that some activists have voluntarily left the embassy and it was not clear which US agency issued the eviction notice although Washington DC police did surround the embassy on Monday night.
Legitimacy of the regime
Juan Guaido is a 35-year-old politician who announced himself the legitimate president of Venezuela in January backed by the US and other 50 countries. In hope of overthrowing the dictatorship, Maduro, he has organized a military uprising in April but failed to oust Maduro and the support of Venezuelan militants. Last week, Guaido claimed that he will not rule out the possibility of asking for the US’ military assistance.
The Maduro administration reiterated that it was the US position that Guaido’s government had legal authority and that the US force trespassing Venezuelan embassy is violating Venezuela’s regime and international law. In response to this protest at the embassy, the Maduro administration encouraged the remaining activists to conduct peaceful movement on street through lawful way. Venezuelan spokesperson has announced that, “No individuals will be permitted to enter the embassy until the trespassers are gone.”
Foreign forces involved
The battlement of legitimacy has been stuck in Venezuela for months and drew in external forces. The US and Russia are key players at Venezuela crisis. Although it seems that the US support Guaido whereas Russia back Maduro, early last week Trump revealed that he and Putin are not looking to get involved in Venezuela but would like to see something positive happen. US Secretary of State Pompeo instead stated that the US is not ruling out military action but also stressed that this doesn’t seem to be an imminent option.
Both Russia and the US are on the same page hoping not to get involved in Venezuela but it is apparent that Venezuela’s future will be between these two power. Venezuela used to be a geopolitical crux for the US and Russia. When the US banned arm sales to Venezuela in 2006, Russia saw this a great opportunity to build ties and establish an effect in South America. However, analysis shows that it is because Venezuela has been unable to pay up Russia’s stake of gas field that the support and presence of Russia is diminishing.
The ongoing confrontation between Guaido and Maduro made Venezuela stuck in a power struggle. Although the US asserts to support democracy in Venezuela, whether Guaido can really lead Venezuela to a stable democratic regime is yet to be discussed. However, many Venezuelan have been thrown to poverty, shortage of food, lack of medicine, rising inflation causing increasing crime, which the government only resort to military oppression. Plus, that the Venezuelan militants used to be accused of violation on human rights and drug trafficking decreased people’s hope of seeking fair and justice; hence, Venezuelan stood to protest for a democracy.
ICRD stands for human right and holds that people have rights on their land and life. Democracy gives people the lawful and peaceful way of making decision on their own system, politics and market. ICRD hopes that Venezuelan can achieve building a fair and just country for its people and of its people in the future.
Author: Yung Lin, Researcher at ICRD