An Update on Venezuela
By Mckay Dayton, Research by Alejandra Herrera
Aid Finally Allowed into Venezuela
Humanitarian aid is finally being allowed in the country after Nicolas Maduros’ government has denied any aid from entering the country. The Red Cross has said it received permission from the government to start a relief campaign. A big step towards helping a nation in dire need of aid. The Red Cross says starting in 15 days it will have aid entering and helping 650,000 people (BBC, 2019). Hopefully starting a trend where other organizations will also be able to enter Venezuela and give aid. Maduro used the army in February to block aid from the United States from entering the country. Venezuela’s foreign minister also told the United Nations that there is no humanitarian crisis happening in Venezuela (Kurmanaev and Herrera, 2019). They also stopped reporting health statistics in 2016. President Maduro and the opposition leader Juan Guaidó have been using the denial of aid as a political tool to help gain or hold onto power. With aid finally entering the country both have claimed the success as theirs, trying to use the aid to gain support and a have a better public image.
Interim Juan Guaidó Banned From Holding Office
Maduro’s government is doing whatever it can to discredit Juan Guaidó. Most recently by banning the self-declared interim president from holding office. The ban is 15 years, the maximum amount allowed by law. Guaidó has had a target on his back ever since he declared himself president in January. He has received the support of over 50 countries as Maduro’s regime plunges the country into a deeper crisis. The state financial controller claimed that Mr. Guaidó’s personal financial statements contained inconsistencies. Claiming that he was receiving financial assistance and gifts from foreign governments. (Charner, Hu, 2019). It may be necessary for Guaidó to accept assistance as his assets were frozen by the government in January (BBC, 2019). Juan Guaidó has dismissed the charges and sentencing as irrelevant. Saying he and his supporters will continue his campaign in the streets (Rueda, 2019).
Russian Troops Land in Venezuela
Two Russian air force planes carrying around 100 military personnel have been seen outside of Caracas (Rampton, Wroughton, 2019). US President Donald Trump has said “Russia has to get out.” Also saying that “all options” are open to force Russia out. The national security adviser John Bolton has issued a warning advising countries that are not in the Western Hemisphere to not deploy military assets to Venezuela (Aljazeera, 2019). Russia has dismissed the warnings from the US, claiming that they have only sent specialists. These specialists were sent to Venezuela to help repair a missile defense system that was damaged during massive power blackouts (Rampton, Wroughton, 2019).
Implications for the US
Maduro finally allowing aid to enter the country is a sign that he has acknowledge the crisis at hand. Hopefully this means he will be willing to talk. Unfortunately, as the US has backed Guaidó, neither the US nor Maduro may be willing to do so. With Guaidó being banned and Russia entering the country to help, it is unlikely that Guaidó will get the support he needs to be able to take power. Especially the military support, which will most likely not come with Russia’s aid and military presence. Hopefully the US will not resort to invading the country but will try diplomatic means to help the country reach stability. Hopefully enough so that Russia will not be able to take hold in the country. Most likely the US will continue to set sanctions and rally other nations to do the same to try and squeeze Maduro out of power.
Al Jazeera. “US Warns Russia, Others against Sending Troops to Venezuela.” Venezuela News | Al Jazeera. March 29, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/warns-russia-sending-troops-venezuela-190329135237891.html.
BBC. “Venezuela Crisis: Guaidó Banned from Office for 15 Years.” BBC News. March 28, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47739510.
BBC. “Venezuela Crisis: Red Cross Set to Begin Crucial Aid.” BBC News. March 29, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47750729.
Charner, Flora, and Caitlin Hu. “Juan Guaido Has Been Banned from Running for Office.” CNN. March 28, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/28/americas/juan-guaido-banned-from-public-office-intl/index.html.
Kurmanaev, Anatoly, and Isayen Herrera. “Red Cross Granted Access to Deliver Aid in Venezuela.” The New York Times. March 29, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/world/americas/red-cross-venezuela-aid.html.
Rampton, Roberta, and Lesley Wroughton. “White House Warns Russia over Troops in Venezuela, Threatens Sanctions.” Reuters. March 29, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-usa/white-house-warns-russia-over-troops-in-venezuela-threatens-sanctions-idUSKCN1RA1LT.
Rueda, Jorge. “Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó Barred From Public Office 15 Years.” Time. March 28, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2019. http://time.com/5560708/juan-guaido-barred-public-office-venezuela/.