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Anti-Maduro Uprising Turns Violent in Venezuela; Russia Blames Venezuelan Opposition for Violence. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 1, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Just getting started, the coup is foiled: the competing narratives from Venezuela, with both the opposition and the regime claiming support from the military and rallying supporters to stay the course.
The end of an era and Japan, literally as a new Emperor ascends the throne with the promise of a more modern, more progressive Imperial family.
And a look at Robert Mueller, the man who wrote the 400-page report into Russian election interference among those less than happy with the Attorney General's four-page summary.
Hello, welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm John Vause. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin this hour with breaking news out of Venezuela where the embattled President Nicolas Maduro remains defiant in the face of growing protests. He addressed the nation just a few hours ago, saying a coup attempt against him had been failed or foiled, rather, and he thanked his military leaders for their continued support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our cause is the cause of Bolivar, our liberator, not Monroe. Our cause is the cause of dignity and rebellion of a complete people who denies becoming a great colonial -- denies to surrender to the Imperial United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Earlier flanked by soldiers, the National Assembly leader, Juan Guaido called on the military to join the opposition and rise up against the Maduro regime, a call which unleashed violent protests and clashes in Caracas as well as other cities, at least 71 people have been hurt, and according to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Maduro had an airplane waiting on the tarmac to fly him to Cuba.
Russia, though talked him out of it. Russia's Foreign Ministry says that claim by Pompeo is false.
David Mackenzie is part of CNN's of correspondents who have been reporting extensively on the political crisis in Venezuela. He recently returned from Caracas he joins us now for all of the major developments in the past couple of hours.
So David, we just heard from Nicolas Maduro, he made that late night appearance on TV, essentially declaring victory over a coup attempt and also thanking the military generals. This is part of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADURO (through translator): With the truth as a sword, with the truth as a shield, before so many attacks and so many lies. And that is why we came out victorious in all of this matters and we will continue to be victorious in all of these matters from now on and the months ahead of us that are to come. I have no doub.e
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Okay, so the one hand you've got Maduro there claiming victory, in it for the long haul. But the U.S. Secretary of State said when the day began, Maduro was ready to fly off into history, into exile. So from what you've seen in Caracas in Venezuela, for a lot of people that have been telling you, is this a leader who is prepared to dig in? And what level of support does he really have on Venezuelans?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very hard to gauge on the streets of Caracas, what the full level of support. You know, when we were in Venezuela for that long period, to a person really, in the normal neighborhoods, that people would be saying that they wanted him to go, the President to get out.
And as you know, John, it's not normally the case that someone who has a tight grip on of power will wait to the very last minute, late night to release a statement like that. What was critical there was he thanked the military High Command, the top echelons of the military and it's a very bloated top echelon. His political generals and others who sort of owe their livelihoods and their loyalty to Maduro.
So unless they really turn on him, it's not going to be an easy push for the opposition. You saw Juan Guaido there on the streets, extraordinary it seems. What struck me, John, is that for someone who did that piece of dramatic political theater as it were, with the military standing behind him in a pre-dawn address, calling for a move on the government was then able to openly stand on top of the vehicle and address his supporters without being rounded up by police or military because of the attempted coup.
It shows that Guaido has a freedom of movement that is extraordinary given the circumstances. And at the same time, the optics of it is that Maduro is held up in Miraflores Palace or some other location saying that he is in control -- John.
VAUSE: There are two very different sides in all of this and two very different narratives. And as you say, David, it's often difficult to decide which is true. We appreciate you being with us. David McKenzie there giving some analysis on the situation right now in Venezuela. For more, let's head to Seattle in Washington State, Brett Bruen,
President of the Global Situation Room, and former White House Director of Global Engagement. So Brett, we've spoken before about you know, ramping up the pressure on Venezuela. We now have this directive from the FAA.
[00:05:10] VAUSE: The Federal Aviation Authority, essentially banning all U.S. airlines from operating in Venezuela. They've got 48 hours to get out. Is that directive likely to be followed by other countries? And what will be the impact of this?
