Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (3)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia is not hiding what they are doing: propping up Maduro as the “illegal” President of Venezuela.  By all accounts, Maduro was a terrible president, so this is not a move to help Venezuela.

The Venezuela election was deemed not legitimate by the election observers from the West.  The Consitution of Venezuela then puts the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela into the position of the Presidency. Juan Guaido (also spelled Guaydo) is the interim President of Venezuela.

The news coverage is interesting, however. CNN does not mention Juan Guaido’s position as President of the National Assembly of Venezuela. They say he is the Opposition Leader. In other words, it appears the United States is backing a de facto coup when it is a constitutionally mandated action. 

Also not mentioned is that the vast majority of the West backs Juan Guaido, especially since most voting observers declared the election not fair.  Those backing Venezuela are Russian allies.

The most interesting development, by far, is the empty B777 sent to Caracas. Mass evacuation? This does not send a feeling of support by Russia to Venezuela.  “We’re just going to evacuate anybody we care about. Just in case, you know.”

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The major news item is the US ramping up the pressure with major sanctions, while a coalition is being effectively formed across Latin American and Western nations. The most interesting report comes from Novaya Gazeta in Russia, claiming an empty 500 seat B777 charter flight departed Muscovy for Caracas – the speculation in Russian media is that the Russians may be in the process of extracting their key personnel from Venezuela, noting that multiple flights to Cuba would be likely required to extract every Russian national in the country.

Two scathing digests by Prof Goble: Gulevskaya on  “Hybrid Vozhdism” and Prof Zubov on Russia’s leadership of ‘a Shameful Union of Despotisms’.

A multiplicity of OpEds and background reports, and a very good CFR report on the meltdown of Venezuela’s oil industry.

Finally, samples from Russia and Russia’s little helpers in the West, and the debate over US socialists who support the Chavez/Madura regime simply to spite POTUS and the GOP (some suggest this support is because this regime calls itself socialist).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia and Venezuela Share ‘Hybrid Vozhdism’ and a Common Fate, Gulevskaya says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 27 – The reason the Venezuela events are so disturbing to Moscow is that they are a clear indication of what the Putin elites can expect after “the anti-constitutional Putin regime” is overthrown and they lose “in a single hour” whatever legitimacy their power and their wealth had, according to Russian human rights activist Natalya Gulevskaya. “Ugo Chavez is the closest prototype to Putin,” she continues, and “the regimes of Russia and Venezuela are strikingly similar,” with enormous wealth in natural resources combined with increasing poverty in the population. More significantly, they are personalist dictatorships rather than classic authoritarian regime ( Neither is capable of transferring power from the founder to a successor, and thus one can usefully call both “’hybrid vozhdist’” regime, which also share this in common, they have the same “life cycle, one equal to that of a single leader.” When he departs, those who try to take over find themselves without any support and are soon pushed out. Nicolas Maduro clearly doesn’t understand that “the structure of personal relationships of Ugo Chavez has receded into the past, and he not only can’t replace it fully but will be overthrown after a guarantee of security to key figures of his regime,” Gulevskaya convincingly argues. In the Russian case, this has a dimension which she suggests many do not yet fully consider. The coming collapse of the Russian Federation will not be like that of the USSR in many ways, but most important, those who were props of the Putin regime will not be able to hold on any part of the former empire as some Soviet officials have in the post-Soviet states. Just as there is no legal succession for a post-Putin leadership, so too there is no legal succession to the states that will emerge from the end of the Russian Federation, Gulevskaya says. And that means that as subjects of international law, these will “begin their statehood from blank page. Consequently, the process will be far more difficult than any imagine, especially since there won’t be any states ready to intervene on behalf of the would-be Putin successors. Those in his regime should therefore now “look at Venezuela and remember that your fate will be many times more tragic.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Venezuela Shows Russia Now Leader of ‘a Shameful Union of Despotisms,’ Zubov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 26 – Andrey Zubov, a Russian historian who teaches in Georgia and is a longstanding critic of Putin, says that the course of events in Venezuela shows that Putin’s Russia now stands “at the head of a shameful union of depotisms” whose rulers can not a wit about the well-being of their peoples but only about their own wealth and power. “The Putin regime is simply a despotism devoid of ideas, the chief value of which is power in and of itself and the money to which this power gives access,” Zubov says. “Patriotism, nationalism, socialism and clericalism – all the fig leaves have been thrown away” given that the Maduro regime was “anti-religious and socialist” ( There, the people rose up against the dictator who had falsified the results of elections so as to keep power. Russia, China, Turkey and Iran all stood with the dictator. “Who stood for the people who wanted to restore their power to run their own country? Of course, the democratic countries – the US, Canada, the EU, and the majority of countries of Latin America.” The governments of the countries in short who have the freedoms and well-being that the people of Venezuela want, Zubov says. What this means is this, he continues. The world is divided not as in the past between left and right, Christian and Muslim, or West and East “but by the most simple and banal line, between a tyrant and his subjects who steal the rights and wealth of the people and the people who know and recognize their right to run their own country.” All countries have to choose which side of that line they are one. Russia, unfortunately, stands at the head of this sad “union of depots.” As such, Zubov continues, this is “the end of the New Russia which threw off communist tyranny 30 years ago” only to fall under a new one. But “in this sad end, there is the basis for a new beginning.” “’The ruler’ everywhere, be he in Beijing, Moscow, Ankara, Teheran, Caracas or Zimbabwe lives for himself. The citizens of his country are for him only a means or a danger but not the highest goal of is activities.” Russians, Zubov says, please note that “the Armenians have been able to overthrow their tyrants and escape from this shameful union of despotisms, the Georgians have been able, and the Ukrainians have been able although at a great price. Now, the citizens of Venezuela are trying to gain their right to freedom as well.” Do Russians want to allow themselves to be used “as a means for the enrichment of tyrants and as a weapon for the suppression of freedom in the entire world from Syria and Sudan to Venezuela?” Or do they again want “to become a free people running their own affairs, a people with a sense of own and dignity?” Zubov argues that that is the choice Russians now face, a choice that Putin by his actions has made both inevitable and immediate.

