Venezuela: aid an instrument in power struggle

Juan Guaidó, the self-appointed interim president of Venezuela who has been recognised by many states, attempted on Saturday to have large amounts of humanitarian aid supplies brought into Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil. But the military, which remains loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, blocked the borders and used force to stop the convoys. Has Maduro won the power struggle?

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Le Courrier (CH) /

Just a stage victory for Maduro

The Maduro government shouldn't put too much stock in its victory on the weekend, Le Courrier comments:

“The government should be careful not to believe it's on the right track. Vexed by the failure on the weekend, Donald Trump could well double the stakes. ... Is the Venezuelan army ready to hold out to the bitter end of this game of poker? At the slightest weakness, the fear of US jails could provoke a string of defections. Above all, however, cut off from its neighbours and the Western powers, Venezuela would be hard put to get its deep economic crisis under control. For it to survive it needs to come to an agreement with the democratic powers in the opposition. The defeat suffered this weekend by Mr. never-say-die Guaidó offers an opportunity.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

Moscow's support could bear fruit

Russia has sent economic advisors and fuel to Venezuela. Ria Novosti has a déjà-vu:

“It looks as if Moscow has set itself an incredible goal: saving Venezuela's economy, helping it to stabilise and supporting its political regulation - regardless of the US's efforts to overthrow the government. And all this at a time when the country is being squeezed by harsh sanctions. Certainly, in the eyes of the world - and in its own eyes - Russia isn't exactly what you'd call an economic policy guru. ... And the fact that this is all taking place in Latin America, where Moscow has never had a particularly strong influence, gives the situation an unrealistic veneer. ... Yes, the chances of success seem limited. But people said the same thing three years ago about the military operation in Syria.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Aid with a political agenda

La Vanguardia doesn't believe the aid convoy was purely a humanitarian initiative:

“It is pertinent to ask whether relieving the suffering of the Venezuelan people was the only goal of the 'humanitarian avalanche' or whether hidden behind these noble intentions there was a political agenda. ... The humanitarian aid is also a way to force the soldiers to take sides. Because despite the mounting international pressure - which has grown in the hours after the repression on the border - and the protests of the opposition, the armed forces are still the decisive factor for toppling Maduro.”

Duma (BG) /

Don't overestimate support for Guaidó

The interim president Juan Guaidó who has been recognised by many states does not have the support of a clear majority, Duma stresses:

“Venezuela is in a political and not an economic crisis. With its aggressive policy the opposition has caused chaos and instability and divided the nation. ... The self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó alleges that Nicolas Maduro can no longer be head of state because the people don't want him to. The US and the opposition don't want Maduro. But among the population it's fifty-fifty - the one half wants Maduro, the other wants Guaidó. ... Does that give Guaidó the legitimacy to be interim president?”