BRETT BRUEN, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL SITUATION ROOM(via Skype): I think you're going to see not only airlines, but international companies with presence and people still in Venezuela looking to ramp up because what we've seen over the last several hours are some significant cracks in Maduro's hold. The fact is your reporter was indicating that Guaido was able to have a number of military officials in Venezuela, who moved over to his side is significant. He was then clearly able to bring large groups of folks together on the streets of Caracas. It isn't a slam dunk, but it certainly is causing a lot of consternation in Miraflores, the Presidential Palace tonight.
VAUSE: What was interesting earlier here on CNN, we had Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, revealing details about what he said he was Maduro's planned trip into exile, which never was. Listen to Pompeo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: He had an airplane on the tarmac. He was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay. We think the situation remains incredibly fluid. We know that there were senior leaders inside the Maduro government that were prepared to leave. They told us as much over the past few weeks, and we're convinced that the Venezuelan people are going to get their democracy back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Maduro has denied that. But you know, let's assume Pompeo is accurate. So how did the situation turn from a case of Maduro about to fly off into the sunset of history and into Cuban exile to suddenly appearing on late night national television declaring victory? What did the Russian say to convince him?
BRUEN: Well, I think there's a couple things at work there. One Pompeo is playing a little bit of psychological warfare here by trying to diminish the confidence of some of that military brass that Maduro is going to stick this out. And so if they have doubts, perhaps they, too, will work on their own plans to go out of the country.
But at the same time, we've known for a while that Maduro is subject to strong Cuban influence, strong Russian influence. And clearly, I think over the last several weeks that has been exerted and it may well have been a key factor in keeping him in place for the time being. VAUSE: We also had from Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition,
speaking publicly around the same time as Maduro did. He had a very different message, obviously, it was quite simple. This ain't over yet, is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN Guaido, VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT (through translator): Tomorrow, May 1st, we will continue with this. We will continue out on the street, meeting points throughout Venezuela. We will be out on the streets. We will see you out on the streets on our territory. This is not a coup in Venezuela, but rather a peaceful transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There has to be a use by date to a call to action, doesn't it? That how long does Juan Guaido have before, you know, people just shut off and stop listening?
BRUEN: Well, he's been at this for several months, and each time, he has been able to ratchet up the pressure and meanwhile, Maduro is in a bind. There aren't that many tools that he has left he can pull out except to crack down even harder, which unfortunately may squeeze those members of the military who are on the fences to whether or not they're going to continue to support him. So there is a blowback if he tries to push his people too hard, if he cracks down too much.
VAUSE: What was interesting, we had the Defense Minister appearing with Maduro in that national address a few hours ago, and he was one of three high ranking officials called up by the Trump administration. They were expected to come out in support of the opposition and when they didn't, the National Security adviser, John Bolton actually called him out publicly by name. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Figures like Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, the Chief Judge of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, the Commander of the Presidential Guard, Rafael Hernandez Dala, all agree that Maduro had to go. They need to be able to act this afternoon or this evening to help bring other military forces to the side of the Interim President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Bolton named three times through that news conference. He then went on today on Twitter as well, saying that the time was up. Venezuela's Foreign Minister tweeted back, "Dream on, John Bolton, not today." It seems to the very least, we know the Foreign Minister may actually have it right. And the message from Maduro appearing with the Defense Minister by his side seems pretty obvious.
BRUEN: Yes, though, I will say what you have within the Maduro regime are different camps, and Bolton is trying to exacerbate tensions within those camps. There may well be intentions by some of them to put their support into the Guaido camp. But Bolton is just prodding and trying to push them a little bit farther and to try to break from within some of the support that Maduro still enjoys.
[001500:17] VAUSE: Yes, it's like that time Bolton wrote 30,000 troops to Colombia on the notepad. He's very good at this.
BRUEN: He has. He's been around the block and he knows how this game is played well.
VAUSE: That's what he says right here. Brett, thank you. Good to see you. Brett Bruen there in Seattle, Washington.
BRUEN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Miguel Tinker-Salas also an expert on Venezuela and Latin America, Professor at Pomona College in California. He is with us via Skype. Professor, thank you for staying up and taking the time. I guess the question now has to be, how much longer is Maduro prepared to keep this crisis going?
