Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (4)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The characteristic deluge of Muscovian mendacity, as always. Muscovy offers to mediate. The Maduro regime targets the interim President with legal measures, the US warns yet again. WSJ points out Russia’s motives, making this yet another example of Russia working to hobble an oil exporting nation to drive global oil pricing up and fill its coffers – noting that around $20B of unpaid debt is also a motive for money hungry Muscovy. Another Russian observer compares the Venezuelan meltdown to Russia. The unexplained B777 visit to Caracas being explained as a delivery truck for almost $1B in gold bars of debt repayment to Muscovy, following Russia’s demand Caracas pay on time.

Many interesting analysis articles on Venezuela’s economy, finances, and oil industry. Much speculation over possible US military intervention. With a regime of such demonstrable nastiness, there is a moral argument that a GBU through a certain window in Caracas is easily justified, however, this mess really needs to collapse on its own to deny Muscovy and its little helpers in the West the propaganda bonanza of a US intervention.

The debate over some in the US political Left defending the Chavez/Maduro regime continues. It is so sad that we are seeing a repeat of the pre-WW2 and Cold War era delusion that dictators must be good if they oppose the West.


John Bolton on Twitter: “We denounce the illegitimate former Venezuelan Attorney General’s threats against President Juan Guaido. Let me reiterate – there will be serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido.”

‘Serious consequences,’ U.S. warns, after Venezuela moves on Guaido

Venezuela’s government struck back at self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Tuesday, seeking a travel ban and freeze on his bank accounts that prompted a warning from Washington of “consequences” after imposing oil sanctions. The sweeping U.S. sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced

Maduro Is Putin’s Man in Caracas – WSJ

Russia wants to suppress Latin America’s energy production. During the Cold War, Moscow supported the Latin American left because it naively thought communism was the wave of the future. These days, a more cynical Kremlin supports the Latin left because it knows it will fail. The dramatic confrontation taking shape in Venezuela—where dictator Nicolás Maduro clings to power with Russia’s help as the West declares opposition leader Juan Guaidó the legitimate president—is the first major crisis of this new era of great-power competition. Why has Russia propped up Mr. Maduro? Because of…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Elites See in Venezuela Their Own Future, SerpomPo Telegram Channel Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 28 – The Putin regime is not coming to the defense of the Venezuela dictator primarily because it views that Latin American country as a place it can make money, the SerpomPo Telegram Channel says, although as with everything else, money remains an important part of the calculation. Instead, the Kremlin is rushing to support the dictator there against the people because it fears that if the Venezuelan opposition succeeds in overthrowing Maduro and restoring democracy the very same thing could happen to the Putin regime in Russia. Its moves in Venezuela are thus all about itself (t.me/SerpomPo/2527). “In defending the dictatorship of Maduro,” SerpomPo says, “the powers that be in Russia are in fact defending themselves” – or at least that is what they think they are doing because Russia today is “just like Venezuela” although at a less extreme stage of the same illness that affects both regimes. “The authorities in Russia are just as ‘legitimate’ as the dictator Maduro. They were both elected in March 2018 by means of falsified ‘elections.’ Russia just like Venezuela is under sanctions and no alternative future besides the intensification of sanctions is in view,” the Telegram Channel continues. “Our country is also a police state just like Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro. Here protests are also suppressed. Finally, the standard of living of the population under Putin between 2014 and 2019 has fallen just as in Venezuela, and people are ever more frequently fleeing Russia” just as they are Venezuela. The difference is only in scale, although with regard to corruption, the Russian powers that be yield nothing to Maduro and his subordinates. Indeed, the reverse is true. Consequently, it is no surprise that “the Russian powers that be view events in Venezuela as a possible scenario for Russia” – and act accordingly in self-defense. What would happen if in time, “the situation in Russia would go entirely out of their control? If here citizens were able to elect a parliament independent of the Kremlin? If into the streets would come millions, protesting against their declining standard of living? Like in Armenia? Or like in Venezuela?” That is the Kremlin’s nightmare, SerpomPo says, and that of its siloviki backers. And that is why the shaky and nervous “Russian dictatorship is sending the falling Venezuela one fraternal help, over the heads of the peoples of Russia and Venezuela and against the peoples of Russia and Venezuela.”

