Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:29AM
Police officers clear a barricade during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (Photo by AP)
Police officers clear a barricade during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (Photo by AP)
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Venezuela has been hit by violent demonstrations sparked by the opposition. Public discontent with the government has been high as a result of the economic woes gripping the once-booming Latin American economy. Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of orchestrating an attempt to topple him as part of a wider offensive against Latin American leaders defying the US hegemony.

Press TV has talked to Javier Farje, a political commentator and Latin America expert, as well as Isaac Bigio, a Latin America expert and lecturer, to get their opinion on the crisis in Venezuela.

Farje believes the main aim of the opposition since it won the 2015 elections and gained control of the parliament has been to topple Maduro’s government.  

Therefore, he said, the crisis in Venezuela is nothing new, arguing that the only way out for the government and the opposition is to go back to the negotiations and reach an agreement. 

The commentator further criticized the Organization of American States (OAS) for not sponsoring negotiations between the opposition and the government, asserting that the OAS has made it very clear that it wants regime change in Venezuela.

He also maintained that the United States has made no secret of its support for the opposition, adding that the media in most countries have even reflected that.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Farje pointed out that the opposition is trying to boycott the few economic achievements the government could put in place, making things even worse.

The commentator ruled out the possibility of a coup in Venezuela given the armed forces’ support for the government.

He concluded by saying that if the opposition tries to initiate a coup, there could be a civil war in the country.  

Demonstrators take cover with a piece of corrugated tin roofing during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Bigio, the other panelist on the program, said there is a “serious risk” of a coup in Venezuela.

He said the opposition is organizing massive demonstrations in order to overthrow the Supreme Court, albeit its main aim is to “precipitate the downfall of Maduro.”

“There is a history of violence by the side of the opposition,” he said, noting that many opposition leaders have called for a coup in the past.

He went on to say that the opposition seeks to implement heavy austerity measures like the ones in Argentina and Brazil, while Maduro is resisting such policy because it will destroy the popular base of the government.

Bigio further said the United States is not trying to carry out a military coup in Venezuela, but predicted that President Donald Trump will have a “tough policy” towards Venezuela and other countries in Latin America –namely Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.