It seems he has supporters abroad. The country's economy is going from crisis to catastrophe. And you know, well, Maduro denies it. The Secretary of State says -- Pompeo says Maduro was ready to leave all of these on Tuesday by heading into exile. Because Maduro is the one person who could bring this to an end, right?
MIGUEL TINKER-SALAS, PROFESSOR, POMONA COLLEGE: Yes. And also at the same time, if the opposition could come to terms and figure out how to negotiate instead of the all-or-nothing strategy.
I mean, I think we have two different parallel issues here. One is Guaido, who has an expiration date. It started on January 23rd. We're going to bring this to an end within a week, then it was February 23rd in Cucuta, Colombia, we were trying to bring in aid and calling on the military to break ranks. That didn't happen. Then it's been now today, April 30th. Now it's May 1st. He also has a shelf date. And increasingly, the criticisms against Guaido from within the opposition are louder and louder.
And that is an all-or-nothing strategy that bets it all. And I think that there will be a downside again for Guaido today because he overestimated his position. If he's going to have a coup, he would have had the General standing next to him. You don't do a coup by making an appeal to Generals to come join you.
Likewise, Maduro has a problem -- the economy, the sanctions. They're taking their toll, and plus inefficiency and corruption. And again, low oil production. So again, those two issues coming side by side will only aggravate the crisis, I think.
VAUSE: Yes, you mentioned why Juan Guaido -- essentially to summarize, because he sort of overplayed his hand today or on Tuesday by declaring that the military was with the opposition, and this is the beginning of the end of the Maduro regime. This is part of what he said on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUAIDO (through translator): Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men loyal to the Constitution have heard our call. We have finally met on the streets of Venezuela. Operation Liberty, the Help the Freedom Committees, I invite them to activate immediately. I invite them to immediately cover the streets of Venezuela. The 1st of May has started today. The definitive end to the usurpation has started today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And clearly, as you say, that was a little premature. If you have a coup, you don't ask the generals to join you when the coup is in progress. But was there a trigger? Was there one factor which caused Guaido, you know, to make this move on Tuesday?
SALAS: I think it's the internal dynamics of the opposition. Largely, as I said, his call for the final day, the final onslaught in January, February. I've been seeing a lot of criticisms of Guaido from within sectors of the opposition. And in many ways, he's trying to consolidate his power by pushing the envelope as far as possible.
But again, he is overestimating, over playing his hand, and expecting the military to join him. It is very similar to sort of the false flag operation we are seeing from Pompeo and Bolton, naming Padrino by name, Maikel Moreno by name, Hernandez by maybe hoping to cause tension within Maduro himself looking over his own shoulder.
Again, in many ways, the only way to resolve this long term is that there has to be some kind of concerted negotiations in Venezuela. It cannot be an all or nothing's strategy, because again, someone is going to be left to pick up the pieces and the country will have no -- not able to actually forge together any sense of unity going forward, if this was continually a violent option instead of a negotiated solution.
VAUSE: Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State for the United States, he did this interview on CNN, you know, he talked about the plane ready to take Maduro a way to exile. He was also asked about the options being considered by the U.S. President Donald Trump. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: The President has made very clear that all options are on the table. That certainly includes a military option. We are working to make sure that doesn't need to be the case, that we deliver this outcome for the Venezuelan people in a way that doesn't put life and limb at risk, and there is not violence.
But I don't think anyone should be fooled that if the President makes that decision, if he chooses a military option that the United States military has the capacity to execute that option in a way that will achieve the outcome the President intends.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [00:15:06] VAUSE: Yes, let's not be fooled. They may have to
capacity, but there is no will, there's no desire, you know, for any kind of military force, at least, in the traditional sense. An invasion in Venezuela would make Iraq look like a cakewalk.
SALAS: The U.S. military is overextended. It's already in Afghanistan, it's in Iraq, it's in Syria, it's in Libya. A conflict in the middle of South America, in the northern part of South America would destabilize the region and create an immigration crisis, proportions of which we've never seen before. And I think the consequences will be long term for democracy, not only in Venezuela but throughout Latin America.
