this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. without a deal. we are live from westminster, where british mps have once more though in law, a no—deal brexit defeated the government at the end of march still remains the default, unless parliament actually approves an agreement. on thursday, they'll vote in a vote over brexit. on whether to request a delay to the brexit process. the prime minister has warned any extension could be a long one. they've rejected the idea of leaving the eu without a deal at the end boeing has temporarily of march or at any time. grounded its entire global fleet now they'll vote on whether they of 737 max aircraft. the us federal aviation administration says the decision want to extend the process. was prompted by new evidence boeing decides to ground its global from two recent fatal crashes. 737 max fleet after new evidence about the crash in ethiopia is uncovered. will the soldiers involved in the bloody sunday shootings the trial over the killing in 1972 be prosecuted ? we'll find out in of the half—brother of north korea's leader kimjong—un has been postponed until april 1. the next few hours. the defence requested the delay in hearing testimony from the sole coming up in the business briefing, remaining defendant, the pound surges as britain's who is vietnamese. doan thi huong was seen on security parliament rejects a no—deal brexit. video putting her hands over the face of kim jong—nam, then rushing to an airport bathroom.
you up—to—date on the headlines. now on bbc news, hardtalk. —— are. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. for millions of venezuelans, every day is a struggle for survival. this is an oil—rich country where the shops are empty, the power is out, and healthca re is collapsing. and politics offers little hope of salvation. the maduro government is clinging to the trappings of power, while the country's other self—proclaimed president, juan guaido, leads mass protests against him. my my guest is one of guaido‘s key allies in the venezuelan parliament, juan andres mejia. is there a way out of venezuela's protracted agony?
juan andres mejia in caracas, welcome to hardtalk. thank you, it isa welcome to hardtalk. thank you, it is a pleasure to be here. we have a big time delay on this line, but my first question is a pretty simple one. your party colleague and associate juan guaido one. your party colleague and associatejuan guaido proclaimed himself to be president of venezuela onjanuary himself to be president of venezuela on january 23. ever since himself to be president of venezuela onjanuary 23. ever since then, conditions of the venezuelan people have gotte n conditions of the venezuelan people have gotten worse. do you feel a sense of responsibility for deepening venezuela's chaos? not at all. venezuela's political, economic
and social crisis started many years ago and what we have seen in the last few months, it is basically the same we saw last year but even worse. what is happening in venezuela is we have someone in power, nicolas maduro, who does not ca re power, nicolas maduro, who does not care about the well—being of venezuelans, who care about the well—being of venezuela ns, who does care about the well—being of venezuelans, who does not care about the health and well—being as well. all he cares about is staying in power, maintaining his privileges, and he does not care how the rest of the country does at this time. but in practical terms, how could you expect the declaration of your man, juan guaido, as a rival president, with all of the questions and chaos that that raises, how could you expect that to do anything but the situation even more horrible for ordinary venezuelan people?
well, it is very important to understand, stephen, that this crisis started many years ago. most of the regions in venezuela do not have power, do not have electricity many times a week, many times a day. it is caracas for the first time thatis it is caracas for the first time that is feeling the worst of it. juan guaido did not proclaim himself as president, according to article two to three of our constitution, he became president after not having a legitimate one elected. —— 223. juan guaido has the support not only of the national assembly, which represents 1a million venezuelans, but he has also the support of more than 60 nations worldwide. he has offered the venezuelans humanitarian aid, which could help lift them through this crisis. however, the security forces controlled by nicolas maduro have prevented that aid from entering the country. but in practical terms, i am just struggling to see what the last seven weeks or $0
struggling to see what the last seven weeks or so have actually achieved because yes, you havejuan guaido who claims to be the leader of your country but in all practical terms, in terms of control of borders, territory, infrastructure, the government is still led by nicolas maduro. so when you go outside that studio and talk to ordinary venezuelans who are struggling to find food, you have no healthcare, you struggling to find food, you have no healthca re, you probably struggling to find food, you have no healthcare, you probably do not have a job healthcare, you probably do not have ajob and healthcare, you probably do not have a job and sometimes do not even have electricity, how can you tell them that the last seven weeks and the fa ct that the last seven weeks and the fact that juan that the last seven weeks and the fact thatjuan guaido claims the presidency have made any positive difference to their lives? well, i think most venezuelans at this point understand that the solution to this crisis is to have a new government in the presidential palace. i think most venezuelans know that while nicolas maduro is still in power, things are still going to get worse by the day and that is what we have seen by the day and that is what we have seen at this point. we have scarcity of food, we have hyperinflation, we