Maria Efimova, Irek Murtazin | Mysterious Nordwind Airlines civil flight took off from Moscow to Caracas. It can deliver 500 passengers to Venezuela, and maybe take 500 people out of the country. | Novaya Gazeta

update 17:12 According to the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there were no passengers on board the aircraft that took off from Vnukovo to Caracas. On January 28, at 2 pm, a Boeing 777 aircraft flew from Vnukovo Moscow Airport to Caracas. This is charter flight No. 9801 of Nordwind Airlines. The airline, specializing in charter tourist routes, in December 2018 has already sent two flights to Venezuela *. According to our information, the board that just departed to Caracas only returned from Thailand this morning and set off on a new flight, refueled and took on board two crews (apparently planning a flight without a rest at the airport of arrival – I. M.). According to Flightradar24, the arrival of the Russian “Boeing” in Caracas is expected at 20.00 local time. Novaya Gazeta is trying to contact the airline while there is no answer. Russian tourists are not officially recommended to go to Venezuela. Group tours to the country have not been selling for a long time. His plans to take several hundred Russians out of the country have not yet been shared by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Recall, on January 23, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaydo, declared himself the interim president. Earlier, Reuters reported that José Luis Silva, the country’s military attache to the United States, recognized his authority. US President Donald Trump said he recognizes Guaydo as “transitional president.” In response, Maduro said that the United States was committing a “serious mistake,” announced the severance of diplomatic relations, and accused the United States of trying to make a coup in Venezuela. The authority of Guaydo, except for the USA, was recognized by Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and a number of other countries. Spain, Britain, France, and Germany said that if President Nicolas Maduro did not hold elections in the country within eight days, they would recognize Guaido as the new leader. Venezuela rejected this condition. The Russian government supported Nicolas Maduro. The Russian authorities believe that the “destructive external intervention” of the USA in Venezuela’s policy is unacceptable because it is “a direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed.” amendment Earlier in the text of the news said that the January flight of the airline Nordwind to Venezuela – the first. This is not true. We thank the readers who corrected the editors.

Russia’s large passenger jet without passengers on board departs to Venezuela – news world | UNIAN

A Boeing 777 which belongs to Russia’s Nordwind Airlines on Jan 28 departed from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to Caracas, Venezuela (flight N49801) with no passengers on board. The plane designed to carry up to 500 passengers has earlier made flights to the occupied Crimea despite an international ban. A Boeing 777 which belongs to Russia’s Nordwind Airlines on Jan 28 departed from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to Caracas, Venezuela (flight N49801) with no passengers on board. The plane is traditionally used for charter flights and has never flown to Venezuela earlier, according to Russia’s Novaya Gazeta. The publication notes that the jet is fully loaded with fuel, while two crew teams have been deployed, suggesting that the plane will make an immediate return flight. According to FlightRadar24, the plane will arrive in Caracas at 20:00 local time. At the same time, Bohdan Yaremenko, a diplomat and head of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation, says the plane has earlier made flights to internationally-sanctioned airports in the Russia-occupied Crimea. “The emergence of an aircraft used by Russians for illegal operations (flights to Crimea, carrying out and supporting the occupation) in one part of the world, in another part of the planet, testifies that the Russian war is total. All components are interconnected,” he wrote in a Facebook posting.

