Huang Guayo's self-proclamation as President of Venezuela on Wednesday prompted a wave of declarations from Latin America and the world. In the region, the United States and its allies, including Chile, have acknowledged the actions of the Vice-President, implicitly instigating the uprising and further exacerbating the situation in the Caribbean.
On the other hand, the explicit support provided this Thursday by the armed forces of the government of President Nicholas Maduro closes for a moment the door to the militaries that the member countries of the Lima group are trying to provoke.
The result is not clear, but the situation in the region is critical. In view of this, in an interview with Diario y Radio Universidad de Chile, the sociologist and international analyst Raul Sochre described the possible scenarios and explained the contexts in which the crisis deepened for him several years ago,
We saw this Wednesday as Juan Guido, as President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, he had sworn in as "President of Venezuela." On what basis can the politician declare himself president?
Guyado raised three conditions when he started this path and was elected chairman of the National Assembly. The first condition is to support people. This is something that is not clear, certainly there is some support, but it is not possible to say today that there is support for the majority in Venezuela. Secondly, this is the support of the international community. The "international community" is generally a euphemism to mention the United States and its allies. Because Russia and China are part of the international community like everyone else. However, he says "the support of the international community" and means the United States and Latin America. I would also like to get the support of Europe, but the European Union is cautious about this. The third, decisive, and there is determined what will happen in Venezuela is the support of the armed forces. He is constantly calling on the armed forces to rule in his favor. Ultimately, the military will determine the proportion of forces and what will happen in Venezuela.
In this sense, can international support be the basis for Guaido to declare himself president of Venezuela?
Today, there is a government in Venezuela that has real control, and it is the government of Nicholas Maduro. Regardless of the questions that may be asked about the legitimacy of his election, whether sympathetic to the opposition or not, the real, physical fact is that he has control. Then acknowledge that many of the South American states, except Bolivia and Uruguay, recognize fictitious government, is something absolutely unusual.
How is this situation where almost the entire region has decided to express its support and recognize the self-proclaimed president?
What is happening in Venezuela is not a coincidence, it meets a scenario prepared with enough time. You do not achieve a regional consensus on how to respond to the creation of this figure of an alternative president – in which the group of South American states has in fact recognized Guaidó as president – unless it violates a basic rule of international law, that when you recognize a government, it is that this government has effective territorial control. That is, the one who controls the border and the one who controls the many institutions.
However, this violation of the basic rule of international law does not seem to matter to the United States, Chile or any of the countries of the Lima Group …
I believe that much of the debate about how to proceed took place in the Lima group. That is where the states that have recognized Guaidó participate and I believe that there, and in other cases, you can see that the United States has a role to play in coordinating this situation. We have to admit that Venezuela is experiencing an absolutely critical situation with inflation that is inappropriate, with a huge shortage, and that despite this political crisis that is being generated, there is a situation of a substance that needs a solution.
But of course, this recognition, far from contributing to the decision, worsens the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing.
How long is Venezuela in the interest of the political and economic interests of the United States?
The United States has always been central. From Chavez's government, involved in the 2002 coup against Chavez, which failed. He also sponsors the big strike in Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), a state-owned oil company that eventually failed too. It was just before the invasion of Iraq. Permanently, the United States has been able to undermine and try to abolish, as much as possible, the governments of Venezuela, and in particular Bolivarian governments.
Is it comparable in terms of influence the support of a country like Russia with the support of a force like the United States?
No, Russia is a distant country. Russia is the twelfth economy in the world and far from the economic power of the United States. The United States is the main buyer of Venezuelan oil, and oil accounts for 95% of Venezuela's exports. This is why Venezuela is very, very dependent on the United States. So if the United States is taking measures such as saying "we will not buy more oil" or "we will not pay for the oil we have bought," this could lead to an even bigger collapse of Venezuela's economy.
But we have seen that Venezuela is opposed to the influence of the United States.
The strength of the United States in Venezuela's domestic politics is, in my view, reflected in the fact that a few days ago Venezuelan police officers detained Guaido and within hours the government withdrew and said they were agents. who acted motu propio and that they did not have government orders. This despite the fact that Guyado is in an absolutely subversive relationship, that is, no country will accept that there is another individual who declares himself president. Even under these circumstances Guaido was respected and the Venezuelan authorities did not stop him.
In this sense, do the Venezuelan authorities have to act differently against the subduing of Guaido?
The logical and obvious thing would be to stop him immediately after he declared himself, but nothing. He is free. And he is free because there is a safe behavior that the United States has given him with warnings. That, if they touch it, will have serious consequences. This gives you guidance on the power that the United States has in Venezuela and how it manages to prevent the government, even at a time when Caracas has broken relations with Washington.
The destabilization of the Venezuelan economic system has sparked the fall in oil prices and the failure of alternative markets such as ALBA. How do you see the situation in case Juan Guido has taken power from Maduro?
If Guaido has succeeded in supplanting or terminating the Bolivarian government, it must be assumed that he belongs to the heaviest wing of Venezuelan law. Therefore, what can be expected in Venezuela is a firm, firm, right-wing government. Perhaps not in a line that is as drastic as Bolsonarro's in terms of value but extreme right-wing government. It would probably be very, very regressive to Chavismo and try to destroy what this movement is in Venezuela. I therefore believe that, in one way or another, Venezuela has a very complicated future in which violence can not be ruled out.