Background Briefing: Venezuela in the Midst of an Uncertain Coup

[I did an interview with Ian Masters of Background Briefing today. Below is their blurb. (note: I’ve only studied Venezuela for 27 years!)]

We begin with the coup attempt underway in Venezuela against the Maduro government led by the head of the National Assembly Juan Guaido together with the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez who has been jailed by Maduro but apparently was freed by rebel military units or possibly by members of Sebin, the intelligence service, the head of which was arrested by Maduro. David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who has studied Venezuela for 30 years and curates the blog “Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights”, joins us to discuss Guaido’s move a day ahead on the planned May first countrywide demonstrations against Maduro. We assess whether this bold attempt to prod the military into joining in a coup against Maduro and his ruinous regime will backfire and fizzle in spite of Secretary of State Pompeo’s claim that Maduro tried to flee to Cuba but was stopped by the Russians. And although enlisted men and junior officers who are suffering from food and medicine shortages, hyperinflation and power blackouts along with average Venezuelans, and would like to free the country from Maduro’s misrule, the military’s top brass backed by the Cubans and Russians are unlikely to break with the regime. Most of all Trump is not seen as a liberator even though the country is circling the drain and in desperate need of regime change.