|On January 5, the election of new leadership for the National Assembly, the country's parliamentary body, took place in Venezuela. In that session, deputy Luis Parra was elected, who was once part of the opposition party Primera Justicia.
As is known, the events of January 5 were marked by controversy given the decision of the deputy and outgoing president of parliament, Juan Guaidó, not to come to the session and his subsequent attempt to enter the chamber by jumping a fence -- an image that went viral and became the cover story for an alleged boycott against his re-election [and his supposed barred entry -- TML Ed. note].
That day ended with Juan Guaidó swearing himself in without a parliamentary quorum in front of a group of his followers at the headquarters of the newspaper El Nacional. The event was just a media stunt that then turned into a political act. For the U.S. government as well as for other countries in the region, especially those that make up the Lima Group, the media "truth" prevailed.
Several countries that went along with the same narrative as the U.S. government dismissed the election of Parra and blamed him for allegedly impeding the election of Guaidó.
However, another act, even more unusual, took place on January 7. At the end of an ordinary session of parliament, chaired by Luis Parra, Juan Guaidó violently broke into the chamber accompanied by his supporting deputies.
He then appeared before the podium, his lackeys flanking him and swore himself in, again, as president of the National Assembly and, consequently, the "president in charge" of Venezuela, that is to say, in front of no more than a few dozen deputies that followed him in, and a lot of media. The whole thing was clearly staged as a set-up in which the parliamentarians faked a session in which Guaidó was once again declared president.
As it seems to have been planned, this was another media event. For a number of media and political actors, Guaidó took office in the legislature, that is, he presented himself triumphantly as rescuing the "legality" and "legitimacy" of the powers with which he is "vested."
Although for the internal politics of Venezuela, Guaidó does not exercise any real power and his position is today totally void in the Venezuelan institutional sphere, for the press and the U.S. government and its allies, Juan Guaidó is the man responsible for the two most important public powers of the Venezuelan State, even though such a thing is fully outside the Venezuelan Constitution.
Collusion of Two Parliaments a Rupture of Venezuela's
The news channel TeleSUR reported that Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza addressed the media to disseminate the contents of a "diplomatic note" sent by the U.S. government to several countries. The document was called "The U.S. Government requests support for a statement on fair elections in the Venezuelan National Assembly."
For the Minister, this document confirms the U.S. government's intention to interfere in the election of the parliamentary leadership, the only explanation for the unusual and unprecedented actions taken by deputy Guaidó throughout these events.
According to U.S. government spokesmen, the "president" is still Guaidó. And indeed, Deputy Luis Parra is expected to be added to the list of Venezuelan officials sanctioned by the United States and the European Union, as clear retaliation. It is now evident that the U.S. government insists on Guaidó's continuity in the political arena despite his rejection by the majority of deputies, now made up of dissident members of the opposition and Chavistas.
The seriousness of these events lies in the deepening of the Venezuelan institutional crisis and the U.S. seems to be perfectly clear about this. That seems to be the intention, along with sustaining the artificial "presidency" of Guaidó, as a multipurpose pressure and delegitimization tactic of both President Nicolás Maduro, and now also the new president of the legislature.
Another of the derivations of the parallel "National Assembly" that Guaidó governs is that it blocks any possibility of a political detente in Venezuela between Chavismo and the opposition, which could have repercussions for the Chavista leadership and opposition forces, which, although they have distanced themselves from Guaidó, continue to maintain an openly anti-Chavista position.
With these actors, there is the possibility that the Venezuelan legislature will recognize the other public powers and that, consequently, Venezuela will overcome the political stagnation it has suffered since the National Assembly decided to place itself in contempt of the other branches of the state in 2016.
Another possibility lies in the renewal of the Electoral Authority of Venezuela through the appointment of new leaders, something that has not been possible because of the on and off negotiations between Chavismo and the opposition, as well as the no-dialogue position assumed in 2019 by the radical wing under the command of Guaidó, on U.S. instructions.
The outcome of this series of events may be the stagnation of the political and institutional exercise in Venezuela, particularly in 2020, a parliamentary election year. Without a political agreement, without a new National Electoral Council and without an elementary detente, this year's parliamentary elections would be at risk. Whether they are boycotted by a number of opposition parties or even if they are carried out with the participation of broad national sectors of Chavismo and the opposition, they could end in non-recognition by the U.S. government and its satellites.
Such an outcome would mean, then, that Venezuela would continue to be subject to U.S. pressure, which implies an economic and diplomatic blockade and political interference accompanied with threats of military intervention and the promotion of internal sedition.
The U.S. does not want a political solution between Venezuelans and has as its central objective the dismantling of the Chavista forces in government. The existence of two leaderships in the National Assembly, one recognized within Venezuela and the other recognized by the United States and its allies, represents a clearly useful institutional dissonance to consolidate a rupture in Venezuela, a fundamental link for the consolidation of a coup d'état.
On the other hand, the clearly disturbing presence of Guaidó, artificially sustained in the political arena, is clearly essential for the flow of resources for the benefit of specific sectors of the opposition.
At the end of 2019, Namita Biggins, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said that during 2019 "the U.S. government has given more than $650 million towards humanitarian assistance, not only inside Venezuela but also to support 16 neighbouring countries." She said they would like to continue deepening support for Guaidó during this year, which implies more resources.
It should also be noted that supporting Guaidó means continuing the U.S. strategy against Venezuela. Getting another deputy recognized as "president in charge" would be very cumbersome for the Trump Administration's diplomacy and, in effect, would mean declaring the "Guaidó strategy" that was expected to meet the objective of getting Maduro out in just months, in early 2019, a failure.
In his recent presentation to the press, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, referring to the U.S. diplomatic document, indicated that it expressed the U.S. interest in forming a "transition government" in Venezuela. At the same time they ratified their intention to maintain the unilateral coercive measures against the country to force the exit of the legitimate president Nicolás Maduro.
Everything seems to indicate that, in the framework of an election year for Donald Trump, his bet on Venezuela will be to sustain the "Guaidó strategy" despite its catastrophic results in 2019. But in addition to that, everything seems to point to an increase in economic pressures and policies against Venezuela, to assert the U.S. "position of strength" and to present Trump's foreign agenda as a "successful model" of institutional relations for the region.
In the plot of their coup agenda against the Venezuelan state, the U.S. is not concerned about forms, and their agenda is clearly that of the "big stick."