‘Need more soldiers’: Venezuela’s Guaidó says opposition overestimated military support before failed uprising – The Washington Post

May 4 at 5:01 PM

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó acknowledged Saturday errors made in attempting to stir a military uprising, and did not discard the option of a potential U.S. military option alongside Venezuelan forces — saying he would take any offer from Washington to a vote in the country’s National Assembly.

After a dramatic week that saw a clandestine plan to oust President Nicolás Maduro fall apart on Tuesday, Guaidó conceded that the opposition had miscalculated its support within the military.

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, Guaidó said he expected Maduro to step down amid a groundswell of defectors within the military.

Instead, Guaido’s call for the military to abandon Maduro did not produce mass breakaways in the ranks. Maduro’s security forces then quelled street protests and left Guaido’s U.S.-backed opposition on its heels.

“Probably because we still need more soldiers to support it, to back the constitution,” Guaidó said. “I think the variables are obvious at this point.”

Guaidó — the head of the National Assembly who in January declared Maduro a usurper and claimed the legitimate mantle of national leadership — did not back unilateral U.S. military options. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has given no clear signals on whether it would favor direct military involvement against Maduro.

But Guaidó suggested that he would be open to a U.S. effort that also involved Venezuelan military personnel who have turned against Maduro.

Asked what he would do if national security adviser John Bolton called him up with an offer of U.S. intervention, Guaidó said he would reply: “Dear friend, ambassador John Bolton, thank you for all the help you have given to the just cause here. Thank you for the option, we will evaluate it, and will probably consider it in parliament to solve this crisis. If it’s necessary, maybe we will approve it.”

The remarks were among the strongest Guaidó has issued on the delicate subject of U.S. military assistance — an option that still remains largely unpopular among even those Venezuelans who are opposed to Maduro.

Guaidó said he welcome recent deliberations on military options in Washington, calling them “great news.”

“That’s great news to Venezuela, because we are evaluating all options,” he said. “It’s good to know that important allies like the U.S. are also evaluating that option. That gives us the possibility, that if we need cooperation.”

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