A top representative of Venezuela’s legitimate interim President Juan Guaidó spoke out about the need for establishing a peaceful transitional government after illegitimate dictator Nicolás Maduro steps down.
Carlos Vecchio, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States, denounced the socialist regime under Maduro and said talks to end the deadlock will resume this week with Maduro’s embattled government. Vecchio was appointed to the post by Guaidó in January.
Speaking at the National Press Club on July 30, Vecchio said the only blockade to peace is Maduro, who caused the country to become a “disaster.”
Socialist policies introduced by Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have crippled Venezuela in less than two decades. Food and medicine shortages, hyperinflation, and violent crime have driven more than 3 million Venezuelans out of the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
Vecchio said they would like to see “a peaceful transition in our country,” but didn’t entirely rule out any military options. The Trump administration has made similar comments about not ruling out military intervention as well.
Vecchio noted that the United States has become one of its most important allies. The Trump administration has repeatedly added sanctions targeting the finances and individuals of Maduro’s regime.
“Interim president Juan Guaidó has said so clear—he’s willing to explore any other option in order to help the people of Venezuela,” Vecchio said.
Maduro currently “is increasing the problem,” referring to the socialist policies started under Chavez, Vecchio said.
“The people of Venezuela, more than 80 percent are looking for a change,” he said during a question and answer session after his remarks. “And that tells you that this system is not working, that this system is killing people, literally, and this is the right time to stop it.”
“We need to change the entire system if we want to recover the country,” Vecchio continued.
When asked if socialism is popular in Venezuela anymore, Vecchio replied, “In Venezuela—no.”
After his address, Vecchio said in an interview with NTD—which, along with The Epoch Times, is part of Epoch Media Group—that should Guaidó officially take over, they “would recognize all legal debts” they have acquired in Venezuela.
For years, the country has been fed billions of dollars from both Russia and China, through loans and energy deals.
“Just keep in mind that the only way to have a clear path in Venezuela is recovering our democracy,” he continued. “Because with Maduro, [Russia and China] will never get paid back. The only option that they have is to work together with us, to recover our country and they will be able to get repaid.
“We have sent those messages to China and to Russia,” he said. “They need to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.”
Vecchio said they haven’t received any “positive response” yet from the two countries.
“This is a new message that we sent to them … They have at least recognized that there is a political crisis and that crisis has to be resolved.”
The ambassador also said they are continuing discussions with Maduro’s inner circle about the “exit of Maduro.”
“We have been in contact with some of them,” he said. “So the important people … relevant people that could facilitate a transition in our country.”
“This is a matter of time, that is the way we see it. … We see this as an ongoing process instead of one single event. We are now in a better position than we were six months ago in how we could confront the dictatorship.”
More than 200 military officers under Maduro’s regime are in prison, according to Vecchio, “that tells you that the military forces are looking also for a change.”
Holly Kellum contributed to this report.