The reshuffling comes in the wake of a 5-day long energy blackout which caused major disruption to daily life in Venezuela, leading to the closure of schools, the collapse of hospital services and grinding the Caracas metro to a halt. President Maduro blamed the power outage on a US-led cyber attack, combined with sabotage attempts by the opposition in support of Maduro’s rival for the Presidency, Juan Guaido.
This comes as opposition leader Juan Guaido is reportedly touring rural Venezuela to mobilise support for his campaign to oust the Venezuelan President.
Sputnik spoke to Jorge Martin from Hands Off Venezuela and asked him how significant he thought it was that Maduro was reshuffling his cabinet at this time.
Sputnik: How significant do you think it is that Maduro was reshuffling his cabinet at this time?
Jorge Martin: Well it is difficult to know until we know the exact content of the announcement. Yesterday President Maduro asked all his ministers to put their ministerial positions at his disposal and he announced there was going to be a restructuring of the government. But obviously all of this is in the context of the renewed offensive by US imperialism to remove the Maduro government in Venezuela. This comes one week after the massive blackout that left the whole country in the dark for five days. I think that this is probably related to that.
Sputnik: Opposition leader Juan Guaido is reportedly touring rural Venezuela to mobilize support for his campaign to oust President Maduro; how much support do you think Guido can generate in the Venezuelan countryside?
The momentum for the coup against Maduro seems to have been lost. They were supposed to have a major challenge on the 23rd February around the question of delivering the so-called humanitarian aid and that failed. It is now nearly two full months since the beginning of this attempted coup and still there has been no defections from the army, which was one of the main planks of the plan of Washington to remove the Venezuelan government. And so there are now mutual recriminations between Guaido and his minders in Washington; the coup plans are in disarray.
Sputnik: According to an AFP report earlier this week Guaido is considering enabling a constitutional clause that would allow foreign military intervention in the event that the Venezuelan military was to remain loyal to Maduro. Do you think we could see this happen and see direct conflict take place between Venezuelan and US forces?
Jorge Martin: I think this is one example of the frustration and the desperation of the Venezuelan opposition. They have not been able to mobilize large numbers of people other than the demonstration on the 23rd January. The majority of the Venezuelan opposition supporters do not think that they can remove the government by mass mobilization on the streets, but rather they put all their hopes and expectations on military intervention by the United States.
They have had bad experiences with previous foreign military imperialist adventures like Afghanistan and Iraq. It's proven to be been much more complicated for them to leave these countries once they've invaded them and they calculate quite rightly that invading Venezuela will not be an easy matter. Furthermore, they have tried to rope in other Latin American countries in this plan. But there is no real appetite in any other right-wing Latin American capitals for military action in Venezuela.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.