Venezuela’s Guaido lays out broad vision for the country

Venezuela‘s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido presented the opposition’s broad vision for the country’s future on Thursday, as the political crisis in the country deepened. 

“We have a plan, well thought out, structured,” Guaido said at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences in the Central University of Venezuela on Thursday, noting that “it is the sum of many sacrifices”. 

The “National Plan” focuses on the opposition’s vision for the economy and oil resources, but it also tackles public services, security, governability and society. 

Guaido said there would be something for everyone in society to do as Venezuela moves forward, including the military.

“The armed forces also have a role in the reconstruction of the country,” he said.

Last week, Guaido swore himself in as interim president before a crowd of his supporters. The proclamation came after the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared President Nicolas Maduro’s second-term “illegitimate”. 

Maduro accuses Guaido of leading a US-backed coup, and says the United States, among other countries, are waging an economic war aimed at removing him from power. 

In Thursday’s speech, Guaido divided the plan into three phases: the “cessation of the usurpation”, the establishment of a “transitional government” and free elections. 

According to Guaido, the priorities include the coordination of humanitarian assistance, the restoration of public services and an effort to tackle people’s dependency on subsidies. 

‘No dialogue with Maduro’

Guaido indicated that there would be no dialogue with Maduro or anyone in his government.

“We will never lend ourselves to false dialogues in any place,” he said, adding that protests will continue throughout the country. “The organised, systematic and sustained protests will continue until this dictatorship falls.” 

Translation: Today we present #PlanPaís. The route for the country we want to build together. We have the agreement, the will and the professionals to immediately address the problems of Venezuelans, Guaido wrote on Twitter. 

¡Respuestas concretas y planificación para Venezuela!

Hoy presentamos #PlanPaís. La ruta para el país que queremos construir entre todos. Contamos con el acuerdo, la voluntad y los profesionales para atender de inmediato los problemas de los venezolanos. #VenezuelaTenemosPlanPaís pic.twitter.com/qM3E2dxdI9

— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) January 31, 2019

Threats and police forces 

Towards the end of his speech, Guaido said that agents of Special Action Forces (FAES) were at his home. 

“I will hold you responsible for any threat that you could make to my 20-months old daughter,” Guaido said. 

The US, which backs Guaido, has warned of “serious consequences” if Maduro’s government harms him.

Guaido later appeared at his building with his wife and daughter, saying “they will not intimidate this family.”

 Juan Guaido talks to media next to his wife Fabiana Rosales, while carrying their daughter outside their home Caracas [Carlos Garcia/Reuters]

Neighbours said men who identified themselves as belonging to the FAES arrived at the gate of his apartment building in a white SUV.

There was no obvious police presence by the time journalists arrived at Guaido’s house.

The political fight between Maduro and Guaido has drawn in foreign powers.

On one side of the tussle for control of Venezuela – an OPEC member with the world’s largest oil reserves but in dire financial straits – Guaido and Western backers led by the US are insisting on an immediate transition and fresh elections.

On the other, Maduro, with backing from Russia, China and Turkey, says he will remain for his second six-year term despite accusations of fraud in his re-election last year and the economic meltdown. 

Maduro, who first took office in 2013, has faced waves of protests in recent years as he presided over a collapsing economy, with hyperinflation and chronic food shortages. He enjoys the support of the military and some Venezuelans. 

Some three million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015, according to the UN.

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