Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Venezuela news: Maduro pledges ‘trench warfare’ against Trump coup attempts | World | News

Trump has attempted to use diplomatic, economic and political means to oust Maduro since being elected. Imposing crippling sanctions and backing opposition leader Juan Guaido has piled the pressure on the Venezuelan leader, but he remains in power due to popular support and the military’s backing. Washington officials hoped that Maduro would stand aside if they offered him amnesty – but frustrated diplomats conceded that there was no movement from Caracas.

Hawkish US envoy for Venezuela Elliot Abrams lamented a lack of movement from the Venezuelan side, citing that the US is keen to oust Maduro as soon as possible.

He said: “I have to say, I have not yet seen any sign of a willingness to negotiate that kind of compromise, which is of course very unfortunate.”

Last week various officials claimed that secret talks were taking place between the two adversaries over Maduro stepping down to make way for a newly elected leader.

Powerful pro-Maduro Liutenant Diosdado Cabello, who heads the country’s National Constituent Assembly, was reportedly present.

Maduro is a wanted man

Maduro is a wanted man (Image: GETTY)

Venezuelans are wary of US intervention

Venezuelans are wary of US intervention (Image: GETTY)

An official told the Wall Street Journal: “What Diosdado wants is to be able to stay in Venezuela, in a peaceful way.

“A principal goal of the effort is to build confidence and get international guarantees.”

Administration figures were keen to avoid “retaliation, persecution and violence” even if it meant Maduro’s fall.

Mr Abrams said this week that Maduro and his allies would be safe from persecution if he steps down.

He added: “That’s a political goal. There’s no personal edge to it. We’re not trying to persecute him.

“We’re not trying to go after him, we’re not after punishment or vengeance. We’re after political change.”

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Powerful pro-Maduro Liutenant Diosdado Cabello

Powerful pro-Maduro Liutenant Diosdado Cabello (Image: GETTY)

The latest development, however, indicates that talks have broken down and both sides will return to their trenches.

The fate of Maduro is crucial to Trump’s 2020 re-election chances, according to Venezuelan political scientist Carlos Eduardo Pina.

Amid a political struggle with China and Russia in South America, Venezuela represents a consistent anti-Washington stronghold.

Trump has been stepping up his efforts to get rid of Maduro and secure a concrete ‘foreign policy victory’ – to not do so, according to Mr Pina, would hurt his election chances.

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Hawkish Elliot Abrams

Hawkish Elliot Abrams (Image: GETTY)

Venezuelans are wary of US intervention

Venezuelans are wary of US intervention (Image: GETTY)

He told Al Jazeera: “Given his failures in other foreign policy adventures – including his inability to strike a deal with North Korea and to bring down Iran – Trump could still decide to pursue the Venezuela file in order to guarantee his re-election.

“Earlier this month, he imposed an expansive economic embargo on the country to show the world that he has no intention of giving up. His next step could be signing off on military intervention.

“If Trump succeeds in orchestrating the demise of Chavismo in Venezuela, this would be the most important ‘victory’ of his presidency.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido

Opposition leader Juan Guaido (Image: GETTY)

“If he fails, however, it will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest blunders of American foreign policy.

“No matter what happens, in the end, it will be the Venezuelan people bearing the brunt of Trump’s foreign policy experiments.”

Russia’s support for Venezuela has caused fury within the Trump administration as President Vladimir Putin continues to back the Maduro administration on an economic and political level.

Venezuela - a US adversary!

Venezuela – a US adversary! (Image: EXPRESS)

Mr Abrams claimed that Russian company Rosneft is Caracas’ biggest oil buyer.

The battle over Venezuela is part of the ongoing struggle for influence in South America between Moscow, Beijing and Washington.

Putin has been keen to support Cuba and Venezuela, while China is likely to curry favour with the new Argentinian administration after the October election.

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