Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (2)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

The situation on the ground includes a lot of bluff, bravado, and hurt feelings.  Accusations are being flung around, knee-jerk reactions appear common, and the picture is chaotic and diffused.  Some of the Russian propaganda below is simply insane.

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A veritable deluge of Russian propaganda in the English language media. Muscovy denies the deployment of Wagner PMC mercs in Venezuela, adding uncertainty as Muscovy most often produces falsehoods, making this a de facto confirmation. Or a bluff, as Muscovy is so fond of,  to create the illusion of capability where none exists.

The situation on the ground remains uncertain, no evidence as yet that the military is ready to shift its allegiance. Some reports claim the Venezuelan military is riddled with Cuban “advisers” to ensure loyalty. The Cuban “advisers” would be unlikely to defect if the regime starts to crumble and would likely have to be dealt with forcefully.

Russia’s ability to directly intervene with combat assets is almost non-existent, but it could facilitate a Cuban intervention force by providing airlift and sealift, the former an option that could be exercised quickly if the need arises. Russia has a robust fleet of Ilyushin Il-76 series CANDID airlifters and a residual fleet of Antonov An-124 CONDOR heavy airlifters. Cubans were the proxies of choice during numerous African interventions during the late Cold War.

‘US not just behind Venezuelan coup, it’s leading it’ – Foreign Minister to RT — RT World News

Venezuela is well aware the US is actually leading an effort to topple President Maduro, but is ready to sit down with the Western-backed opposition and could be doing so “in half an hour,” the country’s Foreign Minister told RT.

‘Attack orchestrated from Washington’: Cuba slams US for ‘meddling’ accusation on Venezuela — RT World News

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has rejected US accusations that his country is “meddling” in Venezuela, and accused Washington of trying to “orchestrate” a coup to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

‘I supported your coup, answer me’: Marco Rubio mocked for #GuaidoChallenge selfie — RT USA News

The US’ open endorsement of Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó has touched on the farcical, with Florida politicians tweeting #GuaidoChallenge selfies to jump on a Venezuelan viral campaign.

‘Shameful’: Fury as US Senator Rubio Joins Flashmob Supporting Venezuela ‘Coup’ – Sputnik International

Nowadays, every political affair triggers a massive reaction on the internet, and the political crisis in Venezuela is no exception. The hashtag #guaidochallenge has been doing the rounds on social media, and many high-profile politicians have been quick to jump on the bandwagon.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Kremlin spokesman refutes allegations about Russia’s help in ensuring Maduro’s protection

Dmitry Peskov said that «fear has magnifying eyes»

Kremlin Spokesman Refutes Reports of Russian Military Presence in Venezuela – Sputnik International

VLADIVOSTOK (Sputnik) – Media reports claiming that Russian military contractors have arrived in Venezuela to reinforce the security of President Nicolas Maduro are untrue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

Kremlin Denies Report It Sent Military Contractors To Help Venezuela’s Maduro

The Kremlin has denied a report that it has sent private military contractors to Venezuela to help embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro strengthen security amid opposition protests and a competing claim to leadership by opposition head Juan Guaido.

UAWire – Russian media reveals sources of the reports about Russian mercenaries in Venezuela

Yevgeny Shabaev, a Cossack leader who chairs the All-Russian Officer’s Assembly, revealed the sources of the reports that Russian mercenaries have been sent to protect Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during the political crisis in the country. Shabaev told RBC that on 21 January he received a request for assistance from a fighter in one of the Russian private military companies (PMCs). “One of the boys who is involved in the protection of the elite persons in the current structures of the PMCs contacted me as a safety net, and said that he had received an urgent order to assemble the group and leave – he didn’t know where to,” Shabaev said. “On the 22nd, his relative called back and confirmed that they had arrived in Havana and were being put on a flight,” Shabaev continued, noting that the relative asked him to use his connections in international journalist circles to find out where the troops were being sent from there. Later Shabaev contacted Reuters. “Yesterday I saw a report that confirmed that they are in Venezuela, and that Russian citizens have been seen working directly around Maduro,” he added. According to Shabaev, the private security contractors were reportedly sent to Venezuela on two charter flights. The head of the veteran organization was unable to state with certainty the exact number of Russian troops that were sent. The day before, Reuters reported that members of the Wagner PMC had been supposedly flown to Venezuela to provide additional security for Maduro. However, the Russian ambassador to Caracas called these reports “yet another canard” and professed not to know of any Russian PMC troops in Venezuela.

