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Juan Guaidó The Result of Prolonged Scheme to Kill Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is the result of a years-long project that has been working under the guidance of the US government, journalist and documentary filmmaker Dan Cohen told Sputnik.

Guaidó recently declared himself Venezuela's interim president and has since been backed by the US along with a trove of allies, including Canada, Panama, Argentina, Peru and Brazil, among others.

Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, reacts during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Additionally, the La Guaira-born politician, who serves as a member of the country's Popular Will party, has been granted control over Venezuelan assets at the direction of the US government, which claims the funds will be used for the "benefit of the Venezuelan people."

The Trump administration also announced on Monday that it would be imposing a new round of sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, a move that is expected to cause a revenue loss worth billions.

But who is this person that's received such a strong support from several governments? Cohen sat down with Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Tuesday to offer some insight on where it was that Guaidó emerged from.

​Noting that an estimated 81 per cent of Venezuelans had never heard of Guaidó prior to January 2019, Cohen told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that in order to truly understand him, one has to take a trip back to 1998, when Washington, through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), started paying the tab for multiple colour revolutions in other countries.

Through the NED, Washington was able to help establish the likes of Otpor, a political organization founded by Srdja Popovic, which in turn founded the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS).

"[Otpor and CANVAS participants] basically became regime change mercenaries who were sent all over central Asia [and] to Egypt, backing, training student groups on who to carry out color revolutions," Cohen explained, noting that the focus shifted to Venezuela when Stratfor, a Texas-based think-tank, got involved in 2007.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton arrives to address reporters as the Trump administration announces economic sanctions against Venezuela and the Venezuelan state owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2019 - Sputnik International
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"So they started bringing groups of students to Belgrade to start training them in these dark arts of regime change, and they identified one of Guaidó's colleagues in what would become the Popular Will party — the party that Guaidó is essentially the leader of, because the rest of the colleagues in his party have fled the country because this party has led major acts of violence on the streets, gruesome street violence demonstrations… including killing supporters of the government and burning their bodies in order to send a message to other Chavistas."

Citing documents released by the Venezuelan government in 2014, Cohen noted that Guaidó was one of several students that were ultimately trained by CANVAS during a five-day session in a Mexico City hotel in 2010.

"The founders of this operation to train Guaidó and his fellow Popular Will party members are the oligarchs who were ousted from Venezuela when [former Venezuela President Hugo] Chavez was elected and came to power in 1999," he told Becker. From there, it became a waiting game before Washington was able to execute its plans to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution through Guaidó.

Recently, former UN Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas spoke out against the US' actions toward Venezuela, criticizing the Land of the Free for engaging in "economic warfare" against the South American country. De Zayas told The Independent over the weekend that US sanctions against Venezuela are illegal and amount to "crimes against humanity."

His remarks, which came after he'd submitted a September report to the UN Human Rights Council on the topic, stemmed from his late 2017 visit to Venezuela.

Essar Oil company's Vadinar oil terminal, part of the sprawling oil refinery complex is seen in Gujarat state's Jamnagar district, India (File) - Sputnik International
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"Whatever the record is of [Venezuelan President] Nicolás Maduro, if you look at what the Bolivarian revolution has done, it's brought millions of Venezuelans out of poverty, and for that, it's been basically suffocated under a blanket of [US] sanctions," Cohen said.

"It's total starvation [and] suffocation until the people of Venezuela basically renounce democracy and give in to US hegemony."

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