The Trump administration wants to find a way to financially support Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido with an “influx of cash”, CNN cited unnamed White House sources as saying.
“They are trying to figure out how do you help the interim government be able to provide paychecks, that kind of stuff, so that there is an ability to say, ‘hey we are a functioning government’. That would include payments to various people, including those in the military,” one source said.
The sources claimed that the Trump administration is unlikely fly cash directly to Venezuela, given the South American country’s air defences and the comparative ease with witch Washington could deliver money to neighbouring Colombia to be transferred across the border to Venezuela.
The remarks come after US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said last month that Washington has “a lot of plans to revitalise the Venezuelan economy and move very rapidly”.
“There’s a financial plan. There’s food planning. Getting cash to the people on the streets. Working with banks in the region to help us,” he said, adding that the US may use “banks, iPhones, apps and many clever ways to get cash” into Venezuela in order to support Guaido.
Kudlow was echoed by Special Representative for Venezuela Eliott Abrams, who said in April that the US expects billions of dollars worth of investments to flow to Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro is removed from power.
Abrams claimed that international financial institutions were already making plans to lend the country billions more dollars.
The simmering political standoff in Venezuela escalated earlier this week, when the country’s opposition gathered in the capital Caracas, urging the military to join them for the "final phase" of their "Operation Freedom" campaign to oust the Maduro government.
At least 69 people were reportedly injured in subsequent clashes between the opposition and security forces; this prompted Maduro to announce that he had appointed prosecutors to investigate the attempted coup in the country, which the government said had failed.
Maduro urged Venezuelans to take to the streets in the event that a fresh attempt is made to overthrow his government amid turmoil in the South American country.
“If one day, we wake up to the news that a small group wants to use weapons, everyone should go to the streets and defend democracy and freedom. Do not hesitate even for one second,” Maduro told his supporters.
Tensions in Venezuela has persisted since January, when National Assembly President Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president, in a move that was supported by Washington as well as Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and other states in the region.
Maduro, in turn, blamed the US for trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a US puppet and take over Venezuela’s natural resources.