Caracas Compares EU Ultimatum for New Elections to Actions of Colonial Powers – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Sunday rejected an ultimatum from several EU countries to call fresh elections within eight days, stressing that they were acting like “colonial powers.”

Guaidó Says He Wants to ‘Increase Pressure’, Not Spark Conflict in Venezuela – Sputnik International

The opposition leader who last week declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, Juan Guaidó, called the situation in Venezuela an “almost magical moment” for the economically devastated country.

Western-Backed Guaido Asks UK PM Not to Return Gold to Maduro Gov’t – Report – Sputnik International

On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that the Bank of England refused to withdraw Venezuela’s gold reserves, worth $1.2 billion, following President Nicolas Maduro’s request.

Violence Against US Diplomats to Be Met ‘With Significant Response’ – Bolton – Sputnik International

On Sunday, the last group of US diplomats left Venezuela, according to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who noted that he had tasked the nation’s foreign ministry to initiate talks with Washington.

Norway Offers Helping Hand to Mediate in Venezuela Crisis – Sputnik International

While proposing a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis and offering to mediate, Norway, acclaimed for its diplomatic role in establishing peace accords in Israel, Bosnia and Guatemala, also said it supported “people’s legitimate demands for democracy”.

UAWire – Venezuelan ambassador to Russia: Caracas is ready to accept Moscow’s mediation

The ambassador of Venezuela to the Russian Federation, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa stated that Venezuela is ready to accept Russia’s mediation in order to establish a dialogue between the government and the opposition. “We heard the statement made by Russia, we also heard the offer from the Russian side to serve, if necessary, as a mediator in the dialogue between the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the opposition,” he stated. Faria Tortosa reminded that earlier Venezuelan president Nikolas Maduro on more than one occasion expressed his readiness to start this dialogue and also showed this readiness. At the same time, according to him, the opposition leadership refuses to sign any documents during negotiations, “receiving this instruction from the United States.” Earlier, it was reported that a private military group from Russia arrived in Venezuela to support the presidency of Nicolas Maduro. Russia denies this information. “The Russian Federation did not send any military personnel, including private contractors to Venezuela,” stated Frants Klintsevich, a member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security. Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the interim president of the country and took the oath on the street in front of thousands of his supporters. After that, USA, Canada, and most Latin American countries, as well as a number of other governments, officially recognized Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela. In response, Maduro announced a decision to sever diplomatic and political relations with the USA. He gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave the Venezuelan territory.

Venezuela pulls back on threats as US warns of ‘significant response’

Nicolas Maduro cut ties with the US Wednesday after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guiado as Venezuela’s interim president, a move Maduro blasted as an attempted coup.

Venezuela’s power struggle turns to winning military favor – U.S. – Stripes

Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido handed out leaflets to soldiers, urging them to reject socialist leader President Nicolas Maduro and explaining how they could be eligible for amnesty if they help return Venezuela to democracy.

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for new protests as pressure on Maduro rises | Reuters

Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president, on Monday called for new street demonstrations as pressure intensified on President Nicolas Maduro and the crisis-stricken OPEC nation.

John Bolton on Twitter: “Any violence and intimidation against U.S. diplomatic personnel, Venezuela’s democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response. 2/2”

John Bolton on Twitter: “Cuba’s support and control over Maduro’s security and paramilitary forces are well known. 1/2”

Graham says Trump floated using military force in Venezuela | TheHill

President Trump reportedly broached the idea of using military force in Venezuela in a conversation with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) earlier this month.

Graham: Trump Likes The Idea Of Using ‘Military Force’ In Venezuela – Talking Points Memo

Pompeo at UN calls Maduro regime in Venezuela ‘illegitimate mafia state’ | Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the United Nations Saturday, urging all nations to support Venezuelans as they try to free themselves from former President Nicholas Maduro’s “illegitimate mafia state.”

Trump right to recognize Juan Guaidó, not Maduro, as Venezuela’s president | Fox News

The Trump administration’s announcement Wednesday to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela amid the current popular uprising against the anti-democratic socialist Maduro regime was an act of brilliant statecraft.

Fight in Venezuela is against more than a strongman — it’s against what some call a criminal empire – The Washington Post

Caracas and Washington agree to leave envoys in place for 30 days while seeking an accord on migration and bilateral issues.

