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Venezuelan Crisis: In Argentina, Who Stands Where?

The left stands with Maduro, the rest recognizes Guaidó.

By | [email protected] | January 28, 2019 4:50pm

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Juan Guaidó’s swearing in as the interim president of Venezuela marked a turning point in the political, economic, and social crisis the country has endured for the past several years.

Now that the opposition has managed to rally behind a leader, a large part of the international community that rejected Nicolás Maduro’s presidential investiture, a result of illegitimate elections last year, were quick to announce their support for Guaidó. The United States, Canada, and most of the Lima Group – Argentina and Brazil among them – were part of this camp. Mexico and Uruguay, in line with previous stances, requested to not intervene in the country’s internal affairs. And Russia, China, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Cuba rejected the move and labeled the swearing-in as an attempted coup led by the Donald Trump administration.

Within Argentine borders, reactions across the political spectrum were similar. It’s rather complicated to pin down our political movements as “right” or “left,” but for the sake of our mental sanity, we will do it anyway and say that those who identify as leftists supported the coup hypothesis, while most on the right backed the opposition and Guaidó. The few that remained claimed that Argentina shouldn’t intervene in other states’ affairs.

Let’s take a look.

In Favor of Guaidó

As mentioned, the Macri administration, at the forefront of the regional diplomatic rift, quickly recognized Guaidó’s authority.

“I want to express my support for the decision of the Venezuelan National Assembly to recognize Juan Guaidó as Interim President of the country,” reads Macri’s tweet, which was duly thanked by Guaidó.

“Like the other countries of the Lima Group, we trust that the decision of the Assembly and its President results in the reestablishment of democracy through free and transparent elections that ensure the participation of opposition leaders, in accordance with the Constitution,” read a subsequent tweet published by Macri.

National Deputy and potential presidential candidate Martín Lousteau also showed support for Guaidó, indicating that “ahead of him, he’s face with the task of reestablishing freedom and democracy in the country.”

The Unión Cívica Radical, part of the Cambiemos coalition, indicated in a tweet that “the decision of the Venezuelan National Assembly gives hope to its people, who need the institutions to emerge from the miseries of Maduro’s authoritarianism.”

Moving on the moderate Peronists, leader of the Frente Renovador and presidential candidate Sergio Massa also announced his support for the opposition. “The world turns its back on Maduro’s dictatorship, winds of freedom are blowing. Stay strong, Venezuela,” reads the tweet.

One of Massa’s likely contenders in a Peronist primary, Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, published a tweet along the same lines.

“My recognition of the new Interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. I celebrate the strength and courage of the Venezuelan people who are rising up in the name of freedom and against the Maduro dictatorship,” reads his message.

The third candidate of this camp, head of the Partido Justicialista caucus in the Senate Miguel Pichetto, said that “the recent events reveal the true face of Maduro’s dictatorship. It is unsustainable and deserves condemnation from all Argentine democratic parties.”

Economist José Luis Espert, who aims to be Argentina’s next outsider president, said that “we need to end the dictatorship of this murderous tyrant. We stand with the Venezuelan people and the oppression it is going through.”

Non-Intervention Advocates

National Senator Pino Solanas said on Twitter: “It is terrible that in the Venezuelan case the Argentine government renounces the historical stance of non-intervention and self-determination of the people. What would [late Pesident Raúl] Alfonsín say about the fact that the UCR is supporting this villainy?”

Former Governor of the Buenos Aires Province and potential presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli, supported Mexico and Uruguay’s stance.

Despite not recognizing Maduro’s legitimacy, representatives of the Frente de Izquierda y los Trabajadores Nicolás Del Caño and Cristian Castillo criticized Macri’s decision, arguing he is rallying behind an imperialistic initiative led by the United States.

“Macri, Bolsonaro and Piñera kneel before Trump, who promotes a puppet regime in Venezuela. Only the workers and the people can lead Venezuela out of the misery they were brought into by Maduro’s government,” reads Del Caño’s tweet.

In Favor of Maduro

On the other end of the spectrum, the Frente la Victoria caucus in the Lower House claimed that the swearing in of Guaidó is an attempted coup, and urged for a “peaceful, violence-free resolution that is based on dialogue.”

“The people are sacred. This is an act of loathing to the self-determination of the Venezuelan citizenship, which has been making decisions, in the context of democratic elections overseen by international parties. Some countries in the region – or powerful world players – for ideological reasons intend to be the ones who recognize the authorities chosen in elections,” a paragraph of the document reads.

Social leader Juan Grabois, who in the past few months has grown closer with former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, supported this version, saying that “regardless of your evaluation of Maduro, this only has one definition: a coup. Trump, Macri and Bolsonaro encourage a civil war or an invasion. Dismal precedent for the international public order.”