20:54 GMT05 March 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL
    Political Crisis in Venezuela (579)

    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.

    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.

    "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.

    "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."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Political Crisis in Venezuela (579)


    Guaido Says All Options in Venezuela on Table, Including Military - Reports
    Bank of England Denial to Return Gold to Venezuela 'Warning for Others' - Expert
    Facts to Know About Oil Giant PDVSA as Venezuela Slams US Sanctions as 'Robbery'
    Guaido Says Venezuela Needs European Assistance to Rebuild – Reports
    Russia Vows to Support Venezuela's Legitimate Authorities
    Juan Guaidó, Nicolas Maduro, US, Venezuela
    Community standardsDiscussion