After the violent showdown on the Colombian border this past weekend, little has changed in Venezuela. But opposition leaders who were on the border insist what happened Saturday now means all options are possible to topple Venezuela’s regime - even the option President Trump likes to hint about.
At least four people were killed over the weekend on Venezuela’s borders as anti-regime protesters tried to push humanitarian aid into the country. That effort largely failed when security forces loyal to authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro blocked them – and even burned trucks loaded with aid.
Despite those ugly optics, the episode seemed to do little to weaken Maduro, who is widely blamed for trashing Venezuela’s democracy and economy. But Venezuelan opposition leaders say it strengthened their hand.
“Our most important accomplishment Saturday was to reawaken Venezuelans to stand up and fight this criminal regime,” said Congressman Lawrence Castro, who was in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.
Still, a key objective of Saturday’s mission was to get Venezuelan military and security forces to abandon Maduro en masse – and that didn’t happen.
But Castro said the regime’s brutality will embolden the international community to take tougher action against Maduro. He and opposition leader Juan Guaidó – widely recognized now as Venezuela’s legitimate president – even used words only heard so far from President Trump.
"Todas las opcioines están encima de la mesa," Castro told WLRN. "All options are on the table" – including U.S. military intervention.
Guaidó is set to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during Pence’s visit to Bogotá, Colombia, on Monday.