The Current

Venezuela needs support of democratic countries to fight 'criminal state,' says political opponent of Maduro

President Nicolas Maduro is clinging to power in Venezuela, as self-declared interim president Juan Guaido finds support both on the streets and on the international stage. We look at the situation on the ground, and what role Canada could play in restoring stability.

Venezuelans united in desire for political change, says Maria Corina Machado

Maria Corina Machado holds a Venezuelan flag during a protest against the previous day's presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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As President Nicolas Maduro clings to power in Venezuela, one of his long-time political opponents says the country needs the support of democracies around the world in order to dismantle what she describes as a criminal regime.

"We're fighting for the survival of our nation against a criminal state that has not only violated our laws and constitutions, but brought hunger and violence intentionally to our country in order to ... make good businesses out of our resources … and stay in power indefinitely," Maria Corina Machado told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"This is not an ideological issue," she said.

Machado, a former member of Venezuela's National Assembly and leader of the centre-right Vente Venezuela party, argues Venezuelans are united in their desire for political change.

That's why she is standing by self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, who is also being backed by the EU, Canada and the U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a press conference in Caracas, on Jan. 25, 2019. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

However, other nations including Russia, Bolivia, Cuba and Turkey have refused to follow suit with Western powers. And some experts warn foreign intervention, particularly by the U.S., could draw the ire of the Venezuelan public.

Earlier this month, Venezuela's foreign minister Jorge Arreaza accused countries allied against Maduro's government of simply taking orders from the United States.

To learn more about the situation on the ground, and what role Canada could play in bringing stability to Venezuela, Tremonti spoke with:

  • Maria Corina Machado, long-time opponent of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, former member of Venezuela's National Assembly, and leader of the right-leading Vente Venezuela party.
  • Ben Rowswell, Canada's former ambassador to Venezuela, from 2014 to 2017, and president of the Canadian International Council, a foreign relations think-tank.

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


Produced by Julie Crysler.

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