So I think that that really is not an option. I think they've talked about naval blockades. They've talked about all sorts of options. But they really have put their bets on Guaido and Guaido is not producing.
So this was really aimed at two audiences today -- one was an internal audience within Venezuela to keep Guaido's leadership viable. The other one was to actually make a further appeal to the U.S. and to that group of Lima to further intercede, to tighten up, ratchet up the sanctions or to ratchet up pressure on Cuba or other countries in the region.
VAUSE: As you say this just gets back to the need for a negotiated settlement for both sides to sit down and try and work this out because it's not going to happen unless they do that. Professor --
SALAS: It will not, happen. The example of El Salvador is very clear. El Salvador in the middle of a Civil War, you had a negotiated solution. There's no reason if people with good intentions sit down and try to negotiate a solution in Venezuela.
VAUSE: Okay, Professor, we're out of time, but Miguel Tinker-Salas, we appreciate you being with us. Sir, thank you.
SALAS: Thank you.
VAUSE: Moving on now, Japan, celebrating a new era and a new monarch. Naruhito has ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne, becoming the country's 126th Emperor. The 59-year-old inherited the Imperial regalia at the Tokyo ceremony. His reign marks the start of Reiwa era meaning harmony. He succeeds his father, Akihito, who abdicated on Tuesday. The 85-five-year-old is the first Japanese monarch to step down in two centuries. He raised concerns that this health and age made it difficult to perform official duties. Lawmakers had to actually pass a new law to allow him to retire.
For more, CNN's Will Ripley live in Tokyo. It's been quite a day.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it has, you know, and I think Emperor Naruhito got a taste and we got a taste as well of what it's like to be the Japanese Emperor when the entire crowd here behind us was cleared out. We stood around for about an hour, for about 20 seconds of the Emperor's convoy driving by and he kind of waved briefly. And that was it. I mean, that's what life is like when you're the Japanese monarch.
Everything is coordinated by bureaucrats. The police clear the way and then the ceremonial event happens and then they go back. He just drove right back inside the Palace there which is going to be his new home after they refurbish it a little bit.
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is just an extraordinary place if you've never seen it. It's right in the middle of this mega metropolis, and yet behind those walls there you have forests and gardens, peace and quiet. It's almost like its own little world. Nancy Snow, Professor with Kyoto University, Cal State, all over the place and a royal expert for us back again.
So we heard from Naruhito and of course, he took his cues from his father, the now Emperor Emeritus Akihito with the kind of less is more approach to public speaking.
NANCY SNOW, PROFESSOR OF FOREIGN STUDIES, KYOTO UNIVERSITY: That's right. You know, I really think that there is some excitement about this new generation going forward. And we even saw this with the motorcade. A lot of people were really -- a bus, they had their flags out. The fact that they are internationally educated makes a difference as well.
And also, the question remains, to what extent women are going to be empowered through this new generation of Emperor and Empress. I know, I'm really putting my cards on the Empress Masako because she's been one who is so intriguing. She has the similar background as I do in international relations.
RIPLEY: She struggled for many years.
SNOW: And she did. And you remember, he was so supportive of her. So they're a great match, just like his parents have been as well, 60- year marriage, so they've got wonderful role models. And we want to hear more from them. I know that we like to hear their voices in uplifting the people because they are a symbolic representation.
RIPLEY: You were saying earlier, Empress Masako, this could be her moment. I mean, she is a -- she was a diplomat before she became the Crown Princess. As you mentioned, Ivy League, she went to Harvard. She is fluent many languages. Do you think this will be her time in particular to shine?
SNOW: I do. But I don't want her to feel any pressure. We are willing to have this be a gradual coming out of her personality and of her heritage with this interest in diplomacy that they both have. I think that they are quite intellectually curious and they will be involved in aspects related to Japan's image in the world that really is freeing.