have scarcity of basic goods, scarcity of water, electricity, that has been happening for while now. so we understand that the problem in venezuela is that we have had a government that had a tremendous amount of money, no government before had as much money as this one, but corruption, mismanagement has allowed for this crisis to happen. so venezuelans, i think, understand the final solution for oui’ understand the final solution for our crisis is to have free and fair elections and that is what we're looking for. be honest with me, did you and mr guaido and others, particularly in your party, the popular will party, did you think that you are going to ferment a crisis on january 23 which that you are going to ferment a crisis onjanuary 23 which would force maduro out of power very quickly? it seems to me maybe miscalculated his to stay and fight. it is true that we have tried everything we can within the constitution to have a new government, to have at least the possibility to have a change in
venezuela. we have tried to protest, we have tried to go to elections, but all political parties have been banned, have been made illegal, all candidates have been imprisoned or banned from running. we have tried to ask for the international community to put all the support and all the pressure possible for regime change, but it has not happened. it has not happened not because it does not have the support, juan guaido has the support of most venezuelans. the problem is maduro is surrounded bya group the problem is maduro is surrounded by a group of military who hold the power and that, worldwide, it is known as a dictatorship. venezuela is living to a dictatorship controlled by nicolas maduro, led by nicolas maduro, that is why we have had so much trouble in bringing about change. well, we will get the role the military a little bit later but when you say to me no question, juan guaido has the support of venezuelan people, there is a real issue here. you acted, you and
guaido and others onjanuary 23 incredibly hastily. it seems mulder the reporting i have read that many other mainstream politicians in the opposition and the democratic action party, in the justice first party, they did not even know that mr guaido was going to declare himself president. it seems guaido had been talking to the trump administration much more than he had been talking to colleagues in the venezuelan opposition and maybe that is one of his fundamental weaknesses. stephen, it is important to remind people that are listening to us about now that are listening to us about now that we have the support not only of the united states, but of most latin american countries. we had the support of ecuador, of colombia, brazil, argentina, chile, paraguay, most latin american countries understand we're going to a dictatorship, that we have tried everything we can and the venezuelan people are desperate. you have to remind our audience that minimum wage in venezuela, it is $5 a month.
there is nothing you can do without. we have the support of people, i know it is a fact. one of the vetera n know it is a fact. one of the veteran leaders of the opposition in venezuela warned guaido not to use the people of the country as quote, cannon fodder, and i also noticed that many people have noted that your party leader, lopez, who is said to be the man behind mr guaido, in the past, in 2014 particularly, he led mass movements, protest movements in venezuela which ultimately failed because they did not have a long—term strategy and maybe that is the situation today. well, i think what we have been doing for the last three or four yea rs has doing for the last three or four years has been correct. venezuelans are dying huge amounts, not only because of political violence but because of political violence but because of political violence but because of violence itself. caracas is one of the most dangerous cities
in the world, there is close to 20,000 people that die in venezuela because of crime. we die because we do not have the medicine we need, the food we need, so venezuelans are dying nevertheless, the political u nrest dying nevertheless, the political unrest there is. so we do not want any more venezuela ns unrest there is. so we do not want any more venezuelans to suffer we're trying to do everything within our power. i would ask the audience, what else can we do in a situation like the one we are in right now? but i do want to correct in a sense that we do have the support of the entire opposition. all the leadership that has been there has been supporting guaido, has been supporting his action and there is a unity within the opposition in the strategy we have been implementing in the last two months. strategy we have been implementing in the last two monthslj strategy we have been implementing in the last two months. i come back to my question about your relationship with the americans. it is very notable that in the run—up to the dramatic declaration on january 23, the people that guaido seemed to be talking to most are in the white house, in particular
conversation with mike pence, the vice president, which appeared to give him the green light to go ahead with the declaration and since then, we have seen that marco rubio, the senator from florida is we have seen that marco rubio, the senatorfrom florida is extremely close to both mr guaido, but also to lopez and mr lopez's wife as well. there does seem to be closeness between this movement and the united states government, which worries some people, maybe a lot of people in your own country. well, stephen, it is true that we have had the support of the united states government, and that does not mean we agree with everything mr trump has done everywhere, but we do have to recognise that he has been helpful in working out through this crisis. it has not been only him, the european community has also recognised guaido as the legitimate president. so i think what we're
trying to do here is to get all the support we can from everywhere we can in order to solve this situation, and there is something very important for people to understand, the best solution for oui’ understand, the best solution for our country will be new, free and fair elections and we could get there there were negotiation. we have been talking about this, we have been talking about this, we have been talking about this, we have been trying to make this happen, however, it has been impossible. nicolas maduro has marked the opposition every single time we have tried this, so basically our hands are tied and we think the international community, we think —— think the latin americans that have supported our cause. “— americans that have supported our cause. —— think the international community. more than 3 million people have fled the country in the past few years, so it is really an unprecedented crisis here in venezuela and in latin america and it is the first time you have seen these numbers of people starving, with people fleeing the country not because of a natural disaster, not because of a natural disaster, not because of a natural disaster, not because of the civil war but because
