Bolton called on senior officials in the government of President Nicolas Maduro to switch their support to the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, “if the Cubans will let them do it.”
He also disputed the media description of Tuesday’s events in Caracas as an attempted coup, arguing that it was a legitimate president giving orders to the country’s military.
“This is clearly not a coup. We recognize Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.”
Bolton maintained there was “overwhelming public support” for Guaido in Venezuela and that Maduro is surrounded by Cuban bodyguards, calling on the head of the Venezuelan supreme court, the defense minister, and head of the presidential guard to defect to Guaido’s side.
.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 30 Απριλίου 2019
“We don’t know what the command structure is right now, other than it reports to Havana,” Bolton claimed, adding, “I hope we can have a change in the regime in Caracas soon.”
Despite US claims of overwhelming popular support for Guaido, the opposition politician failed to take control in January. Nor did he succeed in the attempt to force open the border between Colombia and Venezuela for US “humanitarian aid” in February. Since then, the Trump administration has sought to explain Maduro’s resilience by embracing the narrative that Venezuela is really under “Cuban occupation.”