Latin American Nations Rally Around U.S. in Break From Past

In a quick succession of statements, eleven Latin countries followed Trump’s lead to recognize Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s national assembly, as the country’s interim president. The shift stems in part from the receding “pink tide” of left-leaning governments which has given way

Maduro rejects Europe ultimatum | Euronews

President Maduro says he won’t give in to an ultimatum from Europe

Maduro Rejects Calls for New Elections, But Agrees to Dialogue – YouTube

VOA News Published on Jan 28, 2019 Venezuela’s embattled leader Nicolas Maduro has rejected a European Union ultimatum calling for new elections in his country. In a televised interview aired Sunday, he said the opposition leader Juan Guaido has violated the constitution by proclaiming himself interim president. But he has agreed to a dialogue with the opposition. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke has more. Originally published at –

Maduro rejects European demands for new election: CNN Turk interview | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

By AFP – January 27, 2019 @ 10:45pm ANKARA: Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro rejected demands by European countries to call elections within eight days in an interview broadcast on Sunday, insisting that his country was “not tied” to Europe. “They should withdraw this ultimatum. No one can give us an ultimatum,” Maduro told CNN Turk in an interview dubbed into Turkish from Spanish. “Venezuela is not tied to Europe. This is complete insolence,” Maduro added, as he described the European countries’ actions as a “mistake.” European powers including France, Netherlands and Germany on Saturday warned they would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as president unless Maduro calls elections within eight days. The United Kingdom and Spain had also given a similar ultimatum. National Assembly chief Guaido proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela on Wednesday during a mass opposition rally against Maduro. Since then, the United States, Canada and many South American countries including Brazil and Colombia have backed Guaido’s self-proclamation. But Maduro in the interview said Guaido was “violating the constitution” as he accused Washington of a “coup attempt” against his rule.

Venezuela crisis: Maduro says US is behind protests as Guaido warns of another massive rally – CNN

As Venezuela continues its slide into chaos, the nation’s self-proclaimed interim president says his movement to oust President Nicolas Maduro is gaining momentum and will be demonstrated in a massive rally planned for this week.

As West turns on him, Venezuela’s Maduro flexes military muscle | Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army’s Russian hardware on Sunday, with anti-aircraft flak and tank rounds pounding a hillside to show military force and loyalty in the face of an international ultimatum for new elections.

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Offers Amnesty to Soldiers

Self-declared president Juan Guaido tells military members they have a commitment to the constitution; Maduro maintains military is on his side

US Warns Venezuela of ‘Significant Response’

The US now considers Juan Guaido to be Venezuela’s interim leader—and any “violence or intimidation” against him, or against American diplomats, will be met with a “significant… Politics News Summaries. | Newser

Venezuelan Spring – WSJ

The people are destitute, angry and tired of socialism. They want it to end.

A new leader in Venezuela creates hope

The latest showdown between Venezuela’s illegitimate regime and its opposition may be the first real breakthrough for democracy there in 20 years.

Venezuela’s soldiers, civilians speak in exclusive report – CNN

Empty supermarket shelves. Desperate soldiers. CNN spoke to people in Caracas about protests and the stand-off between Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelans must lead in building an off-ramp for Maduro | TheHill

The political crisis in Venezuela has reached a tipping point that may lead to a peaceful return to democracy or yet more violence and despair.

Venezuelan victims demand punishment for abuses, despite amnesty plan | Reuters

Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president and opposition leader Juan Guaido and his supporters thrust pamphlets offering amnesty into the hands of soldiers on Sunday, part of a strategy to win over allies of President Nicolas Maduro to a transitional government.

Venezuela: Juan Guaidó declares himself interim president after mass protests – YouTube

Guardian News Published on Jan 27, 2019 Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has won significant international support after declaring himself the country’s interim president in a dramatic escalation of efforts to force out Nicolás Maduro, who has overseen the country’s slide into authoritarianism and economic ruin Subscribe to Guardian News on YouTube ►

Maduro regime in disarray as Venezuelan military envoy to US defects | World | The Times

The Venezuelan regime showed signs of disarray yesterday after its most senior military envoy in Washington announced he was defecting, and Mike Pompeo called on the world to “pick a side” in the escalating political crisis.“Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you’re in league with Maduro

