Venezuelan Opposition leader Juan Guaidó seeks Pentagon’s help

Asks Venezuelan envoy to establish a ‘direct relationship’

Published - May 12, 2019 10:13 pm IST

Supporters of the Venezuelan Opposition at a rally by Juan Guaidó in Caracas on Saturday.

Supporters of the Venezuelan Opposition at a rally by Juan Guaidó in Caracas on Saturday.

Venezuelan Opposition leader Juan Guaidó said on Saturday that he has asked his envoy to the United States to meet with Pentagon officials to “cooperate” on a solution to the South American country’s political crisis.

Mr. Guaidó added that he had received word from China that the country would join a diplomatic effort between European and Latin American countries, known as the International Contact Group on Venezuela, to negotiate an end to the crisis.

Building pressure

“We have instructed our Ambassador Carlos Vecchio to meet immediately... with the Southern Command and its admiral to establish a direct relationship,” Mr. Guaidó said at a rally in Caracas on Saturday. “We have said from the beginning that we will use all the resources at our disposal to build pressure.”

The Southern Command had said in a tweet on Thursday that it was prepared to discuss “how we can support the future role” of Venezuelan armed forces leaders who “restore constitutional order,” when invited by Mr. Guaidó.

Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino separately said on Saturday that a U.S. Coast Guard ship had entered Venezuelan territorial waters, which he said “we will not accept.” A Southern Command spokesman had said on Friday that a U.S. Coast Guard vessel was conducting a “counterdrug detection and monitoring mission” in “international waters” in the Caribbean Sea on May 9.

Mr. Guaidó was speaking at a rally in support of Opposition lawmakers who have been arrested, taken refuge at foreign Embassies in Caracas, and been threatened in recent days amid a broad crackdown by Nicolás Maduro against Congress after the April 30 uprising.

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