[00:20:08] SNOW: We often see them in the light of not being so free to express, but they can do this in other ways because we really yearn for something kind of a greater good. And this is something that has been a refrain or an agenda, even a narrative of Japan now, since 311. RIPLEY: The Japanese Emperor and Empress need to be mindful, they can
never express any sort of opinion in public, but they can influence and shape policy through the statements they make and the things they allude to. But I'm wondering, are we being a little too optimistic, Nancy, about changing times when, you know, just a couple of hours ago at the ceremony where the ancient treasures -- the mirror, the sword and the jewel were handed over, you know, to the new Emperor, Naruhito and he received his official -- he received all the things that he needs to perform his official duties, the stamps and whatnot to sign official documents, and the Empress wasn't allowed in the room.
SNOW: Right, right. Well, listen, it's day one. And you know, that was rather disappointing, but I think as far as overall optimism about Reiwa and what it represents, there's so much action that can come out of it as I have said with the support for sustainable development goals. Even my home University Kyoto Gaidai has been really supportive of the UN STGs and this new Emperor with his emphasis on the environment.
When you're here in Japan we're in the heart of the city, but outside of Japan is so much rural countryside. There's so much to preserve here. It's not all skyscrapers.
RIPLEY: Nancy Snow. Thank you very much. It's true the Emperor -- the new Emperor just like his father and predecessor, John focused very much on the environment which of course is a hot button issue right now and he does have a platform that potentially could help.
VAUSE: Will, it's been fun. See you next hour. Thank you. Coming up here, new complaints of the how the U.S. Attorney General summarized the Mueller report. This person may actually have a case, because the complaints are coming from a guy called Robert Mueller. Details when we come back.
VAUSE: There are new questions about how the U.S. Attorney General handled the release of the Mueller report on Russian election meddling, and they come from Robert Mueller.
A source says Robert Mueller sent a letter to William Barr late last month saying Barr's four-page summary did not capture the context and substance of the report's conclusions.
Congressional Democrats have already complained Barr was controlling the narrative and protecting the President. The U.S. Attorney General testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Simon Prokupecz has details.
[00:25:10] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Special Counsel Robert Mueller expressed concerns in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that Barr's four-page letter to Congress summarizing the principal conclusions of Mueller's findings didn't fully capture his report. Now, we're told that later, Barr and Mueller did speak by phone and
while Mueller didn't think Barr's letter was inaccurate -- his initial letter to Congress -- the Special Counsel believe his report was more nuanced on the obstruction of justice issue, according to Justice Department officials.
Now, we're told that Mueller was frustrated. He was frustrated by media coverage and wanted more of the report to come out, these officials tell us.
And senior Justice officials, keep in mind, they've been puzzled. They've been puzzled all along why Mueller did not reach a conclusion on the obstruction issue. And we're told, as a result, that Barr felt he needed to provide finality on the matter as the Attorney General overseeing the investigation.
A Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that Mueller did not tell Barr that anything in the letter was factually wrong. And then you'll recall that Barr told lawmakers in his congressional testimony on April 10th weeks after Mueller's letters that he didn't know if Mueller supported his conclusions.
Now, Democrats have erupted ahead of Barr's testimony. Barr is supposed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, highly anticipated and certainly more to come on this issue. Certainly with the Democrats on the committee. Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: We'll see in a court ruling if we will see a lawsuit against President Trump over his business dealings moved forward. The suit filed by 198 members of Congress accuses the President of violating a law by accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments, through his businesses. They Constitution's emoluments clause prohibits such payments without the consent of Congress.
Trump's Washington Hotel has become a favorite place for foreign officials when they visit the Capitol.
Against the backdrop of escalating hostility on congressional oversight, there was a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation at the White House on Tuesday. Democratic leaders held a meeting with Donald Trump and both sides agreed they'll spend $2 trillion -- $2 trillion on infrastructure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It was a very constructive meeting and there was goodwill in this meeting. We agreed that infrastructure is crucial to the future of America. We agreed on a number, which was very, very good. So this was a very, very good start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, the difficult question of where the $2 trillion will actually come from has not been worked out. Both sides will meet again in three weeks to discuss funding. Let's see what happens.
The face of Venezuela's capital descend into chaos. After the break, why now? And how the United States and Russia are both responding in very different ways.
VAUSE Welcome back, everybody. Thank you for staying with us. I'm John Vause with an update on our top news this hour.
