Guaido vs Maduro: Who is backing whom in Venezuela?

(Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is attempting to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro. In January he invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was illegitimate.

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido (L) and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R). REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

On Tuesday Guaido made his strongest call yet to the military to help him, and violence broke out at anti-government protests as the country hit a new crisis point after years of political and economic chaos.

Following is a list of who supports whom in the OPEC member country’s escalating crisis:


* The top brass of Venezuela’s military has shown no sign of leaving Maduro’s side, although there have been some low-level defections. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Tuesday that the armed forces would continue to defend the constitution and “legitimate authorities” and that bases were operating as normal.

* Russia, a major investor in Venezuela’s oil industry and lender of last resort, has stood by Maduro and criticized U.S. interference. The Kremlin has supplied weapons and sent nearly 100 military personnel to Caracas.

* China, also a significant creditor to the indebted government, has backed Maduro and in recent weeks offered help with medicine and the power supply after a series of blackouts.

* Turkey has repeatedly voiced support for Maduro and said Guaido’s call for an uprising was a challenge to the constitutional order.

* Iran has voiced support for Maduro and criticized U.S. sanctions against his government. Earlier this month, a delegation visited the country to discuss opening a new flight route at a time when many airlines have stopped flying to Venezuela.

* The Venezuelan Supreme Court, stacked with Maduro loyalists, has remained solidly behind the socialist leader, ruling in January that all actions taken by the congress - led by Guaido - are null and void.

* State oil company PDVSA, which accounts for most of Venezuela’s export earnings and is also led by Maduro appointees, has stood by the socialist president.

* Some left-leaning Latin American governments, including Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, continue to back Maduro. Havana’s support for Caracas led Washington to ratchet up sanctions against it.

* Mexico, where leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office last year, has dropped the previous government’s opposition to Maduro and urged dialogue.


* There are signs that Venezuelan military defections may be rising, with increasing numbers deserting and arriving in Colombia and Brazil.

* The United States recognized Guaido shortly after he assumed the interim presidency and has been one of his most vocal international supporters. The conservative administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed a raft of sanctions in an attempt to dislodge Maduro from power. Trump has refused to rule out military intervention but there is little apparent appetite in Washington for such a move.

* Brazil, South America’s largest country and Venezuela’s neighbor, has given its full backing to Guaido under new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, describing Maduro as a dictator. The government says it has not considered military intervention.

* Most other major South American governments, led by centrist or right-leaning heads of state, have backed Guaido, including Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru.

* Britain, Germany, France and Spain and more than a dozen other members of the European Union recognized Guaido in a coordinated action in February. The EU has emphasized that it wants a political solution to the crisis rather than a military one.

Compiled by Rosalba O’Brien and Caracas bureau; Editing by Lisa Shumaker