Venezuela's rebellion that wasn't

Mr. Guaidó’s plan was to create the circumstances that would allow the military to remove Mr. Maduro legally while preserving Venezuela’s institutional order. The operation seems to have had a buy-in from the defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López; the president of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno; the head of the intelligence service, Manuel Cristopher Figuera; and the boss of military counterintelligence, Iván Hernández Dala.

Why it went awry is unclear. Some say that because Mr. Guaidó activated the plan a day earlier than had been agreed upon, his collaborators were caught off guard. Others say they backed out when the plan didn’t go according to script—including the surprise appearance of opposition leader Leopoldo López, who had been under house arrest. Still others charge that Mr. Guaidó was set up…

The most credible explanation for the failure of the plan has to do with divided objectives. Mr. Guaidó envisions democracy. The Padrino crowd wants to preserve the command structure it enjoys, hang on to its bank accounts, and not be held accountable for its crimes against humanity or its corruption. The only thing the two sides have in common may be the shared goal of getting rid of Mr. Maduro. But Mr. Padrino, who is notoriously close to the Kremlin, won’t do it at any cost.

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