Venezuelan revolutionary leader Juan Guaido officially requested aid from the U.S. military in ousting Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.
An official in Guaido’s camp sent a letter Saturday to Navy Admiral Craig Fuller, head of U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom), requesting assistance in “strategic and operations planning” to take down Maduro. The U.S., along with more than 50 other countries, recognizes Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
In light of the uninvited foreign forces inside #Venezuela, the administration of Interim President @jguaido has officially requested the support of @Southcom in strategic & operational planning. pic.twitter.com/xvr3yCTKih
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 13, 2019
“As you know, the conditions in Venezuela worsen, as a consequence of the corrupt and incompetent regime of Nicolas Maduro, which tragically, has national security consequences in Venezuela and among her neighbors,” Guiado’s U.S. envoy Carlos Vecchio wrote.
“Of equal concern is the impact of the presence of uninvited foreign forces that place our country and others at risk,” Vecchio continued, likely referencing the members of the Russian military that are in Venezuela to bolster the Maduro regime. (RELATED: Pence Says Russian Military Personnel In Venezuela Is ‘An Unwelcome Provocation’)
Guaido’s request for U.S. military assistance comes several weeks after the revolutionary leader led a failed uprising against Maduro. In a three-minute video released on April 30, Guaido called for the Venezuelan military to take up arms and force out the dictator.
Maduro held onto power throughout several days of intense protests that resulted in the deaths of at least five people and left dozens of others injured. Maduro had been preparing to exit the country, but Maduro’s allies from the Kremlin convinced him to stay. Maduro also has strong alliances with China and Cuba.
Reports suggest that Guaido believed the revolution had much more support among Venezuela’s military leaders when he made the call to oust Maduro. Just one of Venezuela’s top military officials, Gen. Manuel Figuera who is the head of secret service, joined Guaido’s cause.
Secret communications between Maduro’s top military brass and the Guaido camp reportedly broke down soon before Guaido’s call to action. It is unclear whether the talks failed because two sides could not come to terms or because the talks were sabotaged by Maduro’s double agents to begin with.
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