Venezuelan diplomat Carlos Vecchio is an ambassador without an embassy. Vecchio is part of the diplomatic corps representing Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim president of Venezuela.
It's not an easy gig for Vecchio. Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro closed down his country's Washington embassy in January.
So, Vecchio is working in borrowed office space. While he waits to get the keys to the embassy, he told The World's Marco Werman that he and his collegues are trying to get control of other Venezuelan assests for Guaidó's administration.
Carlos Vecchio: Bank accounts, we need to protect that. Gold reserves, we need to protect that and also public companies or corporations such as Citgo. We need to protect that as well. So that's what we are doing.
Yes, absolutely. I mean, they have destroyed all that we have.
We have assets that belong to the republic. I represent the republic and [am] working on that. And also we have public entities, which are under a legal structure that we need to comply with certain regulations in each country. And we need to do that. So, we are the new government. We need to take control of those assets, to preserve them for the reconstruction of Venezuela and to help the Venezuelan people, to stop our suffering.
That amnesty law does not include crime against humanity and people who have killed Venezuelans on the street in the recent protests and demonstrations. Okay? And we are just giving these to the officers who will help us to restore democracy. What we want is to push harder in order to facilitate a smooth transition in Venezuela.
For me, it's an honor being there. This is a recognition of the courage of our people who have been fighting in Venezuela to recover our democracy. And I'm expecting that he will ratify what he has said publicly. He stands with the Venezuelan people in order to recover our democracy. And this is not a fight between the United States and the Maduro regime. This is a fight between the free world and the dictatorship of Maduro, which is controlled by Cuba.
We haven't discussed that. I hope we don't get to that point. I hope we can just resolve this peacefully.
Cuba is in Venezuela. Cuba is [making decisions about] Venezuela jointly with Maduro. And we need to liberate Venezuela — not only from the dictatorship of Maduro — but also from the Cuban regime.
I think maybe both. I mean, at the end of the day the people [of Venezuela] are with us and also we want the military force to back the new president of Venezuela, the interim president of Venezuela.
I had just a few. I used to have many family members, you know, close to the Chavisma, to put it in some way. But not anymore.
Just I want to keep their relationship with them. We don't discuss about politics. OK. And I think they realize that the situation cannot continue as it is in Venezuela. Twenty-three days before, nobody knew in our country, who was Guaidó. Now he's the most popular person in Venezuela.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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