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Diarchy in Venezuela may continue for long, says expert

According to human rights organizations, the January anti-government protests in Venezuela killed 35 people

CARACAS, January 29. /TASS/. The current diarchy in Venezuela may continue for quite a long time, Venezuelan political analyst and consultant Dimitris Pantoulas told TASS.

"It is yet unclear how long the current diarchy will continue, but logic suggests that it is a very difficult issue that may persist for a long time, unless one of the two forces overcomes the other," he said. "We have two presidents at the moment, one of whom controls the state machinery and the armed forces to a certain extent, while the other has more power symbolically, as well as more active public support and the recognition of important foreign countries," the expert added.

Potential use of force

According to Pantoulas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "may use the armed forces" against the opposition but the likelihood of such a scenario will diminish as Guaido gains more support in Venezuela and at the international level.

The expert believes that a move to arrest or attack the opposition leader will only fan unrest, while protesters will use violence more often. At the same time, "more and more soldiers and police officers have been declining to participate in missions to suppress" anti-government activities and it may be an indirect proof that the number of military officers supporting Guaido has been growing.

"The difference between the current situation and the 2018 events is very simple: this time, there is Guaido, a leader few people expected to come forward, who embodies the hopes and aspirations of a large number of Venezuelans," Pantoulas noted. "In 2018, there were many protest activities but they took place at the local level. And now, Guaido is encouraging people and giving them hope, so they are more inclined to protest," he added.

According to human rights organizations, the January anti-government protests in Venezuela killed 35 people, while 850 protesters were apprehended.

Political situation in Venezuela

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members except Mexico, Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said on January 26 that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless Maduro called elections in eight days.

Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.