Russia’s Backing of Venezuela’s Maduro Has Its Limits – WSJ

Russia’s support for embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro is opening a new geopolitical front between Moscow and Washington right on the U.S.’s doorstep, but the Kremlin’s will and ability to compete appear limited.

Russia Vows To Support Maduro, Criticizes U.S. Sanctions Against Venezuelan Oil Company

Russian officials have lashed out at the United States over the upheaval in Venezuela, vowing to support embattled President Nicolas Maduro and sharply criticizing Washington for imposing sanctions…

Russia and China condemn new US sanctions on Venezuela

Russia and China condemned U.S. sanctions placed on Venezuela, with the former pledging to support the beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro.

Nicolas Maduro plays the conga drums with a salsa band, and dances with his wife, at a youth rally  | Daily Mail Online

Facing mounting pressure from the international community to step down as president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro showed off his abilities as a member of salsa band.

Venezuela’s Guaido aims at control of PDVSA, Citgo as U.S. imposes sanctions | Reuters

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido ordered congress on Monday to appoint new boards of directors to state oil company PDVSA and U.S. subsidiary Citgo, shortly before the United States imposed sanctions on the firm.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions On State-Owned Venezuelan Oil Giant

The move followed the decision by Washington, and a growing number of other countries, to no longer recognize Maduro as the Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

US hits Venezuela’s state-owned oil company with sanctions | USA News | Al Jazeera

President vows to take action as US steps up pressure with new sanctions aimed at forcing him cede power to opposition.

US announces sweeping sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, state-owned oil company | Fox News

The White House on Monday announced billions of dollars in new sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s state-owned oil monopoly PDVSA, less than a week after President Trump formally recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Treasury to sanction Venezuela state-owned oil firm

The move comes after a turbulent week for Venezuela that has created a standoff over the country’s leadership.

Trump made the right call with his new sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s oil exports

Cutting off cash to illegitimate president Nicolas Maduro through an oil embargo was a good move by the Trump administration, and it brings us one step closer to ending the disastrous socialist regime of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

Trump’s Venezuela policy is a long shot — but the cleverest one yet – The Washington Post

There are important differences between Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Team Trump is building a potent anti-Maduro alliance

In one of his most decisive foreign policy moments, President Trump recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the…

Amid mass arrests, Maduro won’t touch rival Guaido

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — More than 700 opponents of President Nicolas Maduro have been arrested during the latest push by Venezuela’s opposition to oust the socialist leader. But there’s one anti-government activist security forces notably haven’t touched: Juan Guaido, the lawmaker who declared himself interim president in a direct challenge to Maduro’s rule. Maduro’s refusal, at least so far, to order Guaido’s arrest reflects mistrust in his own security forces as well as the Trump administration’s warning that any harm to the man the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate leader would be crossing a dangerous red line.

John Bolton notepad: ‘5,000 troops to Colombia’ note raise questions about military role in Venezuela crisis – The Washington Post

The plan raised speculation about the potential for military involvement in Venezuela. If enacted, it would mark a major escalation of U.S. involvement in South America.

John Bolton’s written note on ‘troops to Colombia’ raises eyebrows | Fox News

National Security Adviser John Bolton may have inadvertently revealed a potential next move by the Trump administration in the Venezuela crisis Monday when photographers captured a note on a legal pad that read: “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Two Presidents, Too Little Food for Venezuelans

Economists agree that Venezuelans are likely to suffer as the current situation between Guaido and Maduro continues.

What Venezuela’s Interim President Must Do | The National Interest

There is a chance to restore democracy.

Nervous Times For The U.S. Embassy in Caracas | The American Conservative

Maduro ordered the staff out, Trump told them to stay. There are growing protests outside. So what happens next?

