Information operations · Information Warfare · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (1)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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No major surprises with the unraveling of the Venezuelan petro-dollar socialist regime. Russia’s intervention using a reported 400 Wagner PMC mercenaries, many reported to be hired Cuban military, is unlikely to significantly alter the process of regime dissolution. The Russian agenda, other than spiting DC and Latin American nations, is getting the considerable debt owed to Russia paid back. Given that any post-Chavez/Maduro government is unlikely to want to have any dealings with Muscovy, this is a classic case of the Chekist regime throwing good money after bad, as they have done with most of their more recent foreign interventions.

Yet another instance of wishful thinking in Muscovy, imagining that keeping the broken regime alive will realize a return on investment. In the long run the blowback will hurt both Russia and Cuba, and the debt will remain unpaid.

Mike Pompeo denounces Russia, China over support for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sharp rebuke of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro’s international backers on Saturday in a United Nations Security Council meeting that afforded a face-off with Russian and Chinese envoys.

US calls on countries to ‘pick a side’ in Venezuela crisis | News | Al Jazeera

Russia accuses US of orchestrating a ‘coup’ attempt, as US secretary of state urges support for opposition leader.

Russia fails to stop U.N. Security Council meeting on Venezuela | Reuters

Russia failed on Saturday to stop a U.N. Security Council meeting on Venezuela that was requested by the United States after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American nation’s head of state and urged President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

EU nations give Venezuela’s Maduro eight-day ultimatum | News | Al Jazeera

Spain, France, Germany and the UK to recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s president unless Maduro calls elections.

UAWire – Kremlin accuses the United States of attempting to introduce direct control in Venezuela

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the decision of the US Department of State to appoint a person responsible for the situation in Venezuela. Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that this was an attempt by Washington to introduce direct control in Venezuela. “This is Washington’s attempt to introduce direct control of the political situation in Venezuela, which the American establishment regards as its future regional vassal. In Iraq, democracy was “restored,” in Libya, too, in Syria they could not, or rather, they were not given a chance. Now Venezuela,” Zakharova wrote on Facebook. During mass protests in Venezuela against the President Nicolas Maduro, opposition leader Juan Guaydo declared himself acting president. The United States and some other countries supported him. Maduro accused Washington of attempting a coup and announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the United States. Some American diplomats have already left Caracas.

Russia Offers Support To Embattled Venezuelan Leader, Condemns Bid To ‘Usurp Power’

Russian President Vladimir Putin “expressed support” to his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, in a telephone call, after an opposition leader declared himself interim leader of the South American country.

Reports: Russian Military Contractors Operating In Venezuela

Reuters is reporting that private military contractors working on behalf of Russia are in Venezuela to help embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro strengthen security amid opposition protests…

UAWire – Russia warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if US sends troops to Venezuela

The US can expect “catastrophic consequences” if Washington opts for military intervention in the Venezuelan political crisis, Russia’s Foreign …

Russia deploys mercenaries to Venezuela – Defence Blog

Russia has secretly deployed about 400 elite mercenaries or military contractors to Venezuela, according to Russia’s news agency quoted the head of the Committee of the All-Russian Officers’ Assembly, Yevgeny Shabaev on 25 January as saying that military contractors were urgently deploy to Venezuela. “On the evening of January 21, a certain group of men were instructed to quickly recruit a group. They carried out orders from private military companies, ”explained Shabayev. According to him, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro fears betrayal and therefore it was necessary to replace his personal protection with loyal people, which was done. After recruitment, the group was sent by two charter flights to Havana, the capital of Cuba. From there, one of the mercenaries called and said that they had been deployed to Caracas. The contractors arrived in Venezuela on Tuesday, January 22, Shabayev said. He also noted that that the sent mercenaries are not associated with the Russian private military company Wagner (a mercenary outfit highly active in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts) and restaurateur Yevgeny Prigogine, who is considered its leader. Russia’s Defense Ministry and Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not respond to requests for comment about the contractors. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We have no such information.” Early some media were reported that Russian private military contractors flew into Venezuela in the past few days to beef up security for President Nicolas Maduro in the face of US-backed opposition protests, according to two people close to them. Russia, which has backed Maduro’s socialist government to the tune of billions of dollars, this week promised to stand by him after the opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president with Washington’s endorsement. It was the latest international crisis to split the global superpowers, with the United States and Europe backing Guaido, and Russia and China urging noninterference. Also was reported that Russian private military contractors taken part forcibly disperse anti-government demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan.

