What has happened in the year since Juan Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela?
“The Venezuelan people hope that the opposition led by Guaidó participates in the elections, recognizes the results and that other countries do not interfere.”
The Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is Nicolás Maduro, recognized by the Venezuelan nation and in full exercise of his power as Chief of State. However, on January 23, 2019 in a public plaza in Caracas, the deputy Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. What has Guaidó done for Venezuela in political and economic terms? Principally: unfulfilled promises, economic losses and alliances with paramilitaries in Colombia.
Call for elections
Guaidó assured new presidential elections for 2019 but the only thing he achieved was an imaginary fall of the Chavista government. In his failed attempt, it was proved how the opposition deputy made an alliance with the illegal armed group “Los Rastrojos.” a Colombian paramilitary organization that has control over the border that administratively divides Colombia and Venezuela.
The spreading of disinformation through traditional media has been a faithful accomplice to Guaidó in his attempts. Through international press, Guaidó has constructed the crisis of public powers in Venezuela; last January 5 for example, he declared himself president of the National Assembly, the legislative power of the Bolivarian country.
The 2020 elections will be held according to the constitutional calendar of the Venezuelan state. New parliamentarians of the National Assembly will be elected in the last cuatrimestre of this year. The Venezuelan people hope that the opposition led by Guaidó participates in the elections, recognizes the results and that other countries do not interfere, a clear sovereign demand for respect to the universal right of self determination. However, the US has already declared itself in opposition to the electoral process and the legitimacy of the institutions in Venezuela.
Johel Orta Moros, national leader of the opposition party Solutions for Venezuela, declared on January 17 that, “It is ridiculous that they keep insisting that in Venezuela there are two executive powers, two legislative powers, two judicial powers, and now they are trying to say, that there are two electoral powers. The announcements made by a group of the radical Venezuelan opposition already mention that they will name a new National Electoral Council.” Moros is part of the National Dialogue Round-table that Nicolás Maduro created to overcome the political crisis instigated by the extreme right-wing opposition.
Juan Guaidó, beyond being a self-proclaimed president that names diplomats, ministers and functionaries without any power in the institutions of the Bolivarian state, is a threat to the sovereignty of the resources of his nation. The company Monómeros, located in Colombia, and Citgo, with installations in the United States, are clear examples of how serious economic losses, of millions of dollars, have been caused due to Guaidó.
Monómeros is the Colombian subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned petrochemical company Pequiven and had around 1,500 employees. At the beginning of 2019, it possessed almost half of the fertilizer market in Colombia with sales at 48% in the agricultural sector and coverage of 70% in the sector of coffee, potato and palm oil growers. However, in its financial report in November 27, 2019, the petrochemical company had lost 90% of its participation in the international market and 15% in the local Colombian market; the volume of sales fell to 700,000 metric tons compared to 1.1 million in 2018; it accumulated losses of more than 20 million dollars; it generated delays in the payment to suppliers of 30 days and in the case of the suppliers of raw materials the accumulated debt was over 30 million dollars; the plants “Tricalfos,” “Solunkp” and “Mezclas” are paralyzed, which are three of the five plants located in Colombia.
“Serious economic losses, of millions of dollars, have been caused due to Guaidó.”
Citgo Petroleum Corporation, is the subsidiary of “Petróleos de Venezuela” – PDVSA -- in the United States and has three refineries that total to a capacity to process 749,000 barrels per day. It operates 48 terminals, has 9 oil pipelines and a network of more than 5,000 gas stations in all of the US. The government of Donald Trump froze the accounts and the Venezuelan assets of Citgo to give control to Guaidó in April 2019. The results of the management of Guaidó show a profound failure. In the first nine months of 2019, only 270 million dollars of net income was reported compared with 608 million dollars in the same period of 2018. According to Nicolás Maduro, in 2018 Citgo registered 851 million dollars of net income in the whole year and 243 million dollars in the last three months.
As if that wasn’t enough, Juan Guaidó is politically responsible for the reserves of Venezuelan gold being affected. It was reported that 32 tons of gold, with a value of approximately 1.6 billion dollars, are currently seized in the city of London in the United Kingdom. The Bank of England rejected the request of President Nicolás Maduro to return the gold to Venezuelan territory, since the Queen of England manifested that she does not recognize Maduro as President of Venezuela.
In addition to the various economic and political effects that Juan Guaidó has generated, the lack of autonomy of the double-self-proclaimed should also be highlighted. The task of deciding the trajectory of the “return to democracy in Venezuela” – as he says -- lies with the Government of Donald Trump, the subject most interested in whole world rejecting Nicolás Maduro and his socialist government. Elliott Abrams, Special Representative for Venezuela of the Trump administration spoke in the forum “What to do Venezuela?” from January 9 to 10, with regards to a military intervention in Venezuela and said: “As we have seen in the Middle East, any president of the United States, if he wants to use force to defend our national interests, he will use force. Frankly, it does not depend on Juan Guaidó, it depends on President Donald Trump.”
This article previously appeared in Peoples Dispatch.
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