While the US has repeatedly declared its support for Juan Guaido and warned against his arrest over the last year, the Venezuelan government has referred to Guaido as a “fugitive from justice” and accused him of hiding in a diplomatic location…
It has been more than a year since the United States announced it was putting its full support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido. But despite a number of harsh threats from US leaders, Guaido has yet to take over the government of Venezuela, and the country is still working with an ally that has also been the subject of harsh sanctions from the US.
It’s unclear where Juan Guaido is right now, and this week, President Nicolas Maduro accused him of hiding in a “diplomatic location,” suggesting it could be France’s embassy. But France is denying those accusations, and a spokeswoman for France’s foreign ministry released a statement saying, “Mr. Juan Guaido is not at the French residence in Caracas. We have repeatedly confirmed this to the Venezuelan authorities.”
France is one of the countries that joined the United States in saying it recognizes Guaido as the president of Venezuela. There has been an ongoing dispute, and last month, Paris accused the Venezuelan government of harassing its embassy in Caracas and even cutting off water and electricity from the ambassador’s residence, after Maduro accused him on meddling in Venezuela’s affairs.
Guaido was threatened with arrest if he left the country, and we have seen him go on international tours at least twice. The second of which included an appearance here in Washington, DC, earlier this year. When Guaido returned to Venezuela, there were questions about how the government would respond, but he arrived in the country without incident. Now Guaido has since laid low as the country responds to the coronavirus, but the government has not forgotten about him, and Venezuela’s foreign minister called Guaido a “fugitive from Venezuela justice.”
Jorge Arreaza then went on to say, “Mr. Guaido is indebted to the justice system and the Venezuelan people”, so “the public ministry and the judiciary will take the actions that it has to take according to its good judgment.”
But at the same time, the Trump Administration has also threatened that if the Venezuela government does target and arrest Guaido, they will receive a harsh response from Washington, and as they have repeatedly said, in that case, “all options are on the table.”
Venezuela and Iran are two of the countries that are being hit the hardest by US sanctions right now, and Washington repeatedly threatened more sanctions and even the use of force against them if they work together. But despite the threats that the US was considering sending troops to interfere at sea, Iran sent five tankers carrying more than $45 million dollars’ worth of gasoline and supplies to Venezuela, and they arrived without incident last weekend.
It is expected that this partnership between Iran and Venezuela will continue, so now it just remains to be seen if the US is just going to continue to use harsh rhetoric, or if it will actually use its military to intervene.