Contractors of Russia’s PMC Wagner beef up security for Venezuela’s Maduro – media – news world | UNIAN

Private military contractors of the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner have arrived in Venezuela to beef up security for of President Nicolas Maduro amid protests. Up to 400 contractors are reportedly in Venezuela now.

Trump leaves ‘military option’ on the table for Venezuela, which he calls as threatening as North Korea | Business Insider

President Donald Trump spent much of his first year in office focused on North Korea and Iran, seeking to counter the threats his administration believed they posed to the US.

Elliott Abrams, prominent D.C. neocon, named special envoy for Venezuela – POLITICO

The appointment was announced Friday as the South American nation faces a leadership crisis.

US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela | US news | The Guardian

Elliott Abrams, who was linked to failed coup against Chávez, to join Pompeo to urge security council to recognize Guaidó as head

Trump administration weighs oil embargo on Venezuela to oust Maduro

The Trump administration, fed up with the authoritarian government in Venezuela, could soon play its last hand and block imports of the country’s oil, a move that would upset Gulf Coast refiners and pressure energy markets.

Why Venezuela, Russia, And The US Are Having A War Of Words – To Inform is to Influence

On 20 May 2018, Venezuela held a much delayed Presidential election. Much of the countries of the world and international organization rejected the election for gross irregularities. The point of contention is the U.S. recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker, as president over Nicolás Maduro, which is being labeled by…

Venezuela’s top military diplomat in U.S.: Guaidó is president | Miami Herald

Col. José Luis Silva, the highest ranking military diplomat at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., broke with the Nicolás Maduro regime and urged others to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president.

Venezuela’s Finest Hour: Guaido, Trump And the West Can’t Afford to Lose | Opinion

This is the best shot Venezuela had at democracy for a generation—and the U.S. can’t afford to sit this one out.

What’s next for Venezuela — and for Washington | TheHill

For now, the US should act forcefully in political and diplomatic spheres to dislodge Maduro, and then lead in rebuilding the country.

On Venezuela, Rubio Assumes U.S. Role of Ouster in Chief – The New York Times

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, has become a chief policy architect for the United States in a daring and risky campaign to dislodge Venezuela’s autocratic leader from power.

Bolsonaro pressures Venezuelan leader with vow to ‘re-establish democracy’ | World news | The Guardian

Brazilian president said he will do ‘everything for democracy’ in a video message as his son called Nicolás Maduro a ‘cancer’

Trump’s aggressive moves on Venezuela set up potential foreign policy victory — and a political win at home – The Washington Post

The issue is especially potent in Florida, a must-win state for the president’s 2020 reelection effort.

Regional powers recognise Maduro opponent as interim president | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera

US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, among others recognise Juan Guaido as country’s interim president.

Maduro defiant as Venezuelan opposition leader declares himself acting president – CNN

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday gave US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country in response to the head of the National Assembly declaring himself acting president amid massive anti-government protests.

Venezuela backtracks on expulsion of US diplomats | Fox News

Venezuela’s government has backtracked on an order that gave U.S. Embassy personnel 72 hours to leave the country.

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro gives American diplomats 72 hours to leave

The news comes after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s interim president.

Maduro to revise US diplomatic ties after Pence backs protesters | News | Al Jazeera

Venezuela’s Maduro accuses US of trying to force a coup after Mike Pence sends video message of support to opposition.

