MOSCOW, Russia – The United States wants the Venezuelan army to “betray” President Nicolás Maduro to facilitate a change of government, Venezuelan ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa said on Tuesday.
Tensions in Venezuela escalated when Juan Guaidó, the opposition-led president of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president on January 23, vying for Maduro’s re-election.
Guaidó’s statement was almost immediately recognized by the United States and some of its allies, with the former promising to waive punitive sanctions against Venezuelan military officials if they swore loyalty to the opposition leader.
Russia, China, Mexico, among others, said they considered Maduro the legitimate president of Venezuela and asked for non-interference.
“They are looking at our armed forces to betray our president,” Ambassador Tortosa told a meeting in the upper house of the Russian parliament.
According to the diplomat, Washington pursues this goal, since the American people would not support the direct US invasion of Venezuela.
He added that the United States blocked Venezuelan bills in an attempt to provoke people’s revolt against the authorities in the midst of the economic crisis.
The ambassador also stressed that the Venezuelan Constitution does not have this notion of interim president, inviting all those interested to study the document.
“All of them – Guaidó, [US President Donald] Trump and [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo – have repeatedly stated that Article 233 supposedly talks [about the interim president]. I invite everyone who is interested in this – we are going to read what is written there, it does not say anything about it. These are also methods to deceive people around the world,” he added.
Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution states that if the president-elect “becomes permanently unavailable” to perform his functions in case of death, resignation, dismissal by decision of the Supreme Court and other reasons listed in the main law, the president of the National Assembly shall assume the presidency until the election, which shall be held within 30 days.