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Analyst comments on situation in Venezuela

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. Political confrontation in Venezuela is entering into a prolonged phase after the United States’ aborted attempt to stage an instant government coup, analyst Igor Pshenichnikov, of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI), told TASS on Tuesday.

Pshenichnikov believes that the government of Venezuela and the US-supported opposition are struggling for influence on the armed forces and law enforcers, who at the moment support the legitimate president.

"Maduro has visited many military units, where the officers and rank-and-file personnel vowed allegiance to the head of state," Pshenichnikov said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for taking to the streets no longer result in large demonstrations, which is evidence that the US plans for a quick coup have gone wrong.

"The Americans’ blitzkrieg failed. It looks like the situation is entering into a prolonged war of nerves," he said.

Pshenichnikov warns that in the near future one should expect provocations capable of causing mass popular protests and, possibly, "bloodshed on the streets," because Washington has no intention of dropping its plans to oust Maduro at any cost.

The analyst recalled the latest US sanctions against Venezuela, which he likened to a noose.

"One can only hope for Caracas’s self-restraint, the loyalty of the Venezuelan military and international support, of course, without which Maduro would have a very hard time," Pshenichnikov said.

He recalled that Venezuela’s large-scale military exercise due on February 10 might become what he described as "the moment of truth." He believes that in this way Maduro hopes to bolster the army’s morale and demonstrate its unity to external adversaries, in the first place, the United States, and near neighbors - Brazil and Colombia, which are greatly involved in pressure on Caracas.

Situation in Venezuela

On January 23, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido, whose appointment as parliamentary speaker had been annulled by the Supreme Court two days before that declared himself as acting president. On the same day the United States recognized him as acting head of state. The legitimate president, Nicolas Maduro, dismissed the move as a government coup attempt and severed diplomatic relations with the United States.

Very soon Guaido was recognized by the Lima Group countries except for Mexico, the Organization of American States, Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel. Spain, France, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands on January 26 said they would recognize Guaido as interim president if Maduro refused to call early elections within eight days. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, Salvador and Turkey came out in Maduro’s support. China called for a peace solution to all disputes and opposed external intervention. The UN secretary-general urged a dialogue for resolving the crisis.