UAWire – Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia promises safety of Russian investments

All investments of Russian companies in projects in Venezuela are totally safe, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Russia, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa stated in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia. “I can say with full confidence that investments are totally safe,” the diplomat said. According to him, authorities “are in control of all processes” and the situation in the streets is calm. “They [ the projects] will also be protected by the Venezuelan Armed Forces, if necessary,” Tortosa added. According to the Ambassador, recent demonstrations were “related to the historical date” when the military dictatorship fell and for now the situation has normalized. In early December, Venezuelan President Maduro stated that Moscow and Caracas signed investment agreements for $6 billion. $5 billion will be provided for oil production and another $1 billion for gold production. According to Reuters, as of 2017, the Russian government and the Russian oil giant Rosneft provided Venezuela with loans or credit lines for at least $17 billion starting from 2006. On January 23, during the rally in Caracas, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó declared himself acting leader of Venezuela. He was supported by Western and Latin American countries. The current President, Nicolás Maduro accused the opposition and the USA of trying to carry out a coup d’état.

Russia tells cash-strapped Venezuela to pay debt – To Inform is to Influence

In a move reminiscent of kicking a man when he’s down, which is illegal in boxing and most contact sports, Russia is forcing Venezuela to pay at least $100 million in March.  The timing couldn’t be worse. Venezuela’s economy is in freefall, inflation is rampant, and after an illegal election, Maduro is being propped up…

$840M in gold bars prepared for loading onto Russian jet at Venezuelan airport: report | Fox News

About 20 tons of gold from Venezuela’s central bank was ready to be hauled away Tuesday on a Russian airline’s Boeing 777 that landed in Caracas a day earlier, a Venezuelan lawmaker wrote on Twitter.

Arrival of Russian passenger jet fires up Venezuela’s rumor mill – Reuters – news world | UNIAN

The unusual arrival of a Russian passenger plane in Caracas has set social media abuzz with rumors about its mission after the Kremlin pledged to support its ally Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro against a U.S.-backed effort to drive him from office. Venezuelan social media was alive with theories – that it had brought mercenaries, was there to escort Maduro into exile, or was loading up with gold.

UAWire – Russia: US sanctions on Venezuelan state oil company illegal

Moscow has said that the sanctions imposed by Washington on PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, in an attempt to undermine Nicolas Maduro’s power, are illegal. “The legitimate leadership of Venezuela has already described these sanctions as illegal. One can fully get behind this perspective,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The US Treasury Department said that the measures against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company were adopted in order to “change the behavior” of the government in power. Peskov said that the sanctions constitute blatant interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs and a demonstration of “unscrupulous competitiveness”. He added that Russia will endeavor to protect its own interests using international law. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the new sanctions are in violation of “all conceivable rules of international law” and are evidence of Washington’s desire to change the government in Venezuela. The Russian diplomat said that the US has “taken an open course towards overthrowing the legitimate government in this Latin American country”. “We… will do all we can in order to support the legitimate government of President Maduro,” Lavrov said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Russia slams U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and promises to back Maduro – The Washington Post

The penalties against oil companies are an instance of “unfair competition,” the Kremlin said.

Venezuela: Moscow offers to broker talks between Maduro and Guaidó | World | The Times

Russia is offering to mediate between President Maduro and his opposition rival in an attempt to avoid the overthrow of the Venezuelan leader. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said today that Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself the rightful president of the country, must set aside any pre-conditions he may have and start talks with Mr Maduro. The offer was made just hours before Mr Guaidó was due to attend mass protests across the country today to call for Mr Maduro to step down. The Kremlin wants other countries to help mediate the talks and has approached China, Latin American and European nations. The US has not been invited. In an interview with Ria Novosti, the Russian state news agency, President Maduro said he…

Two wrenches in Washington’s oil sanctions against Venezuela: China and Russia

On Monday, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports in an effort to squeeze authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro. Although U.S. sanctions may well do the trick and pave the way for a stable resolution to the crisis, there are complicating factors : China and Russia.

Venezuela Targets Opposition Leader With Travel Ban, Bank-Account Freeze

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ordered a travel ban on the opposition leader Juan Guaido and frozen his bank accounts.

Venezuela’s top prosecutor targets interim president with criminal probe | TheHill

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday opened an investigation into opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela’s Maduro says he’s ready to talk to opposition: Russia RIA

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told Russian state news agency RIA in an interview broadcast on Wednesday he is ready for talks with the opposition, with the participation of international mediators.

