Lunch Break: Juan Guaidó at the White House

American support for caretaker president Juan Guaidó looks at an all-time high, after meetings at the White House; Nicolás Maduro has outrageous promises about inflation in 2020; American security advisors have a few words for allies of the Maduro regime.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to gathered news media as he welcomes Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Photo: The Japan Times, retrieved.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump met on Wednesday with Caretaker President Juan Guaidó at the White House. Hours before the visit, Guaidó was welcomed by Vice-President Mike Pence at Congress. After his meeting in the White House, Guaidó met with Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, who said: “We’ve worked for a long time to support President Juan Guaidó when he has all the instruments of power to help all Venezuelans.” During this meeting, the press asked Guaidó about what he told Trump, and he only said: “We’ll announce concrete measures.” Last night he tweeted: “The Venezuelan cause received full overwhelming support of American authorities. Millions of Venezuelans thank with pride the unified recognition of all factors from the free world of the fight that we’ve been leading in our country for years.” 
  • Meanwhile, Nicolás Maduro had his variety show as a work meeting with that alleged institution he calls Fedeindustria. He announced measures like “higher taxes” on all products that are guaranteed to be produced in Venezuela, he demanded that all credits from public banks to small and medium industries are awarded in petros (he called it a “strong currency”), he announced he’ll create the Venezuelan Commerce Corporation, heir to Cadivi, Cencoex and Corpovez. One day after the BCV revealed that inflation in 2019 (9,585.50%), he said: “This year we’ll bring inflation to a single digit.” Without mentioning the requirements, buyers of restrictions, he authorized the issuing of ownership titles in foreign currency to “finance and self-finance” companies, making it a responsibility of the private sector to generate foreign currency. 
  • The day after the ANC-imposed prosecutor requested it, the TSJ approved the trial against former Colombian congresswoman Aída Merlano in Caracas. She had escaped prison and was captured in Venezuela. 
  • CLAP deputy Luis Parra announced that he found alleged administrative irregularities in the National Assembly he thinks he leads by self-proclamation: “We found a payroll that in 2016 had 3,600 workers and it’s now 4,420 workers.” He will continue the audit because, to them, “transparency is fundamental.” 
  • “The Simón Bolívar Foundation won’t be able to keep funding the treatment for children who got liver transplants because of the U.S. blockade on Venezuela and PDVSA,” says a tweet by the official propaganda apparatus,a week after Nicolás approved financing 20 million pairs of shoes. 
  • Voz de América reports that in a contact on the phone for the press in the White House after Trump and Guaidó’s meeting, a U.S. officer warned: “Any harm they may inflict on Guaidó on his return to Venezuela, will have important consequences (…) Therefore, they should be very careful about it.” The official said that Guaidó’s visit is a great diplomatic triumph and support for his mandate: “President Trump’s administration has supported President Guaidó and because of this, there’s been pressure on Maduro’s regime and also on high-ranking officers from his government, so they relinquish power.” He also said that the U.S. will continue to pressure the regime with sanctions as they’ve done so far and said that what we’ve seen is barely half of what can be achieved with this kind of measure. 
  • Robert O’Brien, U.S. Advisor for National Security, asked the regime’s main allies to stop supporting Nicolás. O’Brien said that Cuba, Russia and China “are backing a dictator who doesn’t have the support of his people, who is illegitimate and leading a tyranny.” He asked these countries “to withdraw their support for the dictator and let the Venezuelan people have a great life.” O’Brien said that the U.S. has let Russia know, and especially has let Russian oil company Rosneft know, that it’s not great to do business with the Venezuelan government.  “If it’s Rosneft, Reliance, Repsol or Chevron here in the U.S., they should tread carefully with the activities they support in Venezuela, directly or indirectly backing Maduro’s dictatorship because we’re halfway through our maximum pressure campaign and we are only moving forward.” 
  • On the same day he met with Guaidó, Donald Trump overcame his impeachment trial. He was absolved by the Senate under Republican control, on the charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress. Trump will talk on Thursday from the White House about it. 
  • Iván Simonovis, the security commissioner of the Venezuelan Embassy in the U.S. delivered a letter to President Trump where he describes in detail the political crisis in Venezuela and assures there are two Qasem Soleimani in the country: Diosdado Cabello and Tareck El Aissami.
  • Juan Guaidó will meet in the OAS with secretary general Luis Almagro on Thursday.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.