For the third time this year, the U.S' attempt to remove Venezuela's democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro from power has turned out to be a bust. After an uprising in Venezuela quickly fizzled out, President Maduro blamed the U.S. government for orchestrating a coup attempt against his country.
Speaking at a May Day event in the capital Caracas, Nicolas Maduro said a European newspaper had reported that U.S. President Donald Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton had coordinated all operations of the attempted military coup. Maduro said Venezuela defeated the coup attempt, adding Washington had been unable to topple former President Hugo Chavez and also couldn't topple him. He added that the U.S. could never bring a puppet president to the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas.
Trump administration officials had expected that Wednesday might turn out to be the beginning of the end for President Nicolas Maduro with senior government figures withdrawing support and the opposition launching a mass uprising with military backing. Or at least that's what the administration had been led to believe.
But the promised defections didn't happen, the military uprising never materialized and Maduro still appeared to be firmly in command of the South American nation. Trump officials were back to complaining about the support Venezuela receives from Cuba and Russia while issuing vague warnings of military action. Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when President Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycott by the opposition. Tensions climbed on Jan. 23 when Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, but Maduro has so far refused calls to step down.
Some in the Trump administration thought they would achieve their mission in January, when the U.S. formally recognized Guaido and around 50 other nations followed suit. Others thought it might end in February, when the opposition entered the country with trucks of U.S. aid to help the people of a once prosperous country where many now go without food and medicine amid a deep economic crisis.
Maduro has thwarted the latest coup attempt against his government as opposition leader Juan Guido's call on the military appeared not to have triggered a broader revolt. The military has so far supported the country's democratically elected President Maduro and refused to back Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January and has backing from dozens of countries, including most of Latin America and the U.S. Maduro has called Guaido a U.S-backed "puppet" who seeks to oust him in a coup. The government has arrested his top aide, stripped Guaido of his parliamentary immunity and opened multiple probes. It has also barred him from leaving the country, a ban Guaido openly violated earlier this year.