Opposition leader Juan Guaido says he will do everything in his power to “steer Venezuela towards democracy” while refusing to rule out backing a military intervention by the United States.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, the self-declared interim president said establishing democracy is one of the five principles he wants to implement to overcome the crisis Venezuela is facing.
“Governability, stability, the lowest social impact possible, attend to the current humanitarian emergency, reactivate the economy to create jobs for citizens and steer Venezuela towards democracy,” Guaido told Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman during the interview.
Guaido refused to rule out backing a possible US military intervention in the country, which has seen political turmoil for months following economic hardship that has lasted for years.
The opposition leader, who has been recognised as interim president by the US, a dozen Latin American countries, Canada and the European Union, said he rejected an offer from Mexico and Uruguay to mediate talks with President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido said the standoff is not between two equal sides, but between a small group of leaders that wants to do everything to stay in power and the general populace, who wants a change of government.
“What we have here is an entire country that wants change and a very tiny group that sustains itself with weapons, has stolen from the republic and with constant threats against the republic that sustains them and a citizenship that is massacred,” Guaido said.
“I understand the good intentions by Mexico and Uruguay and I understand the ultimatum the European Union has given Maduro,” he said, referring to the EU’s ultimatum for Maduro to announce fresh election on Saturday at the latest.
Maduro has made clear he will ignore that deadline.
“The opposition has been willing to negotiate. We have tried everything. We have voted, we have abstained. We have gone on hunger strikes. We have protested and they have killed us,” Guaido said.
“The cessation of the regime, a transition government and free elections, everything within that framework can be discussed,” he concluded.
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