Venezuela power struggle heats up with Guaido curbs, protest plans | Reuters

The fight for control of Venezuela intensified on Wednesday as the government pushed a probe that may lead to the arrest of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido who called for new street protests.

Venezuela top court curbs opposition leader Juan Guaidó – BBC News

The country’s Supreme Court approves a travel ban and an asset freeze on Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela crisis: Maduro says he’s willing to negotiate with opposition, international mediators – CNN

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said he is willing to meet with opposition leaders and international mediators to bring about a solution to the country’s ongoing political crisis, but ruled out holding any new presidential elections until 2025.

Maduro faces backlash from Chavistas amid Venezuela upheaval: ‘My hopes are set on a change’ | The Independent

Venezuela is facing an atypical moment: two men claim to be the country’s president. On one side is Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, elected president in May 2018. A re-election that was widely derided as fraudulent, with opposition politicians barred from running and the electoral board run by Maduro loyalists.

Venezuela protests: At least 40 people dead – CNN

Protests in Venezuela over the power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and self-declared leader Juan Guaidó have led to the deaths of at least 40 people, the UN says.

Venezuela crisis death toll rises as US backing of Juan Guaido extends to new sanctions on Nicolas Maduro government – CBS News

United Nations says 40 people have been killed and hundreds more arrested as U.S. tightens financial noose on embattled president

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó: We’re waking up from a nightmare to dream of a prosperous country | Fox Business

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó is aiming to lead his country to democracy.

As pressure mounts on Venezuela’s Maduro, what will the country’s military do?

As international pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro rises, analysts and former Venezuelan military leaders discuss possible scenarios involving the military and whether they would support Juan Guaidó.

U.S. hands control over Maduro regime’s accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Guaido – news world | UNIAN

Washington has given control over the Venezuelan government accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Juan Guaido, the U.S. Department on State said in a statement titled “Protecting Venezuela’s Assets for Benefit of Venezuelan People” released Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019. The American diplomats have called on other governments to take similar steps to protect Venezuela’s patrimony. Washington has given control over the Venezuelan government accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Juan Guaido, the U.S. Department on State said in a statement titled “Protecting Venezuela’s Assets for Benefit of Venezuelan People” released Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019. “On January 25, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo certified the authority of Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido to receive and control certain property in accounts of the Government of Venezuela or Central Bank of Venezuela held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S. insured banks,” reads the statement. The diplomats added that the move was in line with Section 25B of the Federal Reserve Act.

US Sanctions Will Squeeze Venezuela Output to Almost Nothing – Bloomberg

Trump’s new restrictions leave little scope for a buyer of Venezuelan crude to appear from anywhere. Flows could trickle to nearly a halt.

Venezuela’s Choking Points: Here’s Where Maduro Gets His Revenue

It is also about how much of the country’s dwindling financial resources President Nicolas Maduro can keep his hands on. The U.S., backed by Brazil, Canada and others, has recognized Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader, as Venezuela’s legitimate president, and is trying to channel as much of the

Exclusive: Venezuela proposes new oil contract terms to sidestep U.S. sanctions

The U.S. government issued an executive order on Monday freezing PDVSA assets and requiring U.S. firms to pay for PDVSA oil using accounts controlled by the country’s congress head and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido. The sanctions were aimed at pressuring socialist President Nicolas Maduro

Sanctions on Venezuela’s oil firm sends U.S. refiners scrambling

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., known as PDVSA, to cripple the OPEC member’s oil shipments, which account for nearly all of Venezuela’s exports, in response to the reelection of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a vote widely viewed as fraudulent

U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela’s Crude Giant Boost Oil Prices – WSJ

Oil prices advanced after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, potentially further hindering supply in the economically embattled OPEC country.

Colombia denies speculation about military intervention in Venezuela – Defence Blog

Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos has released a statement denying a report that his government going to provide the United States will military bases so that the latter could launch a possible military invasion in Venezuela. For several days now, Colombian officials have refuted speculation that the country will take part or support military intervention in Venezuela. Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said Colombia will continue “acting politically and diplomatically” so that democratic order is restored in Venezuela and new elections are held. This statement he made after US national security adviser John Bolton seemed to be broadcasting big plans for the regime-change operation in Venezuela when he was photographed with a yellow legal pad on which he’d scrawled “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Bolton’s notes raise questions on U.S. military plans amid Venezuela tensions | Reuters

White House national security adviser John Bolton raised questions about the United States’ intentions in Venezuela after he appeared at a briefing on Monday with a notepad containing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” which neighbors Venezuela.

