Venezuelan Spring

A talk on DW News with Marianna Evenstein:

Her first question: So President Maduro has now offered to hold congressional elections earlier than planned. Is this going to satisfy his critics?

Eduardo Méndez Gaa: Absolutely not his critics. To me he’s emulating democracy. What they’re asking for is a new election towards presidency and this is going to take the last piece of democratic institutions, that’s  the parliament. And so I think it is kind of faking, it’s running out of time because he has pressure from the EU and the US. The US is a stron opponent and the EU is trying to speak with one voice, an ultimatum is running out today and we have to see if Europe speaks with one voice, the pressure is really strong. And this was what he offers yesterday is absolutely not satisfactory to anyone.

ME: So the EU has indicated its support for the Opposition Leader Guidó also much of the West has and yet it’s important to mention Maduro does have his own international backers Russia and China but also he has a lot of support from the military. And yet yesterday we heard the Venezuelan air force general declaring support for Guido. So what’s going to happen. Is Maduro about to lose this key support from the military?

EMG: He is playing a poker game. He still has a strong hand on the military. What happened yesterday, what we have seen right now is this a high command, but he has no troops. He has to hand on the troops. He has a hand on the trigger. People are dying in the last few weeks. And so the military is still on Maduro’s side. We have to see how long this continues.

ME: Well it seemed like there are quite a lot of people at the pro Maduro rallies. So I suppose he does still even have backing from people within Venezuela. But you know why do people continue to support Maduro in light of this horrible economic crisis, food shortages as we’ve been saying, medicine shortages. why does Maduro still have that support?

EMG: Well what we have seen in the images is mainly military participating and so I think when you are sent to wave a flag then you are there, you have to be there. That’s what we’ve seen pictures are very tricky.  And the support he receives is a legacy of Hugo Chávez, he did a lot for the poor. Maduro is a deception for all Venezuelans also for the ‘Chavistas’ who supports Hugo Chávez. He ran out of control and people are suffering in a normally a rich country which is one of the poorest in the region now.

ME: So Eduardo what do you think is going to happen next. I mean where is this crisis going to be resolved. Is it gonna be decided in the streets of Caracas or is it going to come through some result of international pressure. Are we going to see troops maybe being sent from the US?

EMG: It’s it’s a Venezuelan Spring what we’re seeing now with just this brave people you saw on the streets there going really out and responding to calls off Juan Guaidó. There is the threat the troops are coming, we don’t hope obviously for a civil war. The key is as we heard before also in that report is the military. How will they behave? And when they  receive aid, humanitarian aid to the border we have to see how this military reacts. And that would be the key. So the military is one decisive aspect here.

Marianna Evenstein: All right Eduardo Mendez from DW Latin America’s desk, thank you so much for your insights.

PRIOR TALK