“We Are Producing Assurances for a Serious Negotiation Process”: Guaidó

Venezuela’s opposition leader analyzes the variables that could lead to an agreement with the Maduro government and the most recent political shifts in the region.

Juan Guaidó, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly
July 28, 2021 | 03:45 PM

Caracas — Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader, says these are “moments of change,” like the one he led in 2019, when he swore in as interim President of Venezuela, a position that is recognized by the governments of dozens of nations in the world, but not by all of his fellow citizens who placed their hopes in him even before that day, January 23.

“What was the dictatorship’s game? To wear and tear, to prevent the possibility of change,” he says, more than two years later.

However, now he faces a new challenge in the short term. “When in the coming weeks or months, we generate a breaking point, or a seemingly feasible one, (...) what we’ll see again won’t be the expectations of Juan Guaidó, (but) the expectations of the Venezuelan people,” he says.

All is needed, he says, is a timetable for elections. To achieve that, months ago he proposed reaching a negotiated agreement with the government of Nicolás Maduro.


He spoke about this and more with Bloomberg Línea. The interview was edited for length and clarity.

Guaido gives his thoughts on Pedro Castillo, Cuba and the state of the Venezuelan opposition.dfd

Bloomberg Línea: We are hours away from Pedro Castillo’s inauguration in Peru. There are some who fear that he might become “another Hugo Chávez”, and that he will turn Peru into “another Venezuela.” What do you think about this?

Juan Guaidó: Firstly, I celebrate the elections in Peru. That is what we Venezuelans want: to choose our future in a democratic way.


Secondly, for another Chávez to exist institutions must be weak. They go after the checks and balances, among other things, so that is up to the Peruvians, not only on the intentions of one person, and I am not saying that these are the intentions of Pedro Castillo, by the way, but I trust the institutions at this time in Peru, in the checks and balances that the opposition should represent.

We should wait for his actions. Let’s hope that Pedro Castillo is a friend of democracy, of institutions and therefore of the democratic struggle in Venezuela.

Days ago you showed support for the protests in Cuba, but there are those who say that your team, given its international recognition, could do more, especially to increase pressure on the Havana regime. Are you doing something in that regard?

Yes, for a long time. We’ve been having conversations with the San Isidro movement, with Unpacu (Unión Patriótica de Cuba), with Cuban dissidents. If we only make public statements, it will not be enough to face this kind of dictatorship, we Venezuelans have experienced it firsthand.

We can’t just expect that the Cuban society agrees only to dialogue and negotiate with (Miguel) Díaz-Canel, it would be a contradiction.

Juan Guaidó expressed his support for the Cuban people and said he has engaged with democratic groups from different countries to put pressure on Miguel Díaz-Canel's government.dfd

It’s been 62 years of oppression and there have been no chances for the people to organize themselves. (See what also) happens in Nicaragua: all the presidential candidates are in exile or currently imprisoned, mirroring what happened in Venezuela in 2017 and 2018.

This should be an issue for the region to ponder and question, in a positive way, the current mechanisms to confront these types of regimes and their violation of human rights, the functionality and use of the Inter-American Charter of Human Rights, the possibility of implementing it and even talk about efficiency and how to improve sanction mechanisms to hold these types of human-right violating regimes accountable.


Some weeks after Jorge Rodríguez said that “we wouldn’t sit down to negotiate with the opposition,” Maduro said that he is ready to travel to Mexico and start talks. Is this imminent? Are the terms clear? Will the opposition that you lead participate in this process?

On our end, we’re ready to start this process, stressing that the dictatorship doesn’t care that it would be with the part of the opposition that I lead, but the democratic alternative which is supported by the United States, the European Union

There’s no doubt that this is not a matter of good faith from the regime. (People should also be aware) that the country is not viable at this time. It should be known that he has even lost control of some territory, not only because of what happened in Cota 905 and La Vega a couple of weeks ago, which was the tenth time this year, by the way. It wasn’t anything new, (considering) what happens on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, but also in Brazil. We saw the Brazilian Defense Minister denouncing the presence of Russian weapons of Venezuelan origin on the border between Brazil and Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said on July 22 that he was ready to sit down and negotiate with the opposition in México. However, the country has not confirmed it will host this dialogue. dfd

When would this process begin? Will you first register candidates for the upcoming regional elections?