John Bolton’s notes may have revealed possible military plans for Venezuela

National security adviser John Bolton was spotted on Monday holding a notepad with the words “5,000 troops to Colombia” scrawled across the top of the front page in blue ink.

“5,000 troops to Colombia”? Nation responds to Bolton’s note – CBS News

Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said Colombia does not know the &quot;importance and reason&quot; for Bolton's note

How Seriously Should the World Take Trump’s Venezuela Threat? – Defense One

This isn’t the first time the president has threatened military force against the country, but now he is surrounded by regime-change advocates. On Monday, as Donald Trump’s administration ratcheted up its pressure on the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, the White House wanted Maduro to know that sanctions on the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, might not be the end of the road. “Look, the president has made it very clear on this matter that all options are on the table,” National-Security Adviser John Bolton said during a White House briefing. He also said that violence against not only U.S. personnel in Venezuela but also the National Assembly and Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. has recognized as the country’s legitimate leader, would be “met with a significant response.” Bolton declined to say quite what that meant. “We’re not going to define it, because we want the Venezuelan security forces to know how strongly we think that President Guaidó, the National Assembly, the opposition, and most importantly American personnel [should not be] harmed.” (In either an elaborate mind game or a stunning display of absent-mindedness, Bolton also allowed photographers to see a legal pad on which was scrawled, “5,000 troops to Colombia.”) This was, on the one hand, a remarkably blunt intimation of military action, especially coming from the administration of Donald Trump, who ran for president while criticizing foreign military adventurism. On the other hand, it was yet another threat from an administration that has often failed to follow through on them. The question is whether Venezuela will be different, and whether the presence of veteran regime-change advocates such as Bolton and Elliott Abrams will make the difference.

How Trump’s Venezuela Sanctions Could Undercut His Iran Policy – Foreign Policy

The U.S. president takes direct aim at Maduro’s power, but the economic pain could spread.

Conservatives Press OAS to Take Tougher Stand Against Maduro, Cuban Infiltration 

The oldest Western Hemisphere regional group is coming under increasing pressure to take more forceful action against Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.

A nation with two presidents: How a political crisis has unfolded in Venezuela – Los Angeles Times

Venezuela now has two presidents — Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election in May has been widely held as rigged, and Juan Guaido, who swore himself in as the country’s president shortly after assuming the head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress. Here is a how Venezuela got there.

Citgo: How an American oil refinery became a lifeline for the Venezuelan government – The Washington Post

As tensions mount between the United States and President Nicolás Maduro, a Houston-based company is in the middle once again.

Seize the money of Venezuelan kleptocrats to help the country and its people – The Washington Post

The world should look to the graft-lined pocketbooks of the Venezuelan officials who created the crisis.

Opinion | The U.S. Role in Venezuela’s Turmoil – The New York Times

Readers debate whether the United States should support the opposition leader trying to oust Venezuela’s president.

Maduro Claims Trump Ordered Colombian Government, Mafia to Kill Him – Sputnik International

CARACAS, January 30 (Sputnik) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told Sputnik in an exclusive interview that he was sure that US President Donald Trump ordered the Colombian government and mafia to kill him.

Maduro claims Trump ordered Columbian government and mafia to kill him — RT World News

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has claimed that Donald Trump ordered the Colombian government and mafia to assassinate him, but insisted that he’s well protected from the threat of assassination.

US Should Avoid Seeking to Employ Any Military Option in Venezuela – Ex-US Envoy – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States should avoid seeking a military option to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, former US Ambassador to Paraguay Timothy Towell told Sputnik.

Maduro is Not Protecting Russian, Chinese Investment – Venezuela’s Guaido – Sputnik International

CARACAS (Sputnik) – Venezuela’s self-proclaimed acting president and leader of the country’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, has told CNN in Spanish that incumbent Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, is not protecting Chinese and Russian investment in Venezuela.

