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Venezuela’s US-backed opposition movement on verge of collapse

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Venezuela's key opposition figure Julio Borges

The political opposition movement the US has aided and abetted in Venezuela to challenge the Nicolás Maduro government is facing crisis after a major faction announced its withdrawal.

Julio Borges, a leading figure in the so-called Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, announced the end to the leadership of Juan Guaidó, whom Washington and its allies had backed as Venezuela’s ‘president’ since January 2019.

It has further undermined the country’s Washington-sponsored opposition following its massive defeat in regional polls last month, which gave Maduro a thumping mandate

Borges made the announcement during an online news conference on Sunday, insisting that the interim government – illegally formed in 2019 and led by Juan Guaido – is not serving its objective, suggesting that it has turned into an elite social class.

"The (interim) government makes sense as an instrument to get out of the dictatorship. But at this moment, in our way of seeing it, the interim government has been damaged," said Borges, whose differences with Guaido are well-known.

"Instead of being an instrument to fight the dictatorship, the interim government has become a kind of ... caste," he further emphasized.

Borges, who fled to neighboring Colombia and acquired political asylum there after being charged in Caracas for being part of a plot to oust President Maduro, said he would make his resignation official during a legislative session on Tuesday and that the interim government should "disappear."

It should only serve to manage foreign-based state assets like the US-based refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp, and its political structure must be re-jigged, he proclaimed.

The US, along with dozens of allied countries – mostly in Western Europe -- recognize the opposition-led interim government and consider the 2018 re-election of President Maduro to be “fraudulent.”

Borges lives in Bogota, the capital of neighboring Colombia, where he was granted political asylum after Maduro's government accused him of being part of a plot against the president.

He is a member of the First Justice party, one of the four major opposition parties and part of Guaido's coalition in the national assembly.

Internal divisions and delayed alliance agreements among opposition parties are seen by analysts and some members of the opposition as one of the causes of the loss in local and regional elections in November, when the opposition won just three of 23 governorships.

Meanwhile, Maduro announced on state television that former Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza would be the ruling party's candidate for a January rerun of the gubernatorial election in Barinas state.

The Supreme Court of Justice ordered a new vote because of a close race and disqualified opposition candidate Freddy Superlano, citing pending administrative investigations against him.

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