"The people who devised it in Caracas and sold it here [in Washington], sold it with the promise that if [speaker of the opposition-led parliament Juan] Guaido made a move and [South American countries] and the U.S. came in behind, the military would flip and Maduro would go. They thought it was a 24-hour operation," the official said, as quoted by the newspaper on Wednesday.
Guaido was almost immediately recognised by the United States and a number of regional and European states. Russia, China, Mexico among other nations voiced support for Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating a coup.
As soon as Guaido proclaimed himself interim president, reports emerged that US Vice President Mike Pence pledged his support in a phone call the night before.
Three weeks after Guaido’s declaration, power in the country still remains in the hands of the Maduro government, with the army reiterating its loyalty to the president despite the opposition’s calls to switch allegiance.