Guaidó faces doubts about his leadership. GETTY IMAGES
The so-called “Operation Gideon”, the failed attempt to disembark armed groups in Venezuela on May 3, left, according to the government’s account, 8 dead and nearly fifty detainees.
And also a potential crisis within the opposition bloc to the Venezuelan president and many doubts about his strategy and its leader, Guaidó.
Perhaps because the government is aware of this, the state media does not stop talking about an episode that, according to many analysts, forces the opposition to rethink its policy.
How it affects Guaidó
The scandal spilled over to Guaidó when Jordan Goudreau, the former American green beret who claimed to be in command of the raid, showed a contract allegedly signed by the opposition leader.
Goudreau also released a recording in which Guaidó’s voice was apparently heard saying he was ready to sign the document.
.Jordan Goudreau, a former American green beret, said he was in command of the operation.
Guaidó denied having anything to do with the operation, which he says was “infiltrated and manipulated” by the Maduro government, but has not clarified whether the firm is his.
Days later, he accepted the resignation of his two advisers involved in the talks with Goudreau months before the attempted invasion.
The analyst Dimitris Pantoulas He told BBC Mundo that “the opposition has given many different versions in recent days.”
However, Adriana Pichardo, deputy of Popular will, Guaidó’s party, assures: “It has been shown that we had nothing to do with it.”
The ruling party has already issued its verdict and last Thursday Cilia Flores, Maduro’s wife, assured that “Juan Guaidó is not saved from this”, fueling rumors of a possible arrest, a step that the government has so far not taken despite the fact that in January 2019 he was proclaimed president in charge of the country in his status of leader of the National Assembly (Parliament).
Luis Vicente León, from the consulting firm Datanálisis, believes that “for Guaidó it is almost impossible to escape unscathed in terms of popularity”, regardless of how involved he was in the plot.
“It was a complete failure, not only because of its result, but because of its unpresentable original design,” says the expert, who points out that public funds were committed without the mandatory authorization of the National Assembly.
Many see signs of exhaustion in Guaidó’s leadership.
For Pantoulas, the leader “is at his lowest point” because “it has been a long time and he has not achieved results in the search for political change in Venezuela.”
Guaidó established a clear path in the motto “cessation of usurpation, transitional government and free elections”, but 16 months later, Maduro is still at the Miraflores Palace.
Anadolu AgencySergio Vergara is one of Guaidó’s advisers who resigned due to the scandal.
Despite all this, a replacement for Guaidó at the head of the opposition does not seem likely.
Jesús “Chúo” Torrealba, in charge of coordinating opposition forces in the past, told BBC Mundo that “prison, repression and exile have reduced the political vanguard in Venezuela,” making any change difficult.
But, for Torrealba, “it is not about changing the spokesperson, but changing the policy.”
On the other hand, the determined support of the United States to Guaidó, which is also supported by dozens of countries, remains apparently decisive and dissuades those who could challenge him.
What the opposition can do
Making everyone agree on the heterogeneous Venezuelan opposition has traditionally been a difficult task, something that Maduro has known how to exploit since coming to power.
But since the United States, and later the majority of European and Latin American countries, recognized Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, the theses of his party, Voluntad Popular, seem to have prevailed.
For Pantoulas, those who have devised the opposition’s strategy since then “are convinced that Maduro has to go out in any way, even in the shortest time, even in a violent way.”
Many believe that the father of this policy is Leopoldo López, Guaidó’s mentor, who has been a refugee in the residence of the Spanish ambassador since on April 30, 2019, escaped his house arrest in the middle of another riot that State security controlled in a few hours.
Henri Falcón, Maduro’s rival in the 2018 presidential elections, which Voluntad Popular and other opposition groups boycotted alleging a lack of guarantees, affirms that “every time Venezuelan extremism continues on this route, it screws up the government.”
“They are not doing politics; they tied themselves up to violence and continue waiting for the United States to solve the problem for them ”, complains Falcón.
Now, the voices that demand a change of direction grow.
.The calls to break the Armed Forces have been unsuccessful.
After landing attempts, the party Justice First, one of the main leaders in the opposition, issued a statement distancing himself from the incursion and demanding the dismissal of the leaders involved in his gestation, thus making public a fissure that could widen in the coming weeks.
An opposition deputy who asked not to give his name told BBC Mundo that “there is a great crisis” within the opposition, because the “route proposed in 2019 looks exhausted.”
He predicted that in the coming weeks Guaidó will have to accept changes in the so-called government center, the parallel to that of Maduro, in which López has so far served as coordinator and led the singing voice.
“Although Guaidó continues, the opposition unit will have to begin to govern itself collectively and we must be more involved in decision-making and the management of funds,” demanded the deputy.
Torrealba, conciliator in the past of the different visions, is clear: “The opposition urgently needs to go beyond the pilgrim idea that it is possible to solve the national crisis by way of a breakdown of the Armed Forces or a providential foreign intervention” .
In the words of Pantoulas, it is a matter of proposing “clear ideas to achieve regime change through the peaceful route”.
But that doesn’t seem easy.
Pantoulas detects the “internal pressure for Leopoldo López and Voluntad Popular to relinquish the baton they have led so far. But there are also pressures from people who are outside and have maximalist ideas, such as Carlos Vecchio, Iván Simonovis or Antonio Ledezma, who do not understand the dynamics within Venezuela. “
These exiled leaders seem to continue leaning towards the thesis that any option is valid to remove Maduro from the Miraflores palace and “restore democracy.”
That thesis still has defenders within Venezuela, such as Maria Corina Machado, from the Vente Venezuela party, which insists on his idea that “an international coalition is needed and a credible threat of the use of force” for Maduro to leave.
Thus, Pantoulas sees Guaidó trapped by his commitments to “make everyone happy,” which has led him to make “mistakes” like that of “Operation Gideon.”
On the horizon, a legislative election that should be held this year, now in doubt due to the unexpected appearance of the coronavirus.
If called, the choice to participate or not could further divide the opposition.
All this leads León to conclude that “the opposition seems to have exhausted the routes.”
“His immediate objective can no longer be the change of government, but an internal change to rescue magic, hope and articulation and, then, to rethink their struggle.”
What about the government … and the people
Accustomed to repeating that he is the victim of an international conspiracy to which he blames the country’s ills, the Maduro government has spent days politically exploiting the failed incursion with extensive deployment in state media, in which the opposition is vetoed.
Pantoulas affirms that, after the operation skid, “Maduro benefits, but for a short time.”
“There are so many economic and infrastructure problems that the matter will soon have been forgotten.”
.The crisis continues to hit Venezuelans without politics offering a solution.
Gasoline shortages, lack of water, power failures, poor hospital conditions and malnutrition continue to punish Venezuelans at a time when the pandemic threatens to provoke an unprecedented health emergency and deliver the coup de grace to an economy that has shrunk by less than half since Maduro became president.
For Torrealba, political actors have distanced themselves from the concerns of ordinary Venezuelans.
“The distance between what the citizens think and what the government and the opposition think, which dispute in the imposition of a narrative that is of no interest to anyone, is manifest.”
“Facing the pandemic is going to take all the forces of the nation and a minimal consensus seems even more difficult after this snorty comedy” of the landing.