Venezuela hits out at Bolton’s coup claim

Venezuela’s National Assembly voted on Thursday to condemn comments by former US national security adviser John Bolton. Its leader Jorge Rodriguez described the apparent admission as “an extraordinary feat of brazenness”.

Rodriguez, a psychiatrist who often uses clinical terms in political battles, also accused Bolton of being a “psychopath.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Bolton told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he had “helped plan coups – not here, but, you know, somewhere else.”

He was Trump’s White House point person in handling Venezuela’s 2019 constitutional crisis, which saw a group of opposition politicians attempt to restore democracy to the country by forcibly removing the leader. authoritarian Nicolas Maduro.

The fact that Bolton’s remark, made in passing during the discussion of the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, was followed by a reference to Venezuela added fuel to suspicion in Caracas. He said he wrote about Venezuela’s political crisis in his memoirs and his actions there were ultimately unsuccessful.

Former Venezuelan minister Diosdado Cabello also responded, calling Bolton “an inept who, despite all the money that (former US President) Donald Trump gave him, could not carry out the order he has received”.

Failed regime change

In the early hours of April 30, 2019, opposition leader Guaidó, his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez, and a handful of Venezuelan army officials gathered outside a military base to demand senior Venezuelan army officers withdraw Maduro of power.

Within hours, the rebellion had been violently suppressed and Maduro’s power restored. Nevertheless, more than 50 countries – including the United States – have insisted on formally recognizing Guaidó as the country’s rightful leader, criticizing the elections that cemented Maduro’s rule as undemocratic.

Maduro himself described the move as a coup attempt led by “the obsessive efforts of the Venezuelan right wing, the Colombian oligarchy and the American empire”.

More than three years have now passed since those frantic hours when Venezuela seemed on the cusp of change. The United States still does not recognize Maduro due to his government’s alleged human rights abuses, but has not recently called for his removal from power.

Last month, two White House officials met with Maduro in Caracas to negotiate the release of several US citizens detained in Venezuela in exchange for sanctions relief.


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