Venezuela’s embattled leader, Nicolás Maduro, has claimed he has seen off a dramatic opposition challenge to his rule, as those efforts appeared to falter and the United States conceded it was “impossible to predict” how long he might remain in power. In an interview with Euronews, Maduro boasted that his political foes had “failed totally”…
Venezuela’s embattled leader,Nicolás Maduro, has claimed he has seen off a dramatic opposition challenge to his rule, as those efforts appeared to falter and the United States conceded it was “impossible to predict” how long he might remain in power.
Inan interviewwith Euronews, Maduro boasted that his political foes had “failed totally” in their quest to topple him. Opponents “could march every single day of their lives” and achieve nothing, Maduro said.
Venezuela’s newly emboldened opposition continues to insist Maduro’s days are numbered, with about 50 governments now recognizing its leader,Juan Guaidó, as the country’s legitimate president.
Tens of thousands of supporterspoured back on to the streets of Caracasand other major cities on Tuesday to demand the resignation of a politician they accuse of leading their oil-rich country into economic ruin.
But three weeks after Guaidó electrified the previously rudderless opposition movement by declaring himself interim leader, there are signs his campaign risks losing steam.
An anticipated mass defection of military chiefs – which opposition leaders admit is a prerequisite to Maduro’s departure – has not materialized, and Maduro’s inner-circle has begun claiming it has weathered the political storm.
“In the end, nothing will come of [this challenge]. We will prevail,” Maduro’s second-in-command, Diosdado Cabello,tweetedon Wednesday.
Addressinga congressional hearing, the USspecial envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, claimed “Maduro and his band of thieves” were finished. He claimed international pressure meant “there is a storm brewing inside the Maduro regime that will eventually bring it to an end”.
But while Abrams said Washington was “hopeful and confident” of Maduro’s demise he admitted it was “impossible to predict” when it might come. The US would maintain pressure “over the next weeks and months”, he added, suggesting a quick resolution is no longer expected.
Opposition leaders have spent recent days trying to dampen expectations that Maduro’s exit is imminent.
Juan Andrés Mejía, an opposition leader and Guaidó ally, admitted that goal “could take some time”.
“We want it to end very soon because we know that every day that passes by people are suffering. But Maduro still has control of the military and basically that is the reason we haven’t been able to move things forward,” he told the Guardian.
At a late-night vigil remembering students killed protesting against Maduro, another opposition leader Lilian Tintori urged Venezuela’s youth to continue their struggle. “We are on the right path with our interim presidentJuan Guaidó,” she insisted.
Anna Ferrera, a student leader from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, said she was convinced international support meant this year’s protests would succeed where previous revolts – in 2014 and 2017 – had failed.
“I do have a lot of hope – and it is a long time since I have said that,” the 22-year-old said. “But I’m also really scared. Hope is something that is scary. Our hope has been stepped on so many times that we are afraid to believe again.”