Failed Venezuelan coup could lead to U.S. intervention

After an alleged coup attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on April 30, opposition leader and President Juan Guaidó has said he may request military intervention from the United States.

Guaidó called the attempted coup the “final phase” of his plan to end Maduro’s presidency, but Maduro claimed the military was still showing him their “total loyalty.” Several representatives from the Venezuelan government denied that any high-ranking military officials were moving against Maduro.

Some people believe the coup attempt was a move by the U.S. “It is not a coup attempt from the military,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, according to Al Jazeera. “This is directly planned in Washington, in the Pentagon and Department of State and by Bolton.”

After severing diplomatic ties with the U.S. on Jan. 24, Maduro announced all Venezuelan embassies and consulates in the U.S. would be shut down. This was in response to the U.S. recognizing Guaidó as the president of Venezuela.

President Donald Trump announced his support for self-declared president Guaidó on Jan. 23. The U.S. is one of 50 countries who have officially announced their support for Guaidó. Others, including Russia and China, are in support of Maduro.

“I think that President [Donald] Trump’s position is very firm, which we appreciate, as does the entire world,” Guaidó told BBC, regarding whether he would ask for military intervention from the U.S.

“I, as the president in charge of the national parliament, will evaluate all the necessary options,” Guaidó added.

As of now, Trump is not looking to use the military to intervene in Venezuela, according to The Washington Post. Since the U.S. and Russia are on opposing sides of this political issue, there were concerns that if the U.S. was to provide military support to Guaidó, Russia would support Maduro.

“[Putin] is not looking to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” Trump said after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone for an hour, according to Al Jazeera. “And I feel the same.”

Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence have both assured the public the U.S. will not provide military intervention for now but also said that it is still an option if the situation continues to escalate.

“We want [Venezuela] to be an autonomous, independent sovereign state with democratically elected officials,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News. “That is what we desire for the Venezuelan people.”

Arreaza has warned that if the U.S. “opts for the military path, [Venezuela] has an armed force, a people, a national guard that will be able to not just resist and fight, but also to win.”