The head of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaido, has asked for a meeting with the U.S. military for “strategic and operational planning” in the power struggle with Nicolas Maduro’s government, the Guardian reported.
In a letter to the head of U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom), Guaido’s representative in Washingon, Carlos Vecchio, pointed to worsening conditions in Venezuela as the standoff continues and “the impact of the presence of uninvited foreign forces that place our country and others at risk.”
“We welcome strategic and operational planning so that we may fulfill our constitutional obligation to the Venezuelan people in order to alleviate their suffering and restore our democracy,” he wrote.
The formal request for a meeting between SouthCom commander, Adm Craig Faller, and “appropriate members of the Guaido administration” is the closest the Guaido camp has come to requesting U.S. military intervention to help oust Maduro, since an April 30 uprising failed to draw significant backing from the country’s generals, the Guardian adds.
SouthCom’s headquarters in Florida did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Vecchio letter. Faller said in a tweet last week that he was willing to meet the “legitimate” Venezuelan government to discuss “how we can support the future role of those [Venezuelan army] leaders who make the right decision, put the Venezuela people first and restore constitutional order.”
Guiado told supporters at a rally in Caracas last week that he would send Vecchio to meet SouthCom “to be able to establish a direct and far-reaching relationship in terms of cooperation.”
The national assembly is debating a possible return to a cold war agreement, Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known as the Rio pact, which would provide a possible legal basis for intervention. Venezuela and other left-leaning Latin American states pulled out of the pact in 2012. The U.S. and much of western Europe and Latin America recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s head of state on the grounds that Maduro’s re-election last year was rigged. Maduro’s allies include Russia, Cuba and China.