Failed Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó lands new gig as visiting prof at Florida International U

After leading a failed military coup, a failed mercenary invasion of his country, and a non-existent presidency, Juan Guaidó gets his golden parachute at an intelligence-adjacent US university.

This article was originally published by Jeremy Kuzmarov in Covert Action Magazine.

Florida International University has appointed Juan Guaidó, a Venezuelan coup leader created in the U.S. regime-change laboratory, as a visiting professor.

An engineer by training, Guaidó’s appointment is at the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom, which FIU describes as a “world-class, independent, non-partisan think tank” with a mission “to advance economic and individual freedom and human prosperity.”

During the fall semester, Guaidó will conduct eight study group sessions, in addition to mentoring students, conducting research and being part of public conferences and seminars.

He will be paid $40,000, FIU said.

This compensation is more than FIU adjunct professors get who are far more qualified to teach FIU students than Guaidó, as they often hold Master’s and in most cases Ph.D. degrees in their field.

Guaido arrives in Miami from Colombia this April 2023

Guaidó’s main specialty is in inciting societal divisions and plotting failed uprisings against Venezuelan socialist leader Nicolás Maduro.

According to Luis Vicente León, Venezuela’s leading pollster, Guaidó spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela’s most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another.

León wrote that “these radical leaders [referring to Guaidó and his mentor Leopoldo López] have no more than 20 percent in opinion polls.” Guaidó’s party remained isolated because the majority of the population “does not want war.”

Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López at the barricades.

Despite his lack of popular support in Venezuela, with fewer than one in five Venezuelans even knowing who he was at the time, Guaidó was recognized by the Trump administration in 2019 as Venezuela’s president.

Worshipped for a time in Western media in a manner reminiscent of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Guaidó’s stock fell when some of his supporters were captured and killed after launching an amateurish raid into Venezuela from Colombia in an attempt to overthrow Maduro that was dubbed the “stupid Bay of Pigs,” a reference to the failed CIA-backed invasion of Cuba in 1961.

Guaidó’s representatives in Colombia were also caught embezzling $125,000 meant for humanitarian aid, and Guaidó was indicted by Venezuela’s Attorney General last week, accused of stealing the resources of the state owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) for his own benefit, costing taxpayers $19 billion.

Guaidó has meanwhile advocated for sanctions that led to the deaths of thousands of his own countrymen.

As the standard bearer of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, Maduro has sustained popular support despite making some mistakes, winning the 2018 election with 6.2 million votes (67.7%) compared to challenger Henri Falcón’s 1.9 million (21%).

Jimmy Carter called the technical aspects of Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world.”

Launched by Hugo Chávez, a socialist who ruled Venezuela from 1998 until his death in 2013, the Bolivarian revolution had sought to establish Venezuela’s economic independence through national control over the country’s oil, whose revenues were used to develop the economy and uplift the poor.

Throughout much of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by an oligarchy, which monopolized the country’s oil wealth and allowed it to be exploited by U.S. based multinational corporations.

By 2013, when Chávez died of cancer, poverty and inequality had been reduced substantially, literacy had increased, and Venezuela’s UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of national income (GDP), access to education, and child mortality, rose from seventh in the region to fourth.

U.S. hostility to Venezuela’s government and support for right-wingers like Guaidó stems from the threat of a good example and fear of the loss of traditional U.S. hegemony in Latin America that dates back to the 19th century.

As a de facto puppet of the U.S, Guaidó advocated for privatizing PDVSA, lowering the corporate tax rate, and defunding social programs that greatly improved the quality of life for Venezuelans, while reintegrating Venezuela with Washington dominated financial institutions.

Creation of U.S. Regime-Change Laboratory

In January 2019, Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen published an important article for The Grayzone entitled: “The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the U.S. regime-change laboratory created Venezuela’s coup leader.” It examined Guaidó’s incitement of violent anti-Maduro protests and his deep ties to U.S. intelligence and government agencies.

Blumenthal and Cohen wrote that “alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power.”

In 2002, a young Guaidó helped lead anti-government rallies after the Venezuelan government declined to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), a privately owned station that played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez.

Anti-government rallies in Caracas in 2002 were part of a coup plot against Hugo Chávez.

Five years later, after graduating from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas, Guaidó moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists.

Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez.

In 2009, after returning to Venezuela, Guaidó formed a new right-wing political party led by Leopoldo López, a Princeton-educated former mayor of a wealthy district in Caracas who was part of one of the three families that tried to orchestrate a coup against Chávez in 2002 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for inciting uprisings against Maduro in 2014.

