Colombia, Brazil back off plans for military action in Venezuela, leaving the U.S. and Guaido isolated

Mar 1, 2019

With Colombian and Brazilian Presidents Ivan Duque and Jair Bolsonaro rejecting plans to participate in military action against Venezuela, the U.S. and self-proclaimed Venezuela president Juan Guaido are finding themselves isolated.

Both the European Union and the Lima Group, who support the efforts of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to replace authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro, made it clear on Tuesday that they oppose military intervention in Venezuela. Duque and Bolsonaro were part of the unanimous vote by Lima Group nations.

“We must avoid a military intervention,” Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson of the EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini, said Monday.

Guaido, however, continues to call on the international community to “keep all options open,” including the military one, after he failed to bring American supplies into his country on Saturday when the 35-year-old appeared to have support only from the U.S..

The aid transfer attempt, which was coordinated from Colombia with the U.S. embassy in Bogota, spurred Maduro to break all political and diplomatic ties with the neighboring country. Three hundred protesters were injured over the weekend as Venezuelan police and army troops stopped Guaido from crossing the border.

Just as the EU and the Lima Group have ruled out military intervention, the United Nations Security Council on Thursday refused to demand new elections in Venezuela, with Russia and China blocking the U.S.-led effort. A resolution supported by Russia and China condemning the use of military force was also rejected by the U.S., Great Britain and France.

“Guaido has become increasingly isolated over the past week and there’s no indication that that will change,” said Samuel Benton, a former U.S. State Department section chief. “Even within the [Donald] Trump administration, there is little support for military action despite the tough talk. The Venezuela story has gained relatively little traction in the U.S. and it’s clear that the people are not interested in a war down there. Trump has shown little stomach for military action and is withdrawing U.S. forces from other conflicts around the world. I don’t think he’s willing to open a new front in Latin America.”

Benton adds: “The U.S. is also aware that China and Russia support Venezuela and is leery of putting more strains on relationships with those countries.”

The latest developments could put Guaido’s freedom in jeopardy when he returns to Venezuela late this week or early next week. He left the country a week ago, crossing the border to Colombia to coordinate the attempted aid transfer and has been visiting other countries since then. “Maduro may be embolden to arrest him when he comes back,” Benton said.

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