Pence’s Key Phone Call to Venezuelan Opposition Confirms US Orchestration

Pence’s Key Phone Call to Venezuelan Opposition Confirms US Orchestration by  – The AntiMedia

Vice President Mike Pence called Guaido the night before his announcement and “pledged” that the Trump administration would support him.

As U.S. lawmakers, civil society leaders, and Latin America experts continue to warn against American intervention in Venezuela’s internal political affairs, the Wall Street Journal on Friday confirmed suspicions that opposition leader Juan Guaido’s move to declare himself “interim president” of Venezuela this week was highly coordinated with the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers.

According to the Journal, Vice President Mike Pence called Guaido the night before his announcement and “pledged” that the Trump administration would support him “if he seized the reins of government from [elected President] Nicolas Maduro by invoking a clause in the South American country’s constitution.”

“That late-night call set in motion a plan that had been developed in secret over the preceding several weeks, accompanied by talks between U.S. officials, allies, lawmakers, and key Venezuelan opposition figures, including Mr. Guaido himself,” the Journal reported, citing an anonymous administration official. “Almost instantly, just as Mr. Pence had promised, President Trump issued a statement recognizing Mr. Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.”

Guaido’s move and U.S. President Donald Trump’s rapid endorsement were quickly decried as a dangerous intervention—or the beginnings of a coup d’etat—which progressives argued would dramatically worsen the country’s economic and political crisis. As Common Dreams reported, over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the U.S. “cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change.”

At the center of the push to oust Maduro and replace him with Guaido, the Journal reports, were some of the most hawkish congressional Republicans and members of Trump’s cabinet, including national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), as well as officials from the right-wing governments of Brazil and Colombia.

According to the Journal, a “decisive moment” in the behind-the-scenes planning came on Tuesday, Jan. 22, when Trump met with top White House officials and Republican lawmakers the day before scheduled street protests by the opposition.

“Other officials who met that day at the White House included… Pompeo and Bolton, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who presented Mr. Trump with options for recognizing Mr. Guaido,” the Journal reported. “Mr. Trump decided to do it. Mike Pence, who wasn’t at that meeting, placed his phone call to Mr. Guaido to tell him, ‘If the National Assembly invoked Article 233 the following day, the president would back him.’”

Responding to the Journal‘s reporting on Friday, Ben Norton—reporter for The Real News—noted in a series of tweets that it is now clear the “U.S. is not just ‘behind’ this coup; the U.S. is openly leading the coup.”

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