Guaidó: Sure, I could offer Maduro amnesty

Amnesty? Given the mood in Venezuela, exile might be a better option for Nicolas Maduro. Nevertheless, the man who declared himself the “interim president” in Caracas told the BBC that a grant of amnesty could help resolve the standoff, assuming that Maduro left office peacefully:


Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has said he would consider an amnesty for President Nicolás Maduro if he cedes power.

Mr Guaidó, who declared himself interim president on Wednesday, said he was reaching out to all sectors including the military to end the crisis. …

Discussing a possible amnesty for Mr Maduro, Mr Guaidó said a similar move had played a role in Chile’s democratic transition.

“These amnesties are on the table for all those who are ready to… restore the constitutional order,” he said.

Amnesties have played a key role in establishing the rule of law rather than martial law after the collapse of dictatorial regimes in South America. First, however, the regime has to collapse. Thus far Maduro shows no signs of getting pushed out of power. Yesterday the military leadership gave a show of support for Maduro, although on television more than on the streets:

Venezuela’s top military brass pledged their unwavering support to Maduro, delivering vows of loyalty Thursday before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television.

A half-dozen generals belonging largely to district commands and with direct control over thousands of troops joined Maduro in accusing Washington of meddling in Venezuela’s affairs and said they would uphold the socialist leader’s rule.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, a key Maduro ally, dismissed efforts to install a “de-facto parallel government” as tantamount to a coup.

“It’s not a war between Venezuelans that will solve our problems,” he said. “It’s dialogue.”


That may be a warning to Maduro as well as to Guaidó. This crisis got kick-started by Maduro’s attempts to shut down the national assembly through Maduro’s toadies on the country’s supreme court, which made “dialogue” impossible. The national strike and protests were called in direct response to that action, as was Guaidó’s declaration that he would serve as interim head of government. If the military wants “dialogue,” then that requires that Maduro reinstate the national assembly and recognize its constitutional authority.

And that sets up a veeeeerrrrrry interesting question for Padrino Lopez and the military. If Maduro refuses to do so and instead orders the military to seize Guaidó and the assembly, do they comply? That would create “a war between Venezuelans,” and it’s far from certain that the military could prevail on Maduro’s behalf. The rank and file might balk at attacking elected officials and the civilians that surround them, which would create a collapse in the military that would leave Padrino Lopez and the generals highly vulnerable to reprisals.

Spain wants new elections in Venezuela to settle the issue — and wants Guaidó and the national assembly to run them:


Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Friday that if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro does not call free, fair elections soon, opposition leader Juan Guaido should be recognized as interim president to call elections.

Why not wish for Glenda the Good Fairy to arrive from Oz to settle the issue? Maduro can’t afford to hold free and fair elections. If he could, he would have done so last year and avoided everything that has transpired since. It’s up to the military, not Maduro and not even Guaidó, to call for free and fair elections — or to chuck all sides and impose a junta.

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