- Since January 2019, Venezuela has faced a power struggle between Maduro and Guaidó.
- "I would maybe think about that . . . Maduro would like to meet. And I’m never opposed to meetings."
- Trump allegedly referred to Guaido as the "Beto O'Rourke of Venezuela."
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has stated that he is open to an eventual meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, in an interview published on Sunday. The move by Trump in a way reduces the weight of his Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaidó.
Since January 2019, Venezuela has faced a power struggle between Maduro and Guaidó, President of the National Assembly, who declared himself interim president in an attempt to overthrow Maduro at the beginning of his second term. This came after the country’s 2018 elections, which were boycotted by the opposition and denounced by the international community as fraudulent.
About 60 countries, led by the United States, consequently recognized Guaidó. However, China and Russia declared their support for Maduro, whose regime is subject to sanctions imposed by Washington. Now, in an interview with the news site Axios, Trump has expressed himself open to a meeting.
“I would maybe think about that . . . Maduro would like to meet. And I’m never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings. I always say, you lose very little with meetings. But at this moment, I’ve turned them down.”
Nicolás Maduro was indicted in March for “narcoterrorism” by the US Department of Justice, with a $15 million reward for his arrest. At the end of March, faced with the failure of its strategy to expel Maduro from power, the United States proposed a new “structure for a democratic transition” in Venezuela. Washington urged Guaidó to step aside and wait for free and fair presidential elections. The proposal was immediately rejected by Caracas.
In early May, the Venezuelan Government declared that it prevented an “invasion,” in two locations in northern Venezuela— Macuto and Chuao– aimed at carrying out a “coup” against Maduro. Caracas announced the arrest of 52 people, including two former American soldiers.
Caracas accused Guaidó of organizing the operation with a third ex-US soldier, Jordan Goudreau, and a Venezuelan Miami resident, Juan José Rendon. Donald Trump assured Venezuela that the United States was not behind the aborted operation.
According to Axios, during the interview, held on Friday, Trump “implied that he did not trust Guaidó much.” The American President showed “firm opposition to what is happening in Venezuela.” Regarding Guaido’s recognition as interim president, Trump said, “I agreed with that . . . I don’t think it was very meaningful one way or the other.”
The publication of this interview occurs when the White House faces explosive revelations from a book by former Trump National Security Adviser, John Bolton. According to excerpts published by Axios, Bolton writes that Trump “thought Guaidó was ‘weak,’ as opposed to Maduro, who was ‘strong.’”
Bolton added that,”by spring, Trump was calling Guaidó the ‘Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela,'” a reference to a former congressman from Texas and candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, who abandoned the race for the White House early. “Hardly the sort of compliment an ally of the United States should expect.”
In his interview with Axios, Trump calls Bolton “fractured,” says he could be “the most stupid human being on Earth” with his support for the war in Iraq. On his part, Bolton refers to the US president as “stunningly uninformed” and “erratic” in many excerpts from his book, The Room Where It Happened.