Timeline: Venezuelan political unrest


Nearly six weeks have passed since a political conflict erupted between Venezuela’s elected president, Nicolas Maduro, and opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions rose when Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.

Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have put their weight behind Maduro.

The following are the main developments:

Jan. 10 – Maduro was sworn in for second six-year term as Venezuela’s president.

Jan. 11 – Paraguay cuts diplomatic ties with Venezuela “in defense of democracy”, says foreign minister.

Jan. 17 – Venezuela’s Supreme Court announces that 12 agents from country’s intelligence service have been remanded in custody for briefly detaining Guaido.

Jan. 20 – Several demonstrations opposing Maduro’s government take place throughout the country.

Jan. 21 – Miguel Pizarro, deputy to the National Assembly for Petare, announces a major opposition rally scheduled for Jan. 23 which will gather protesters under one roof to call for transition of government as well as free, transparent and democratic elections.

On the same day, the National Assembly calls on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela (FANB) to collaborate to “restore the constitutional order”.

In response, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says Venezuela’s Armed Forces recognize the new presidency of Nicolas Maduro for the 2019-2025 period.

Venezuela’s army also arrests a group of soldiers calling for an uprising against the government.

Jan. 22 – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a video message to Venezuelans in support of Guaido.

Anti-government protesters set fire to a statue of former President Hugo Chavez.

Jan. 23 – Guaido declares himself acting president until new elections are held.

Trump recognizes Guaido as country’s interim president.

Jan. 24 – Maduro cuts all relations between his country and U.S. following Washington’s recognition of Guaido.

EU calls for free, credible elections in conformity with constitutional order in Venezuela.

Venezuelan army rejects self-proclaimed president. Army will defend constitution and act as guarantor of national sovereignty, says country’s defense minister.

Brazil and the Organization of American States recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s leader. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay follow suit.

Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, South Africa, Palestine, Bolivia and Mexico put their weight behind Maduro.

France and Britain back Guaido, while Spain and Portugal call for free elections in the country.

Venezuela decides to withdraw all diplomatic personnel from the U.S.

Guaido asks the U.S. to provide more than $20 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela.

Jan. 25 – The U.S. orders all non-emergency government staff to depart Venezuela.

India calls on Venezuelan people to find political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue.

Venezuela announces that the country will continue to sell oil to the U.S. despite cutting off diplomatic ties with Washington.

Mexico says it is willing to mediate in Venezuela’s political conflict.

Belgium calls for “credible” elections in the country.

Jan. 26 – If elections are not announced within eight days in Venezuela, UK, Germany, France and Spain say they will recognize opposition leader as acting president.

Jan. 27 – Israel recognizes Guaido as president of Venezuela.

U.S. administration accepts Guaido’s designation of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as charge d’affaires to U.S.

Jan. 29 – U.S. blacklists Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA.

U.S. gives control of some Venezuelan assets to Guaido.

Venezuela’s attorney general asks Supreme Court to ban Guaido from leaving the country and to block financial accounts.

U.S. raises Venezuela travel advisory to highest level.

Guaido designates envoys for the Americas, including U.S., Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, Honduras and Peru and the Lima Group — a body of 12 Latin American countries.

Jan. 30 – Greek diplomat says Greece doesn’t want to see Venezuela as a weak, divided state.

Maduro rejects calls for fresh presidential elections, defying an eight-day deadline given by EU member states.

Trump warns American citizens against traveling to Venezuela until further notice

In a video message, Maduro asks Americans for support to avoid a “new Vietnam”.

Nearly 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day because of “instability and uncertainty” amid a crisis over the presidency and economy and 3 million Venezuelans have already left the country since 2015, UN Refugee Agency reports.

Jan. 31- European Parliament recognizes Guaido as interim president in an official vote.

The UN forms an international contact group to press Maduro for a new election in 90 days.

Guaido shows off a plan for the development of the country.

Feb. 2 – Maduro proposes an early election for the National Assembly, which was previously scheduled to be held in 2020.

Feb. 4 – Spain, Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia and the Czech Republic recognize Guaido as interim president until elections are held in Venezuela.

Maduro writes a letter to Pope Francis asking for his help in resolving the country’s political crisis.

Greece urges Venezuela not to allow any foreign interference in its internal affairs.

On anniversary of failed 1992 coup attempt, President Maduro says he won’t allow any intervention in his country.

The UN says it will not join any side in discussions involving the political crisis in Venezuela.

Lima summit calls for Venezuela’s Maduro to step down.

Italy’s deputy PM refuses to recognize unelected Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader.

Feb. 6 – Maduro government blocks bridge to prevent U.S. aid from entering the country.

Feb. 7 – Spanish Senate approves motion asking the government to protect economic assets of Venezuela.

U.S. revokes visas of Venezuela assembly members.

Feb. 8 – Venezuela’s Supreme Court declares Guaido’s interim presidency “null and void”.

Feb. 10 – Maduro launches what he describes as the “most important” military drills in the country’s history amid ongoing political crisis.

Feb. 12 – Italy urges Venezuela to hold “democratic” elections as it may help the protest-wracked country find a “way out”.

Feb. 13 – Slamming Trump’s hints in favor of military action in Venezuela, U.S. congressman rules out approval for a military option.

Pope writes letter to Maduro indicating conditions are not suitable for the Vatican to help mediate the country’s political crisis.

Feb. 15 – Maduro says coup d’état sought by Washington has failed and calls for “dialogue, understanding and respect” to resolve crisis.

Three U.S. military aircraft carrying humanitarian supplies reach city of Cucuta near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.

Feb. 19 – Japan recognizes Guaido as Venezuelan president.

27 years of political unrest in Venezuela

1992 – Hugo Chavez involved in two coup attempts as an army lieutenant colonel against President Carlos Andres Perez and is jailed for two years.

Maduro campaigns for his release as a member of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 — a political and social movement formed by Chavez in 1982.

1998 – Elected President Chavez launches Bolivarian Revolution, which brings an anti-U.S. foreign policy and socialist economic and social policies financed by oil prices.

2002 – Coup attempt ousts Chavez from office for two days.

Chavez’s opponents organize a general strike which will damage the economy to force his resignation.

2004 – Chavez wins a referendum to continue serving his remaining term as president.

2006 – Chavez wins six-year presidential term.

2007 – Guaido helps establish student-led political movement against Chavez’s government and campaigns against Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew broadcasting license of RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). The private media outlet was closed after not broadcasting Chavez’s speech during two pro-government marches.

Venezuelan voters reject a controversial constitutional referendum that planned to increase government control over the central bank.

2012 – President Chavez sworn in for fourth term in office.

2013 – Chavez dies after battle with cancer.

Maduro, as his preferred successor, wins presidential election and takes oath.

2018 – Maduro sworn in for another six-year term as president.

Country under Socialist government rule suffers political crisis based on economic situation, including high inflation and exchange rates.

Source: AA