Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó during a press conference in Caracas.RAYNER PEÑA R / EFE
The fragmented Venezuelan opposition tries to rebuild itself.
Juan Guaidó has taken stock of what now seems to be his main objective and a demand from the international community to face the new stage of the fight for a political transition in Venezuela.
At a table with a diversity of party leadership and civil society, the opposition leader called for "the greatest and best unity possible to achieve free elections."
In the meeting with the press, he spoke about the conversations that part of the team that supports him from Bogotá has held to reach an agreement in the short term, both politically and humanitarian, in particular the introduction of vaccines against covid -19 through the Covax mechanism for six million Venezuelans.
A high point of these conversations occurred on Tuesday with the calls that, separately, Guaidó made with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and with the Foreign Minister of Canada, Marc Garneau, who pledged to continue supporting the cause for a change. of peaceful government in Venezuela, through elections, and also to the leadership of Guaidó as interim president.
The internal pressure agenda, Guaidó said, has begun with the tour that the delegate commission of the Assembly elected in 2015 is making through the country. In addition, they have a mobilization on the horizon for March 8, in which women have called to protest the worrying increase in femicides in recent weeks.
"We are going to build the greatest possible unity and sufficient internal pressure with our allies to go to free elections and resolve the emergency that this dictatorship created," Guaidó said.
"What we want is to vote freely."
The Venezuelan opposition that backs Guaidó seeks to seize a moment when the international push again seems to have aligned, with Washington and Brussels applying pressure at the same time.
“Many believed or made them believe that the Administration of the United States (that of Biden) was not going to recognize the Government in charge or that the European Union was going to change its position as if this were a people's problem.
No: they are States.
Democracy, the Constitution is what ultimately supports the Administration of President Biden, the European Union and our allies.
Stop believing in siren songs ”.
The government of Nicolás Maduro, Chavismo and other actors, however, are also playing on the electoral board with a possible call for regional and municipal elections that once again exacerbates the opposition dilemma of participating or abstaining.
After the appointment of rectors by the Supreme Court in June, Chavismo in the Assembly has started the procedures to elect a new arbitrator.
A growing group of recognized actors in democratic society, detached from political parties, has found in this scenario an important area of overlap.
Called Civic Forum, they seem determined to advance the fight for electoral conditions to participate in the upcoming elections of governors and mayors, regardless of Juan Guaidó, European sanctions or what the Joe Biden Administration has to say.
With the cycle of statements closed with a sense of imminence of the times of Donald Trump, in the Venezuelan opposition there seem to be many people determined to examine other options to unblock the Venezuelan crisis.
Many of them, academics and respected civic actors of the dissident society, have been received in the Nominations Committee of the National Assembly that currently controls Chavismo, as a pre-qualifying step to integrate the new directive of the Electoral Power of the country.
Although there would be several additional signals that Chavismo must offer to politically empower the opposition, public despair has made these initiatives advance on their own.
In the states of the country, there is genuine pressure to force an electoral presence in the Chavista consultations.
Guaidó acknowledged the existence of this third path undertaken by civil society, but raised an alert bell about the Government's intentions to repeat the maneuver that led to a renewal of the Assembly that has not been recognized by the international community.
“I can really like the names they presented of candidates for rectors, but whoever votes for them is the key.
There are democratic parameters that must be met, ”he said, referring not only to the selection of referees, but also to the empowerment of the parties to participate and to transparency in the process.
"Venezuelans with our international allies are in a multilateral coalition to reach an agreement for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and thus approach the solution to this crisis."
The gold route
Julio Borges, commissioner for foreign relations of the Guaidó team, denounced the existence of a clandestine route used by the Maduro government to exchange certified gold bars from the Central Bank of Venezuela for euros in cash in order to evade international sanctions and finance his dictatorship.
This operation, according to "intelligence sources with a year and a half of monitoring," would take the Venezuelan gold to Bamako, in Mali, where it would be received on the way to the United Arab Emirates.
The opposition leader affirmed that the amount is 1,000 million euros "that the dictator uses without control."
Borges, who called Maduro "corrupt", denounced that with that money from the Venezuelan State the Bolivarian leader "finances his dictatorship and his illegal activities" behind the back "of the suffering and deprivation of the Venezuelan people."
The political leader affirmed that the plane used for these operations is of Russian origin, from "a person close to Vladimir Putin."
The flights, eight in total, all carried out late at night, have been articulated with Noor Capital, a company linked to Alex Saab, the Colombian businessman who awaits his extradition to the United States in Cape Verde, where he is accused of being Maduro's front man. .