These aren’t tactical elements, but elements of political mechanics. They are elements of negotiation aimed at reaching an agreement on the agenda, specifying conditions, the place of the negotiation, the oversight of the international community.

Obviously, the democratic alternative in Venezuela and even allied countries don’t trust the dictatorship acts in good faith. Rather than waiting, we’re producing this space and the best guarantees for a serious process.


The challenge for the democratic alternative and allied countries is preventing the regime from going back from the agreement. (That’s why we need) to have guarantees for all sectors, not only for us, by the way, even for those who support Maduro, like the Armed Forces or his inner circle.

We also need to be prepared for the regime to do what it has done in previous times, that is, avoiding signing an agreement. And I think that being prepared for that even increases the chances of an agreement.”

Juan Guaidó

Everyone in the opposition talks about the importance of unity, but the opposition continues to appear, at least from the outside, divided. Why?

In Venezuela there has been almost perfect unity during the past 10 years. There are differences among leaders. (But) some take advantage of this to magnify the differences, even when 95% of us have absolute unity and articulation, for example, the National Salvation agreement. There’s an absolute consensus regarding the need for an agreement that solves a conflict, the need to generate spaces for unity, decision-making, and to be of service to the citizens, to incorporate sectors of civil society. It’s a lively discussion around the way to get out of a dictatorship. That doesn’t mean that we are not united, nor that we don’t agree on anything.


With regards to the mechanism, even taking the interests of some of the leaders into consideration, there will be things to agree on and to generate consensus on. But I think it’s unfair to Venezuelan society to say that there is no unity in Venezuela or, worse still, blame on the oppositon the fact that the dictatorship hasn’t ended.

Henrique Capriles after an interview on June 8.dfd

Realistically, what are the chances that this time the process will lead to an agreement and that neither party will withdraw before that?

It will depend on the agreements that we manage to reach with the international community, on the clarity with which we present the proposals, on the pressure that we can generate domestically, on the ability to improve the union of the democratic alternative. There are several variables that could end in an agreement, a comprehensive agreement, a solution to the country. We all know that partial agreements aren’t a solution. We know that an isolated election is not a solution, especially if it has neither guarantees or conditions.

Assigning a specific weight or a probability of success at this time to the negotiation wouldn’t only be risky. We must also focus on it positively, as in what does it mean? We must do what we are supposed to do: we have put the proposals on the table, we have sought national support, we have made Venezuelan politics viable even without media or means to broadcast... We have managed to establish the need for an agreement to save Venezuela.


We must also be prepared for the regime to do what it has done previously, that is, avoiding signing an agreement. I think that even getting ready strengthens the possibility of an agreement. Spokespeople like Juan González from the White House have already said it: If the regime wants to avoid an agreement or a negotiation, we are prepared to put more pressure.

“Our challenge is having free and fair elections, and to dispute power in good faith.”

Juan Guaidó

Maduro has explicitly revealed his goal: to get the sanctions lifted. To what extent do you think he will give in to get this?

We cannot depend on the good faith of the regime or on what they will “yield.” They will, initially, do things that do not endanger their hold on the power, and that is why we see, for example, the release of some political prisoners. That is why we see, for example, a supervised National Electoral Council.

Our challenge is to be able to hold a free and fair election to dispute the power in a fair fashion. (We need to) generate competitive conditions for an election that brings a solution to the conflict rather than its continuation.

If a “firm agreement” is not reached as the product of negotiations, will the opposition participate in the regional elections in November?

The main challenge is channeling this vast majority to achieve a solution, and that is the debate we have at this time in the lead up to November 21. Please note that I haven’t called it an election in any way. (We’ll define this as) an election when we have guarantees, conditions, and that it’s a reflection of the will of the people of Venezuela.