Venezuela's opposition leader says he's in talks with military officials to oust Maduro

Venezuela's opposition leader says he's in talks with military officials to oust Maduro

Venezuela's opposition leader on Sunday told The Washington Post that he is engaged in talks with military and civilian officials to oust Nicolás Maduro, who is considered to be an illegitimate leader by the United States and other foreign governments. 

Guaidó, who announced himself as Venezuela's interim president last week, said the Venezuelan opposition is speaking to civilian officials and military members who are sympathetic to his efforts to oust Maduro. 

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Guaidó is the leader of Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly.

“We have been in talks with government officials, civilian and military men,” Guaidó told the Post. “This is a very delicate subject involving personal security. We are meeting with them, but discreetly.” 

He said he is seeking to establish a transition government as part of his efforts to oust Maduro. 

Guaidó told the Post that the opposition is planning to funnel humanitarian aid into Venezuela in order to challenge Maduro's authority. He said the aid was enabled by a $20 million pledge from the U.S. and offers from multiple South American countries and the European Union, according to the Post.

“Humanitarian aid is the center of our policy, and we are working on the logistics,” Guaidó told the newspaper. “We believe this will be a new dilemma for the regime and the armed forces. They’ll have to decide if they’re on the side of the people and want to heal the country, or if they will ignore it. I believe we’re going to achieve it. They’re going to let it in.” 

The opposition leader told the Post that "many elements need to be solved" before there are new elections in Venezuela.

The U.S., Canada, the Organization of American States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all endorsed Guaidó quickly after he declared himself interim president last Wednesday.

Other countries have withheld their endorsement until new elections are held.

Election officials said Maduro won the last election, though many organizations consider them illegitimate.

Maduro has accused Guaidó and countries backing him of staging a coup and violating Venezuela's sovereignty.

The Trump administration has not ruled out the use of military intervention in Venezuela amid the transition, though Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Fla.) has denied that the U.S. would participate in a coup.