No easy path for Venezuela’s Oil in the Struggle for a Transition in Power | Council on Foreign Relations

n early 2003, when debate was surfacing in the United States whether to invade Iraq, a Council on Foreign Relations working group drafted a monograph outlining the problems that such a policy would face. As I explained at the time as part of that effort, Iraq’s oil industry was in tatters and it would take years, not months, to restore it. It was clear prior to the 2003 war that Iraq’s oil could neither pay for the war, nor be nearly enough to fund its reconstruction. Given the news that the United States has recognized the speaker of the democratically elected National Assembly Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela in defiance of ruling strongman Nicolas Maduro, the question about how long it would take Venezuela to restore its oil production under a new government is likely to arise. Like Iraq, Venezuela will need massive amounts of money to rebuild deteriorated national infrastructure. Also like Iraq, Venezuela’s oil industry has suffered serious damage, and the damage could arguably be harder to restore than in Iraq. The invasion of Iraq took place in 2003. Iraq’s oil production is now gaining ground, but that positive trajectory took almost a decade to establish, as seen in figure 1. It might seem relevant to note that Iraq faced a destructive war in 2003, followed by years of civil war and more recently, a battle to expunge ISIS and therefore its oil installations took a military beating that won’t be analogous in Venezuela. That is certainly true. But the fact is that there has been tremendous violence on the ground in Venezuela with multiple armed groups looting and raiding the country’s key infrastructure, and the oil sector has been targeted across the country. The violence has caused many of the international oil companies previously operating in the country to withdraw. One challenge that will face any new government, were one to be able to emerge, is that there are multiple renegade armed groups operating inside Venezuela, including Cuban mercenaries and others deeply entrenched in drug trafficking. This has made and will continue to make guarding Venezuela’s oil industry a major challenge. Geopolitics of Energy | Further complicating any oil sector transition, the Venezuelan military has virtually taken over as the gate keeper on the operation of the oil industry. The employment ranks of state firm PDVSA is said to now total as many as one hundred and sixty thousand people, up from its normal ranks of forty thousand in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chavez. Organizations like the Military Corporation for Mining, Petroleum and Gas Industries (Camimpeg) created in 2016 actively intercept the flow of income from the oil sector. Camimpeg’s soldiers have been working to suppress strikes by oil workers unions at oil fields around Lake Maracaibo, and Petroleum Intelligence Weekly is reporting that soldiers often siphon off barrels and engage in illegal smuggling for payments for stolen oil being included at Venezuela’s ports in larger shipments to Russia and China.

UN Considers Response After Venezuela’s Guaido Asks for Assistance – Spokesman – Sputnik International

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The United Nations has received a letter by Venezuela’s National Assembly President Juan Guaido requesting urgent humanitarian assistance and the world body is considering a response, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Monday.

Venezuela plot thickens… UN should be probing Washington and allies for regime-change crimes — RT Op-ed

Identical condemnations from the US and allies and the synchronicity show that Venezuela is being targeted for regime change in a concerted plot led by Washington.

Nobody Can Claim an Ultimatum to Hold Snap Election in Venezuela – Professor – Sputnik International

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is open to dialogue with the international community, however, he stressed that opposition leader Juan Guaidó breached the constitution by declaring himself president.

Socialists of the World, Unite – WSJ

Sanders and AOC show their support for Venezuela’s dictator.

Why Are Democrats Smearing Venezuela’s Leftist Interim President?

You would think the new leftist media darlings would adore Juan Guaido. Instead, they’re waging a smear campaign against him.

Why Trump’s Venezuela’s oil sanctions could backfire – Vox

Trump’s sanctions on Venezuela’s oil giant PdVSA from OFAC, detailed by US officials Bolton and Mnuchin, could backfire.

Venezuela could trap US into Cold War position against Russia, China

Russia and China are supporting Venezuela’s Maduro-led government while Western allies back change

Venezuela’s slow coup continues | Venezuela | Al Jazeera

Opposition leader Juan Guaido’s support base is not the Venezuelan people but foreign right-wing governments.

America is at it again

TheTribune: The South Block has issued a wishy-washy statement, counselling that &lsquo;it is for the people of Venezuela to find a political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence&rsquo;.

New Zealand praised for refusing to back Venezuela’s interim president Juan Guaidó | Newshub

“I feel like NZ has the most enlightened leadership in the world right now.”


One thought on “Venezuela Meltdown Update (3)

  1. I cannot avoid finding it interesting that Venezuela has one of the worlds biggest oil reserves. China is one of the major buyers, not far behind the US, of Venezuelan oil. What is going on behind the curtains? Who benefit from the possible outcomes? If we know that we also know who is supporting who.

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