Venezuela questions Bolton after acknowledging that he planned coups

Bogota (CNN) – The claim by a former Trump administration official that he has orchestrated coups abroad is causing a sensation in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s National Assembly voted Thursday to condemn the comments by former US National Security Advisor John Bolton. Its leader, Jorge Rodríguez, described the apparent admission as “an extraordinary feat of gall.”

Rodriguez, a psychiatrist who often uses clinical terms in political battles, also accused Bolton of being a “psychopath.”

In an interview on WednesdayBolton told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he had “helped plan coups, not here, but, you know, in other places.”

Bolton was Trump’s point person in the White House in dealing with Venezuela’s 2019 constitutional crisis, in which a group of opposition politicians tried to restore democracy to the country by forcibly ousting authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro.

What fueled suspicion in Caracas was the fact that Bolton’s comment, made in passing while discussing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, was followed by a reference to Venezuela. He said that he had written about the political crisis in Venezuela in his memoirs and that his actions there were ultimately unsuccessful.

Former Venezuelan cabinet minister Diosdado Cabello also responded, calling Bolton “an inept who, for all the money given to him by (former US President) Donald Trump, could not carry out the order he received.”

Washington’s Failed Strategy in Venezuela 3:13

A failed regime change

In the early hours of April 30, 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, his political mentor Leopoldo López, and a handful of Venezuelan army officers gathered in front of a military base to call on the Venezuelan army’s high command to remove Ripe of power.

Within a few hours, the rebellion had been violently suppressed and Maduro regained power. However, more than 50 countries, including the United States, insisted on formally recognizing Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader and criticized the elections that consolidated Maduro’s power as undemocratic.

Maduro himself has described the move as an attempted coup fueled by “the obsessive efforts of the Venezuelan right wing, the Colombian oligarchy and the US empire.”

More than three years have passed since those frantic hours in which Venezuela seemed on the cusp of change. The United States still does not recognize Maduro for the alleged human rights violations by his government, but has not recently made a call to remove him from power.

Last month, two White House officials met with Maduro in Caracas to negotiate the release of several US citizens held in Venezuela in exchange for sanctions relief.

Oppenheimer: Bolton would be right to question what Trump says about Maduro 3:16

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