Toronto, January 29: Venezuelan army defectors want the Trump Administration to give them arms to unseat Nicolas Maduro as the country’s president. According to a report by CNN, former Venezuelan soldiers Carlos Guillen Martinez and Josue Hidalgo Azuaje, who live outside the country, said they want US military assistance to equip others inside the nation who want to overthrow Maduro’s government.
"As Venezuelan soldiers, we are making a request to the US to support us, in logistical terms, with communication, with weapons, so we can realize Venezuelan freedom," Guillen Martinez told CNN.
This appeal came as top officials in the Trump Administration have announced a slew of measures to challenge Maduro’s power including supporting an opposition president, and slapping economic sanctions.
US national security advisor John Bolton also appealed to the Venezuelan military to assist in the smooth transition of power from Maduro to Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. has recognized as the legitimate head of state.
The report in CNN says that Venezuela’s soldiers are banding together on social media through whatsapp groups and such in their fury against Maduro’s regime. But the soldiers speaking to CNN said they do not want a foreign military intervention. "We do not want a foreign government [to] invade our country," Hidalgo Azuaje said. "If we need an incursion, it has to be by Venezuelan soldiers who really want to free Venezuela."
Venezuela’s economy is in doldrums despite it having a rich petroleum reserve and the US being one of its top export destinations. The economic crisis has led to a political crisis with Venezuelan opposition accusing Maduro of rigging last year’s elections to stay in power.
Despite the increase in the sentiment of mutiny among soldiers, senior army officers in the Venezuelan military continue to remain loyal to Nicolas Maduro. This means that no arm of the government is yet out of his control along with support from countries like Russia and China.