[00:30:34] Japan has a new monarch. Emperor Naruhito inherited the imperial regalia just hours ago. He succeeds his father, Akihito, who abdicated on Tuesday.
Akihito is now emperor emeritus. He's Japan's first monarch to step down in two centuries.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to the U.S. attorney general, William Barr late last month, concerned about the summary he made of his investigation. A source says Mueller complained the summary did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of his conclusion. Barr is set to testify before a Senate committee later on Wednesday.
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro remains defiant in the face of growing protests against his government. At least 71 people were hurt on Tuesday after National Assembly leader Juan Guaido called on supporters and the military to rise up and overthrow the Maduro regime.
Joining me now from Washington, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a network of global leaders dedicated to democracy and prosperity in Latin America.
OK. Good to have you with us, sir. So all this unfolded. The opposition leader, Juan Guaido, essentially declared the beginning of the end of the Maduro regime. He said he had the backing of the military. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LEADER (through translator): For many years, we've talked to the armed forces; and today it's clear to us that the armed forces are with the Venezuelan people and not with the dictator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So Michael, given how events played out over the day, that just doesn't seem to be the case. That is not reality. He does not have the bulk of the military with him.
MICHAEL SHIFTER, PRESIDENT, INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE: Correct. He was hoping that he'd have the military switch just like he wanted this to happen when he first emerged on the scene in January. And then in February, with the humanitarian aid effort on the border. And this was a bold and brazen move today. And he has more military
on his side today than he did yesterday but certainly not enough to topple this regime.
And so I think what we saw today, that this regime is dug in and still has the top brass backing Nicolas Maduro.
VAUSE: So on Twitter, Maduro earlier today, we didn't see a lot of him, but we saw the tweet. He said the military, the commanders who are remaining loyal, he'd spoken to them. They're all standing firm.
And we also saw him doing that national address on television, you know, a few hours ago. He was surrounded by senior political figures, as well as senior figures from the military. You know, the message was quite obvious that, you know, the military was still with him.
So if there's no overwhelming number -- numbers of defections, and the uprising today ends with a whimper, where does that leave the opposition? And in particular, where does it leave Guaido?
SHIFTER: Well, Guaido is determined to sustain the pressure, to keep it up. He's calling for people to go to the streets tomorrow. And he -- you know, he still is very much committed to a democratic transition in Venezuela.
But he has encountered very formidable obstacles. And the main question is what the armed forces are going to do. I think, more than Guaido, what happens to Guaido is what happens to the military. Is -- does this really shake the military a little bit? And will they keep -- will the military really keep Maduro or not? I think that is the big question.
And if they don't, what kind of government would they have? Would they align with Guaido or would they pursue their own kind of government? Either a repressive government or a more open democratic government. I think that's -- I think that's a possible scenario. Because I think the military realizes now that, even though Guaido failed in his effort, that this regime is not sustainable. And it's better to try to work something out, rather than the situation end in a blood bath.
VAUSE: I'm just wondering. You only get so many times when you can say, "The military is with me" when they're not. And then it comes down to a question of credibility, right?
SHIFTER: Right. No, absolutely. NO, I mean, and I think that's the risk for Guaido, that many people who have been following him and believing in him will become discouraged and disappointed and will become frustrated. Because he's promised that this will -- will happen. He's taken very bold steps, very courageous steps; but it hasn't -- hasn't turned out that way.
He is going to -- he is committed to continuing. He's not going to give up. The slim ray of hope is that the military will realize that. That Guaido is very fierce and very relentless and -- and will try to figure out a way, within the military itself, to try to negotiate an end to the crisis.
[00:35:13] It may not be an end that includes Guaido. They may take the power into their own hands and pursue a different course. But I think they may be realizing what's happening every day is that this regime is under enormous pressure domestically and internationally, even though the government did not fall today.
VAUSE: The other pressure now is coming from the U.S. president. And it's actually going on to Cuba. He's warned Havana of a tweet that they will be facing sanctions and an embargo again if Cuban forces in Venezuela who are there to support Maduro, if they do not leave, you know, fairly promptly, I think was the word.
It seems like we're heading back to the days of the Cold War. How big of a role are the Cubans playing, when it comes to propping up the Maduro regime?
