Sputnik has discussed the US diplomatic staff withdrawal from Venezuela with former American diplomat Jim Jatras.
Sputnik: What does the US hope to gain by withdrawing its diplomatic staff from Venezuela?
Jim Jatras: Well, I think there’s no mystery here that the US intends a regime change in Caracas, that we want to overthrow the Maduro government, and one way of doing that is declaring that Guaido is the actual president and only recognising "his authority", not that of what I would regard as the constitutional government of Maduro. If you withdraw your staff, you’re basically just upping the ante, you’re creating a higher sense of crisis; really this is the kind of thing you see when one country is about to go to war with another country.
Sputnik: How credible are Maduro’s claims that the US is behind attempts to sabotage the national grid?
Jim Jatras: As far as I know, there’s no actual proof of it, but it’s not an unreasonable thing to suspect given that Washington is pulling out all the stops on whatever tools of policy we have to accomplish that end. Let’s look, for example, at the Stuxnet program that was used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme, everybody understands this was a US and Israeli project, so I don’t think it’s out of the question certainly that we would use such means against Venezuela.
Sputnik: What do you think the next steps are for the US in its plan to replace President Maduro with Juan Guaido?
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.