ofa because of the civil war but because of a corrupt and mismanaged government. we know the humanitarian crisis gets worse day by day. in that context, how do you feel about the trump administration putting sanctions on venezuela, particularly the oil sector, which will cost venezuela, according to john the oil sector, which will cost venezuela, according tojohn bolton, trump's national security adviser, 11 billion us dollars a year, it will completely cripple and destroy what remains of the venezuelan economy. how do you feel about that? hello well, it is not fair to say that the decline in oil production is the consequence of sanctions. venezuela's oil industry is doing really badly since 2014, well before sanctions ever came into place. venezuela's oil production rank was around three or more than 3 million barrels and today, even before
sanctions, we were around 1 million, so sanctions, we were around 1 million, so what that means is that... yeah, this is a really, really important question. i'm not discussing with you whether there are huge problems in the venezuelan oil industry anyway, i'm just asking you have a plain question. united states believes that its new sanctions, which are about to really bite your country, will cost venezuelan $11 billion us a year, money which the us says it will keep and will try to funnel to you in the opposition in some way 01’ funnel to you in the opposition in some way or other. in the short run, it is going to hammer the venezuelan economy and i want you to tell me how you feel about that, comfortable or not? hello well, ifeel the real issue in venezuela, the real situation is that this government, led by nicolas maduro, has not been using the venezuelan oil money to help out venezuelans. they have been using this money to violate human
rights, to rob the venezuelan people, and to enrich themselves. you have seen people, and to enrich themselves. you have seen cases people, and to enrich themselves. you have seen cases of former officials with huge amounts of money everywhere in the world, so i do not think the money that should go to the government of nicolas maduro was going to be used anyway to help the venezuelan people. what we're doing in the other places actually giving the possibility to have humanitarian aid, which could actually get to those in need. we're all suffering, i have no power and electricity at this time in my house, afterfive days the blackout, and that has nothing to do with sanctions. that has to do with mismanagement and i think this pressure that we have implemented not only in the government specifically, in particular officials in the nicolas maduro regime are effective and other last resource we have because we have been murdered, imprisoned, and we have no more choice in venezuela.
if the sanctions go ahead as planned, they are going to cause new and intensive, almost unimaginable hardship inside your country. one former un report her says the suffering could amount to crimes against humanity. are you in the opposition prepared to see that level of suffering? i think we can all avoid that. if we understand what the venezuelans want is a new election and we can get there through a negotiation. i think we do not have to face this crisis. i want to avoid this crisis. i don't want to avoid this crisis. i don't want to live through this crisis because me and my family, we live in venezuela, so we're going to suffer as well. i don't want this to get any worse. i want this to be able to forward. however, those in power do
not listen. maduro and his allies everywhere do not care about the suffering because they do not suffer. they have all they need. they have power generators inside their houses, they have well they can get their water, they have all this security around them so they do not suffer. are you comfortable with the fact that the national security adviser in washington, bolton, has been meeting with senior executives from the american private oil sector, talking about future investments in the venezuelan oil industry. does that sit easily with you? i have not seen that news and i will see clearly that the future of the venezuelan oil industry and the future of venice whaler itself has to be determined by the venezuelans and no—one else. but venezuela. we
will determine how and who will invest. earlier you talked about the venezuelan minute that military and it seems the loyalty of the venezuelan military is the only thing preserving maduro's regime. why have they not deserted him?|j why have they not deserted him?” think it is fair. most of the military, middle ranks and lower ranks, do not approve over what they have been doing over the past few yea rs. have been doing over the past few years. remember on february 20 three, five members of the indigenous communities in the south of our country were killed and we know as a fact because we spoke with those who left the country that they do not approve of this. they are not the ones actually killing the innocent protesters, they are being infiltrated by regular crime,
regular thugs, put in place and dressed as military for them to commit these crimes. i'm sure that the feeling we saw in the border states where hundreds of military left the army, it's everywhere, but the difference is that it is very easy for those in the border to have left the country but those in other regions obviously have a lot of obstacles regions obviously have a lot of o bsta cles to regions obviously have a lot of obstacles to overcome to be able to do the same but i'm sure that the feeling of discomfort, the feeling we saw on the border when all of those military men left, has spread throughout the entire country. let me quote an academic who studies venezuela. 0ne cueto's plan to remove maduro with the help of the military defecting from maduro's side was undermined because of an misjudgment about how the military
