CARACAS: World powers are taking sides in Venezuela’s deadly power struggle, which has pitted some Western powers against Russia, China and others.
Inside the country, opposition figurehead Juan Guaido is vying to lure military commanders to switch their allegiance to him away from President Nicolas Maduro, 56.
Here is a summary of whom key players are backing, after Guaido on January 23 declared himself acting president in defiance of the leftist Maduro.
— Military: Maduro through his allies controls most of Venezuela’s main state institutions — most importantly the military.
Senior officers have reaffirmed support for him, though there have been signs of wavering. A senior air force general recognised Guaido as president on February 2.
— China: Venezuela’s biggest creditor, with some $20 billion owed, says it opposes “external interference” by those who have recognised Guaido as leader.
-Russia: Venezuela’s number two creditor also backs it militarily: In December Moscow sent two bombers and some 100 officers to Caracas for joint exercises. President Vladimir Putin has also accused the US and its allies of “interference”.
— Other allies: Bolivia, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, North Korea, Turkey and Uruguay back Maduro as leader. Among the few EU powers to back him is Greece’s left-wing government.
— United States: US President Donald Trump quickly recognised Guaido when he proclaimed himself acting president.
— Regional powers: Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia followed, as did the head of the Organization of American States, Uruguayan Luis Almagro.
— European powers: Austria, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden recognised Guaido on Monday.
— Australia and Israel are among other countries to recognise him.
— Legislature: Inside Venezuela, Maduro’s opponents control just one major state body: the National Assembly, whose powers Maduro’s rival National Constituent Assembly seized in 2017.