Analysis: the military’s crucial role for Venezuela’s future | DW News – YouTube

DW News Published on Jan 28, 2019 International endorsement of Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Gauido is growing, Israel and Australia are among the latest countries to recognize Juan Guaido. That’s after his rival, President Nicolas Maduro, rejected a European ultimatum for fresh elections to be held within eight days. Both men are now engaged in a fierce contest for the backing of Venezuela’s military to shore up their claims of legitimacy. Subscribe:

Venezuela steps up armored deployment on Colombia border – Defence Blog

Residents of Eastern Venezuela have posted footages of heavy artillery systems, main battle tanks and military equipment moving towards the Colombian border. Twitter account Already Happened‏ also has release video showing military convoy, included recently ordered Russin-made 2S19 MSTA-S heavy artillery systems, at the route to the Colombian border. President Maduro fears a foreign military intervention in Venezuela and is ramping up its armored forces along the Colombia border. A source in Caracas said that Maduro feared that U.S. troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Syria, they could be well-suited for redeployment in a Colombia-based conflict with Venezuela. But the Colombian Defense Ministry reported that the Colombian government is not going to provide the United States will military bases so that the latter could launch a possible military invasion in Venezuela. “No,” the Colombian Defense Ministry’s representative said, answering the question, whether Bogota was going to provide Washington with military bases needed for a possible operation against Caracas. To date, President Maduro retains the levers of power. And he seeks to stop the crisis in the country with preventive measures and prevent the participation of the United States and their partners in the crisis inside the country. Venezuela’s top commanders have pledged loyalty to Maduro’s government in the days since National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself interim leader with the aim of calling new elections in accordance with the constitution. But support for Maduro’s rule is weaker among the rank and file, whose households are suffering from widespread shortages and hyperinflation like their civilian counterparts.

Venezuela allows US diplomats to stay, defusing showdown, as crisis continues | Fox News

Venezuela defused one aspect of its ongoing political crisis by suspending a demand that U.S. diplomats leave the country.

Venezuela suspends expulsion of U.S. diplomats – Washington Times

Venezuela defused a potential showdown with the United States, suspending a demand that U.S. diplomats leave the country as Washington called on the world to “pick a side” in the South American nation’s fast-moving crisis.

Maduro vs. Guaido: Who is backing whom?

Venezuela has been receiving massive attention from the international community since National Assembly chief Juan Guaido declared himself acting interim president of Venezuela. – Military: The Venezuela armed forces are considered the backbone of the government, and on Thursday senior military officers

Who Is Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó? : NPR

The 35-year-old politician declared himself acting president this week, and has been recognized as the country’s president by the Trump administration.

The divide on Venezuela: Who’s supporting Maduro and who’s following the U.S. lead in recognizing Guaidó – The Washington Post

Australia became the latest country on Monday to recognize the Venezuelan opposition leader as president.

Guaido, citing Holocaust, thanks Netanyahu for recognition – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

The decision came despite some concern in Jerusalem that it could have a negative impact on the 6,000 Jews remaining in Venezuela, who in the past have been the target of some antisemitic incidents.

TASS: World – Netanyahu says Israel recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s new president

Israeli Prime minister added that Israel joins the United States, Canada and most of Latin American and European states

Australia recognises Juan Guaidó as Venezuela president | World news | The Guardian

Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne announces Australia will follow the US and other countries in abandoning incumbent president Nicolás Maduro

Rubio Slams Omar’s Claim on ‘US-Backed Coup’ in Venezuela

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called out Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her opposition to the political changes in Venezuela.

American stooges for Venezuela’s dictator

We are told that the Democratic Party’s rising young socialists are gentler than their name suggests — that they are more in the mold of ­Europe’s social…

Aggression Against Venezuela Reaches a New Level of Intensity |

The Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current examined the coup threat unleashed by Juan Guaido’s self-proclamation and how to face it.

Trump’s axis of evil: Are John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams plotting Venezuela coup? |

Trump ran against military intervention, but his trio of old-school neocons have dangerous plans for Venezuela

What has happened in Venezuela is a coup. Trump’s denial is dangerous | Oscar Guardiola-Rivera | Opinion | The Guardian

The US and rightwing regimes may seek an excuse to intervene in Guaidó’s support, says Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, who teaches at Birkbeck College

Venezuela, State Failure & an Opening for Russia in Latin America