What the mainstream media won’t tell you about the man at the centre of the US-backed coup in Venezuela

Juan Guaidó
Support us and go ad-free

The international mainstream media has largely sided with Venezuela’s self-appointed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó in recent days. But it’s leaving out some important facts about the US-backed opposition leader. Why? Because these facts threaten Washington’s pro-coup narrative that is being parroted throughout the Western corporate-owned press.

Will the real Juan Guaidó please stand up?

The Guardian has quoted US national security advisor John Bolton uncritically, while portraying Guaidó as a heroic figure. But it completely glosses over the reality of who Guaidó is, as do other mainstream outlets.

Independent journalists, however, have now set the record straight. Writing at the Grayzone, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal offer a powerful rebuke of the idea that Guaidó is some kind of people’s champion poised to deliver Venezuela from evil. They point out that he is, in fact, an obscure figure in Venezuelan politics, who fewer than one in five Venezuelans had even heard of before the coup. And they add that his political party is a “politically marginal far-right group” that is “closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence”, stating:

While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela’s most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another. His party has been widely discredited inside Venezuela, and is held partly responsible for fragmenting a badly weakened opposition.

Far from having a base of support among ordinary Venezuelans, Guaidó is rather “the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories.” As Cohen and Blumenthal say:

Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrat[ing] his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Venezuela’s government responds to the coup attempt

On 30 January, Venezuela’s attorney general froze Guaidó’s bank accounts and imposed a travel ban on him. The country is also placing the coup leader under investigation for “serious crimes that threaten the constitutional order”.

President Nicolás Maduro, meanwhile, has publicly stated that he is willing to enter into a peace dialogue with opposition leaders. The Vatican and UN secretary-general António Guterres have indicated support for such dialogue. And the governments of Mexico and Uruguay have also expressed willingness to serve as mediators to facilitate such talks.

Opposition forces and their supporters in Washington, however, seem to be holding firm. This is in spite of opposition demonstrations against the government in Caracas on 30 January having a poor turnout, according to social media reports.

There is no sign that Guaidó or the hardline opposition elements he represents are backing down, though. And why would they when they have the backing of Western governments and the international media?

A sad but predictable response from the mainstream media

The mainstream media has been parroting the opposition and US narrative dutifully. The Guardian, which has become notorious for its pro-Washington Latin America coverage, quotes the Americas director of Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco. (The board of directors of this so-called human rights organization includes former NATO and Wall Street personnel). Vicanco states that:

The only question, given the domestic and international support for Guaidó, is if the Maduro dictatorship is able to really flex its muscles and sideline Guaidó like it has with previous opposition leaders.

But the truth is that Guaido is not the savior the mainstream media is making him out to be. Instead, he seems to be just another US puppet hand-picked from an unrepresentative elite which has been trained to take power and restore US dominance in Venezuela.

Featured image via Carlos Garcia Soto/Wikimedia Commons and the Grayzone

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

  • Join the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.
  • Take part in one of the campaigns of Just Foreign Policy.
  • Support Witness for Peace in its campaigns for peace and social justice in Latin America. You can also travel on one its many delegations to the region.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us