The head of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaidó, has asked for a meeting with the US military for “strategic and operational planning” in the power struggle between the Guaidó camp and the government of Nicolás Maduro.


A woman was shot dead and at least 46 people have been injured in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas in clashes between opposition supporters and pro-government forces. The military fired tear gas and water cannon amid rival demonstrations. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for those responsible for the death of the 27-year-old woman to be found.


Venezuela’s opposition is trying to convince ruling socialist party officials to join a transition government, shifting focus as it seeks to unseat President Nicolas Maduro, who has clung to power in the face of growing international pressure and U.S. sanctions.

Senior Expert, Programs


Much of the debate over the current crisis in Venezuela relates to how possible it is to find a negotiated solution. A negotiated transition is favored by many of the international actors supporting the opposition.


Last month, during a meeting of the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley highlighted what the UN has claimed are the Nicaraguan government's violent repression of student and opposition protestors. “With each passing day Nicaragua travels further down a familiar path. It is a path that Syria has taken. It is a path that Venezuela has taken,” Haley said. Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro “are cut from the same corrupt cloth,” she added, “And they are both dictators who live in fear of their own people.”


Argentinian President Mauricio Marci recently told reporters he plans to report Venezuela’s government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity. He said he has the backing of Colombia, Chile, and Paraguay. A recent UN human rights report on Venezuela says that the security forces accused of killing hundreds of demonstrators and alleged criminals since 2015 have enjoyed immunity from prosecution.


According to the United Nations (UN), as of June around 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country mainly to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. The UN spokesperson said those fleeing cite lack of food as the main reason for leaving. They also spoke about the deteriorating state of the country’s medical system which has resulted in the rise of formerly eradicated diseases.


As the political crisis in Venezuela intensifies, the breakdown of law and order in the remote eastern regions of the country has allowed the spread of violence gangs known as sindicatos, who now rule the border region with Guyana. The sindicatos have taken over illicit cross-border trade in gasoline and prey on desperate Guyanese and Brazilians who work in alluvial gold mines in the region — killing those who refuse to cooperate and creating a climate of fear. Many suspect the sindicatos operate in collusion with corrupt elements in the Venezuelan security services.


In a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council, Peru and more than 50 other countries urged Venezuela to open its doors to humanitarian assistance and restore the rule of law. The Peruvian ambassador expressed concern about ongoing extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, torture, and the lack of access to justice in the wake of a brutal government crackdown of protesters. 

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