By Santiago Pena Aranza</p> <p> <p>BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - One hundred days is enough time to evaluate a new government and see whether it has delivered on its promises.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido completes 100 days “in charge” in a mandate that seems more like an attempt to topple President Nicolas Maduro than to effectively rule the country.</p> <p> <p>Guaido has stood out more for his promises of change within Venezuela than for his actual management abilities as a head of state.
- First 100 days
Guaido, a virtual unknown in Venezuelan politics, declared himself interim president on Jan. 23 and won support from major powers including the U.S. as well as the Lima Group of countries, making it clear that it was part of a supported strategy to oust Maduro.
While Plan A was to call on the international community to delegitimize Maduro’s rule and pressure the military to rebel against him, Plan B was a U.S.-led military intervention. But the latter was just a bluff.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president” based on Article 231 of the Constitution. However, he did not call for elections 30 days after the move as the law demands because no institution recognized him as the country’s leader except the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
As a result, he was forced to create an international campaign to send trucks to Venezuela with “humanitarian aid” on Feb. 22 in the hope that it would create a “people’s power” movement of opposition supporters that would prompt the military to switch sides and bring down Maduro, something that never happened.
Maduro mocked Guaido for being a "virtual president" without officers, and Guaido responded by designating top executives for Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA and its U.S. subsidiary Citgo who would work from abroad, as well as his representatives which he called "ambassadors" in the Organization of American States and in countries that recognized him. However, he has not appointed a ministerial cabinet.
Until now, Guaido’s work has been more effective inside the National Assembly, the only place where he was democratically elected.
– Lopez released
On April 30, only a few days before the first 100 days of his self-proclaimed mandate, Guaido made his second political move: he appeared at La Carlota Military Base in Caracas along with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
In 2015 Lopez was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his involvement in the violence that broke out the previous year during demonstrations against Maduro. He had been under house arrest since the summer of 2017 but escaped with Guaido’s help.
Lopez’s release was possible only through the betrayal of a group of soldiers and showed that the former leader of the Popular Will Party is also one of the key players backed by the U.S. government.
This high-profile political move could not occur without Washington’s approval and without consulting with the countries of the Lima Group.
Guaido reiterated — again without success — his call to the army to stop supporting the Maduro government. He managed to muster the enthusiasm of opponents of the government, who took to the streets, but not in the expected numbers.
– Persecution war
While the Maduro government has suffered international sanctions and sabotage by the U.S. and other countries that want him out of power, Guaido and his close associates have also been sanctioned by the Venezuelan government.
Venezuela’s attorney general froze Guaido’s bank accounts and forbade him from leaving the country, a restriction he hasn’t accomplished. The state comptroller also disqualified him politically for 15 years with the argument that his trips abroad were not authorized by the National Assembly and there were inconsistencies between his income and "exaggerated expenses".
The National Constituent Assembly removed his parliamentary immunity following a decision of the Supreme Court of Justice, which leaves him without protection before a possible arrest.
His close circle has also been targeted. For example, Roberto Marrero, one of his collaborators, was imprisoned and accused of terrorism.
Guaido has also been accused of treason, misappropriation of functions and undue appropriation of the nation's assets. Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab has said an arrest could come "in due time".
During his speech on Labour Day in front of thousands of followers, Maduro said those who were behind the attempted coup will go to prison "sooner or later" and that includes, of course, Juan Guaido.
However, Guaido’s arrest could be a double-edged sword for Chavismo because although the self-proclaimed president has done things that justify a prison term, it could radicalize the opposition even more, producing unpredictable results.
For now, while the first 100 days of the self-proclamation are being fulfilled, Guaido has proposed a staggered strike that would turn into a general strike while Maduro has called on social organizations, state governors and the congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela to propose concrete ideas that will lead to an "improvement in people’s lives".
Meanwhile, the coup attempts will continue …
*The author is a political scientist at the National University of Colombia with a master's in theory and criticism of culture from Carlos III University of Madrid.
*Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.
*Jose Baez and Maria Paula Trivino contributed to this story