The Current

Canada and allies 'placing a bet' that Maduro supporters will desert him under pressure

International support for Venezuela's self-declared interim president Juan Guaido is growing, but supporters of embattled president Nicolas Maduro insist he is the country's rightful leader. We speak to supporters of both men, and ask whether common ground can be found.

Situation in Venezuela is 'untenable,' says researcher and academic

President Nicolas Maduro has accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

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The international community is "placing a bet" that supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro can be persuaded to defect by applying diplomatic and economic pressure, a researcher and academic says.

"The hope is that people in the regime, maybe the lower echelons of the military ... will decide enough is enough, and this country, Venezuela, needs a new leadership and a new future," said Nicolas Saldias, a researcher with the Wilson Center and a PhD candidate in political science.

"Because right now, it's untenable, it's completely untenable as it stands," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president of Venezuela on Jan. 23, urging the country's armed forces to withdraw support for President Nicolas Maduro. (Fernando Llano/Associated Press)

On Jan. 23, opposition leader Juan Guaido took an oath swearing himself in as Venezuela's interim president. The U.S., Canada and some Latin American and European countries have since announced their support for Guaido, but a number of other countries, including Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, have pledged support for Maduro, who has accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup.

On Monday, Canada hosts an emergency meeting of the Lima Group — a coalition of more than a dozen countries from across Latin America and the Caribbean — to discuss what to do about the situation in Venezuela.

To discuss what can be done to solve the crisis, Tremonti spoke with:

  • Rebecca Sarfatti, an activist with the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum, who supports Guaido.
  • Nino Pagliccia, a freelance writer and retired researcher at the University of British Columbia, who supports Maduro.
  • Nicolas Saldias, a researcher with the Wilson Center and a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Toronto.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Produced by Julie Crysler, John Chipman and Ines Colabrese.


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