In November 2010, Guaidó attended a secret five-day training at a hotel in Mexico run by Otpor; Belgrade-based regime-change operatives backed by the U.S. government who had helped overthrow Slobodan Milošević’s socialist government after the Clinton administration’s bombing of Serbia.

The hotel meeting reportedly received the blessing of Otto Reich, a fanatically anti-Castro Cuban exile working in George W. Bush’s Department of State and were financed by three petroleum industry figureheads.

Inside the meetings, leaked emails stated that Guaidó and his fellow activists hatched a plan to overthrow Hugo Chávez by generating chaos through protracted spasms of street violence.

Four years later, Guaidó tweeted a video showing himself clad in a helmet and gas mask surrounded by masked armed elements that engaged in a violent clash with police. This was during the so-called Guarimbas protests that resulted in the death of 126 people, majority of them Chavistas, and mass destruction of public infrastructure.

At one point during the uprising, Guaidó took to the stage with Leopoldo López to urge the crowd to march on the office of the Attorney General.

Guaidó alongside Lopez at February 12, 2014 Guarimba rally. Lopez was later sentenced to 13 years in prison for inciting the violent uprising, though has since been feted by the NED, which described him as a great democrat and “prisoner of conscience.”

Guaidó alongside Lopez at February 12, 2014 Guarimba rally. Lopez was later sentenced to 13 years in prison for inciting the violent uprising, though has since been feted by the NED, which described him as a great democrat and “prisoner of conscience.”

The Proud Boys and other alleged instigators of the January 6 Capitol Riots were given long prison sentences for sedition for far less incendiary provocations (some of the Proud Boys convicted on sedition charges weren’t even in Washington on the day of the January 6 riots).

In a televised appearance in 2016, Guaidó dismissed deaths resulting from guayas—a guarimba tactic involving stretching steel wire across a roadway in order to injure or kill motorcyclists—as a “myth.” His comments, according to Cohen and Blumenthal, “whitewashed a deadly tactic that had killed unarmed civilians like Santiago Pedroza and decapitated a man named Elvis Durán, among many others.”

Family members of Guarimba victims display photos of loved ones that were killed.

What will Guaidó teach students at FIU?

Students taking Guaidó’s seminar at FIU this semester are likely oblivious to the violent past of their new professor, or his fanatical right-wing views or use as a tool of the U.S. regime-change establishment.

Publicly, Guaidó has thanked FIU for offering “a new stage and an opportunity to talk about the challenges of defending democracy, resisting a dictatorship and accompanying the most vulnerable.”

Venezuela, however, is not a dictatorship as its government has won popular elections, and Guaidó was not defending democracy when he plotted coups and the destabilization of his own country in alliance with fascistic extremists.

The Pentagon’s ties to the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom are evident in that its founding director, Carlos Díaz-Rosillo, was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs as well as a policy adviser to Donald Trump.

The Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom’s Board of advisers include: a) Paula Dobriansky, a neoconservative State Department official and member of the Board of Directors of the NED who is the daughter of Ukrainian Nazi; b) David Webb, a founder of the Tea Party in New York; and c) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former congresswoman from Florida who was also an NED Board member and part of the Miami anti-Castro Cuban mafia.

In the Spring, the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom named former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010) as a fellow. A right-wing idealogue and favorite of the U.S. like Guaidó, Uribe Vélez presided over large scale killings of left wing guerrillas, was accused of creating illegal paramilitary death squads, and was listed in a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report as a Medellin drug cartel collaborator.

Uribe Vélez and Guaidó’s appointment to prestigious positions reflects the moral corruption of higher education today and its function in supporting U.S. imperialism.

CovertAction Magazine has recently reported on Columbia University’s appointment of an arguable war criminal to its faculty, Hillary Clinton, who served as Secretary of State in an administration that pushed for regime change in Venezuela among other countries; and Harvard University’s support for a journal funded by the CIA-linked Ford Foundation that promotes misinformation under the guise of combatting it.

Another article focused on the military use of college campuses for developing and testing new weapons systems.

All of these cases exemplify the betrayal of the academic mission of institutions whose primary purpose should be to provoke critical thinking among students and to cultivate new ideas for the betterment of society.

The latter becomes impossible when students are being instructed by violent thugs, narco-traffickers, state propagandists and war mongers along with conservative ideologues whose life mission is to expunge the humanistic ideals associated with socialism.