perceives the political opposition and just how resilient the decades—old civil military alliance in venezuela really is. so maybe there was a big misjudgment on your part? it is possible, of course. i'm not going to say we are perfect and that we do not make mistakes but i do not agree with that. i don't think the military are happy or satisfied with what they are going through that what we are going through. that is why they have a lot of fear. —— what we are going through. we have heard stories that the cubans are in fact at present inside the army, that they are being washed all the time. that the military is being watched all the day. that watched all the time. and that they are being threatened. —— watched all the time. he tells you something is not right, that there is something not true and there is a strong alliance between maduro and the army and on the other hand there
isa the army and on the other hand there is a lot of blackmail, pressure and fear within the military who is not able at this point to support the constitution and support the claim that we should have free and fair elections. let me ask you this. you have talked about your desire to see a peaceful transition of power in venezuela and talked about learning a lot from mandela and the south african model of peaceful transaction that transition. —— transition. when you say that and it goes back to your relationship between marco rubio and key players in the us, we see tweets depicting gadhafi and suggesting the same fate might await nicolas maduro. we see people in orange jumpsuits might await nicolas maduro. we see people in orangejumpsuits in guantanamo bay with suggestions seniorfigures in guantanamo bay with suggestions senior figures in venezuela
guantanamo bay with suggestions seniorfigures in venezuela might end up in guantanamo bay. how does that square your with desire to see a peaceful, respectful transition? we wa nt a peaceful, respectful transition? we want to transition where those in power at this point, where the movement can still do politics and still live through this transition period. we are democrats and understand that even if we have the majority of support of the venezuelan people, we need to acknowledge that there is a portion, acknowledge that there is a portion, a part, of the venezuelans, that still support maduro. let's say it is 15 or 25%, whatever, they still need the opportunity to do politics in the future. however, i do think that those who have committed crimes against human rights, those who have killed, those who have raped, have to have some kind of consequence because otherwise we will live through this again at some point. we need to learn from periods, not only in south africa, not only in chile, but hearing it venezuela. we had a
situation in 1958 where we were able to live through that transition, understanding that part of it means forgiving. part of it means accepting what happened and then being able to reconciliation, reunite the country. i think that is the best way forward but it seems at this point, at least maduro himself, is not willing to do that and that is not willing to do that and that is why we are appealing to those around him, the middle ranks of the government and the army, because we know the fact that there are people there who understand and have listened to our call. how long is it going to take? this has to be the final question. in your view, going to take? this has to be the final question. in yourview, how long will it take to get this regime out and a new politics in venezuela? i cannot say. i hope it is a very short period because need to turn things around, stephen. venice cannot —— venezuela cannot live like this. we have the resources, the people, all the opportunities to be
a great and prosperous country. we we re a great and prosperous country. we were at one time. while the entire region were living through dictatorships in the 70s and 80s, venezuela was an example of democracy. i think and i am sure that we can go back to where we were before and we can do much better than how we were before chavez. we need to understand that maduro and power is not viable. that maduro in power means more violations of human rights. more suffering. i hope the international community can keep supporting our cause. if they have any recommendation, we are more than open to hear their part and listen to them. i hope politicians in the uk and around the world who are to contribute to our cause, will be willing to come to venezuela and syria nullity for themselves so i hope i don't have to explain it to them. that see reality for
themselves. —— see reality. so we can move through this crisis. juan andres meija, i thank you very much indeed forjoining me from caracas. hello again. storm gareth brought us some very windy weather as it moved clear across northern europe. further west in the atlantic things are looking lively. it means over the next few days there is no end in sight for this run of windy weather
through thursday, friday, into the weekend as well before things calm down. 0ver weekend as well before things calm down. over the next few hours, quite breezy outside. thick cloud around and outbreaks of rain. quite heavy across parts of northern england and southern scotland. these are current temperatures you might encounter if you are heading outside. looking at the weather picture for thursday, no that low pressure is over—the—top. tightly packed isoba rs that low pressure is over—the—top. tightly packed isobars and a a cloudy, windy, wet start to the day. the worst of the rain will clear through and we will see bright weather for scotland, northern ireland and northern england on thursday. gusts of wind that could reach 30 or 40. that means the showers won't stay on any one place for any length of time. it will also knock the edge of these
temperatures. feeling cool. feeling chile across parts of scotland. through thursday evening and overnight, the showers continue on and off. cloud elsewhere with rain spreading in. temperature wise, a contrast on thursday night. nine or 10 celsius. 0n contrast on thursday night. nine or 10 celsius. on friday, another u nsettled 10 celsius. on friday, another unsettled —looking day. still with those west— south winds. cloud never far away. it might bring rain back into south—west england. again, plenty of showers and snow up over some of the high parts of scotland. the weekend weather shows no sign of settling down and indeed on saturday, a deep area of low pressure could come in, bringing a stormy spell. could have some snow. we could see localised surface water