SHIFTER: Well, that's a question that's quite controversial, and there are lots of people on different sides of that question.
I think, clearly, they started by providing medical help and social help and sending Cuban doctors to Venezuela during Hugo Chavez. And there clearly is support now for some intelligence services and security for -- to prop up and support the Maduro regime.
The Cubans need Maduro. Maduro still gives oil to Cuba; and without the Venezuelan support, Cuba's economy would completely collapse. So there's a strong dependency there.
And I think that what Trump is trying to do by threatening -- President Trump is threatening Cuba, obviously hasn't worked. It hasn't worked for six decades. And I don't think there's any chance that the Cubans will back off supporting Maduro in the face of such threats. It clearly has been demonstrated over a period of time that that does not work. It does not change Cuban behavior.
VAUSE: Michael, we're out of time. We'll leave it there. But we appreciate you being with us. Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue there in Washington.
Thank you, sir, appreciate it.
SHIFTER: Thank you very much.
VAUSE: Well, troops on the ground and long-standing ties to Nicholas Maduro, Russia has made a significant investment in the future of Venezuela. Our man in Moscow reporting this story is Fred Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Moscow, one of the strongest supporters of the Maduro government, reacting very strongly to the events unfolding in Venezuela.
Now the Russian foreign ministry reacted to some of the comments coming from John Bolton, the U.S. National security adviser. Him, of course, calling for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down immediately.
Now the spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, she texted CNN, saying that she called that both illegal under international law and also against common sense.
The Russians, of course, have longstanding ties to the Maduro government, militarily; economically, as well. But especially militarily. One of the things that the Russians have acknowledged is that they do have troops on the ground in Venezuela.
Now the Russians claim that those troops are only technical personnel. A lot of them there for maintenance for some of the weapons systems that the Maduro government has acquired from the Russian federation. Some of them, apparently, also trainers to train Venezuelan personnel how to use those weapons systems.
The Russians are saying that the forces that they have on the ground will absolutely not get involved in the situation that is unfolding in Venezuela right now.
We do know that the Russian government was briefed at the highest levels. The spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, coming out on Tuesday and saying that Vladimir Putin had been briefed in a national security council meeting here in Russia and that the whole complex of what's going on in Venezuela took up a large portion of that time.
Now the Russians, for their part, seem to be squarely laying blame on the Venezuelan opposition for what's going on in Venezuela. They say that what the opposition is doing there is inciting violence.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: Still to come, a guilty verdict in a police shooting which outraged an entire American city.
Also ahead, Paris bracing for a day of violence.
[00:41:22] VAUSE: A former Minneapolis police officer has been found guilty of murder in a very controversial shooting death.
Mohamed Noor killed Justine Ruszczyk in 2017. She just called police to report a possible crime in progress behind her home. As a squad car arrived, she was shot and killed.
Outrage over the case led to the police chief's resignation and is linked to the mayor's defeat in an election months after that.
Noor is set to be sentenced next month.
Some businesses and shops in Paris are taking precautions this May Day, like boarding up store fronts as the city braces for potential violence. May 1 is Labor Day, a traditional time of protests in the French
capital. Paris police warn that riots are possible.
Members of the Yellow Vest Movement and those from the so-called Black Blocks could actually be joining forces.
More than 7,000 police and security workers will be deployed in the capital.
Now in the U.K., WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange scheduled to appear in a London court in the coming hours. He'll be sentenced for skipping bail while seeking political asylum. He has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost 7 years, until a dramatic eviction last month.
Assange also scheduled to appear in court on Thursday to determine if he can be extradited to the U.S. to face computer hacking charges. He's accused of helping a former Army intelligence specialist crack a password on a U.S. Defense Department computer to access a network of classified government documents.
With that, we'll say good-bye. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. WORLD SPORT is next. You're watching CNN.
[00:44:38] (WORLD SPORT)
[00:57:12] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[00:59:59] VAUSE: Hello, everybody. I'm John Vause. Wherever you are around the world, thank you for joining us to CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, was it a swing and a miss by Venezuela's opposition leader? The embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, appeared on national television.