CARACAS – The Venezuelan Defense Minister commented on his country’s recent tensions with the US and compared the current situation with a war for independence.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said that his country is once again facing a battle for its freedom and that two models are in dispute, one promoted by the United States and the other the Bolivarian Revolution.
“We are fighting a second war for independence with other actors … it is Moroism (referring to the Monroe Doctrine) versus the Bolivarianism that is at stake,” he said during a mobilization accompanied by soldiers in the state of Guárico (center), broadcast by the Venezolana de Televisión state channel and called “March for Loyalty”.
Padrino López asked that the military forces of his country be prepared to defend the peace and the sovereignty of Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian foreign minister said on Friday that Maduro will not be able to reverse the so-called democratic transition that is taking place in his country, but the military will also need to support that change.
The opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has asked the military to change sides last month, but only a handful of soldiers met his call on April 30. Maduro’s government has launched an offensive against opposition lawmakers allegedly linked to the attempt.
“The process that has been in place since January […] is irreversible with all international support for a democratic transition. There is no way the Maduro regime can remain in power indefinitely,” Ernesto Araujo told Reuters in Paris.
The right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro has joined more than 50 other nations by recognizing Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
“The issue today is the necessary arrangements for the Venezuelan military to join the legitimate government. We think it is necessary for the military to join, but the form it will take depends on the Venezuelans,” Araujo said in English.
Despite US sanctions, Venezuela’s top military ranks largely ignored the pleas of the opposition and Washington to turn against Maduro. A little more than 1,000 soldiers deserted, mainly to Colombia and Brazil.
Araujo, who was in Paris for an OECD meeting at the time when Brasilia approached the organization, did not believe that foreign intervention in Venezuela was necessary and that economic and diplomatic efforts were isolating Maduro.
“The forces within Venezuela are gaining strength against the Maduro regime and the growing perception is that it is only a matter of time,” he added.
Together with Colombia, Brazil supported an opposition initiative to deliver US humanitarian aid to its neighbor in February, but Maduro closed the only formal border.
Because of the border closure, hundreds of Venezuelans daily were bribing National Guard officials as they attempted to enter Brazil along indigenous trails that cross the savannah sunburned. The border has been reopened ever since.
Venezuela’s economic collapse has left about a quarter of its 30 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN said.
The attempt to deliver aid “failed because the aid was not approved, but politically showed that it is a regime that will end in nothing,” Araujo added.