Pence Tells Venezuelans That U.S. Backs Efforts to Oust Maduro – The New York Times

“We stand with you,” Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter a day before planned mass protests.

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Declares Himself President, With Trump Backing – Foreign Policy

National Assembly President Juan Guaidó promptly won the support of the U.S. and other countries. But will the military throw its weight behind him or Nicolás Maduro?

Venezuela, America Stands With You – WSJ

It’s a humanitarian and economic crisis, but also a matter of regional security.

Venezuelan government quashes military uprising – CNN

Venezuela faced more turmoil on Monday when a small team of soldiers, claiming to be members of Venezuela’s armed forces, attempted an uprising against the government of President Nicolas Maduro and triggered violent street protests in Caracas.

Venezuela’s National Guard refuses to recognise Maduro’s government – YouTube

Daily Mail Published on Jan 21, 2019 The military officials stole arms from a National Guard outpost after a sergeant had called for the removal of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Hours later, security forces fired tear gas against protesters in a poor neighbourhood just two miles from Venezuela’s presidential palace. The disturbance early on Monday started after a group of men dressed in military fatigues and carrying assault weapons published a series of videos on social media saying they won’t recognise Maduro’s government. In one of the videos, a man identifying himself as third Sergeant Figueroa, addressing the ‘people of Venezuela,’ urges his compatriots to take to the streets to show support for their rebellion.

Venezuela Maduro: $1.2B gold withdrawal blocked by Bank of England – report – CNN

The Bank of England has blocked Nicolas Maduro’s officials from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold, Bloomberg reported, dealing a further blow to the embattled Venezuelan President as he tries to salvage his authority.

Venezuela: $1.2 Billion in Gold Stuck in Bank of England – Bloomberg

Nicolas Maduro’s embattled Venezuelan regime, desperate to hold onto the dwindling cash pile it has abroad, was stymied in its bid to pull $1.2 billion worth of gold out of the Bank of England, according to people familiar with the matter.

About 500 people detained in Venezuela protests – news world | UNIAN

The number of opposition supporters detained in the protests in Venezuela has reached 500 people. The arrests of opposition supporters and “people’s president” Juan Guaido is underway.

Who is Nicolás Maduro’s biggest ally? You, the American driver. – The Washington Post

This isn’t about Trump, or U.S. imperialism. There’s no hands-off U.S. approach to a dictatorship that runs on the money you give it.

In wading into Venezuela’s oil-drenched diplomatic quagmire, Washington must proceed with caution

Venezuela is not merely a story of domestic economic problems, but of diplomatic entanglements.

In Venezuela, socialism has succeeded the way it always does

A writer for the leftist Nation magazine opined in 2013, “Yes, the Venezuelan president could be a strongman,” upon the Venezuelan dictator’s death. “But he leaves behind what might be called the most democratic country in the Western Hemisphere.”

Opinion | Yes, Venezuela Is a Socialist Catastrophe – The New York Times

In the age of A.O.C., the lesson must be learned again.

With Spies and Other Operatives, a Nation Looms Over Venezuela’s Crisis: Cuba – The New York Times

The island nation has provided intelligence support to Venezuela for years, helping President Nicolás Maduro suppress dissent in the military and across society.

UAWire – Russia to grant Cuba 2 billion euro for infrastructure projects

Russia has agreed to help Cuba modernize the railway network. The total cost of the project, which will be carried out with loan money and will amount to 2 billion euro, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told TASS. Borisov said that the implementation of the project will take seven years and it will play a key role in the economy of Cuba”. “We agreed to break it down into two phases, optimize required loan resources, and we will begin specific work on the project soon,” he said. In addition, Moscow and Havana agreed to develop a program to improve the energy efficiency of the Cuban infrastructure, which, according to the deputy prime minister, will be aimed at preventing the repetition of the Venezuelan scenario in Cuba. “The goal of this program is to avoid dependency on oil supplies. This is connected, among other things, with hedging the risks of the events that are now taking place in Venezuela,” Borisov said.