Cryptocurrency, Economy Experts Support Maduro in Clash With Bank of England – Sputnik International

The Venezuelan government led by Nicolas Maduro introduced the state-backed cryptocurrency El Petro in 2018 in a bid to circumvent US sanctions against the country. However the Petro was backed, among other things, by gold with $1.2 billion worth of it stored in the Bank of England, which has recently refused to repatriate it.

Maduro says next election will take place in 2025, rejects Europe’s 8-day ultimatum — RT World News

President Nicolas Maduro has rejected an ultimatum issued by Europe which called for new elections in Venezuela within 8 days, saying instead that the next presidential elections will be held in 2025.

‘US pawn that can be discarded any time’– Max Blumenthal on ‘president’ Guaido — RT World News

Self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela Juan Guaido is a “product of US-backed regime change factory” installed to do Washington’s bidding, journalist Max Blumenthal told RT, arguing the only US interest there is oil.

‘Hands off Venezuela’: Maduro slams Trump in English (VIDEO) — RT World News

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro addressed Donald Trump in English to demand that Washington keep its “hands off” the country, after the US imposed sanctions on its state oil company in recognition of Juan Guaido as president.

Venezuela Resolution Held Up Over Concerns About Military Action – Bloomberg

A resolution recognizing Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela is stalled in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Democrats seek to avoid giving President Donald Trump an endorsement for military intervention in the strife-torn country.

4 Myths Democrats Are Spreading About Venezuela To Support A Dictator

The sudden outpouring of support for Maduro by American congressmen and congresswomen should concern anyone with a cursory understanding of history.

Democrats should stand for democracy in Venezuela — and democratic values in America – The Washington Post

Simply because democracy promotion is fraught with peril does not mean Democrats should shy away from articulating the right way to do it.

The Left Keeps Getting Venezuela Wrong – Foreign Policy

Anti-imperialists prefer a Russian-backed dictator to a public revolt.

John Bolton on Twitter: “We denounce the illegitimate former Venezuelan Attorney General’s threats against President Juan Guaido. Let me reiterate – there will be serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido.”

‘Serious consequences,’ U.S. warns, after Venezuela moves on Guaido

Venezuela’s government struck back at self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Tuesday, seeking a travel ban and freeze on his bank accounts that prompted a warning from Washington of “consequences” after imposing oil sanctions. The sweeping U.S. sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced

Maduro Is Putin’s Man in Caracas – WSJ

Russia wants to suppress Latin America’s energy production. During the Cold War, Moscow supported the Latin American left because it naively thought communism was the wave of the future. These days, a more cynical Kremlin supports the Latin left because it knows it will fail. The dramatic confrontation taking shape in Venezuela—where dictator Nicolás Maduro clings to power with Russia’s help as the West declares opposition leader Juan Guaidó the legitimate president—is the first major crisis of this new era of great-power competition. Why has Russia propped up Mr. Maduro? Because of…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Elites See in Venezuela Their Own Future, SerpomPo Telegram Channel Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 28 – The Putin regime is not coming to the defense of the Venezuela dictator primarily because it views that Latin American country as a place it can make money, the SerpomPo Telegram Channel says, although as with everything else, money remains an important part of the calculation. Instead, the Kremlin is rushing to support the dictator there against the people because it fears that if the Venezuelan opposition succeeds in overthrowing Maduro and restoring democracy the very same thing could happen to the Putin regime in Russia. Its moves in Venezuela are thus all about itself (t.me/SerpomPo/2527). “In defending the dictatorship of Maduro,” SerpomPo says, “the powers that be in Russia are in fact defending themselves” – or at least that is what they think they are doing because Russia today is “just like Venezuela” although at a less extreme stage of the same illness that affects both regimes. “The authorities in Russia are just as ‘legitimate’ as the dictator Maduro. They were both elected in March 2018 by means of falsified ‘elections.’ Russia just like Venezuela is under sanctions and no alternative future besides the intensification of sanctions is in view,” the Telegram Channel continues. “Our country is also a police state just like Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro. Here protests are also suppressed. Finally, the standard of living of the population under Putin between 2014 and 2019 has fallen just as in Venezuela, and people are ever more frequently fleeing Russia” just as they are Venezuela. The difference is only in scale, although with regard to corruption, the Russian powers that be yield nothing to Maduro and his subordinates. Indeed, the reverse is true. Consequently, it is no surprise that “the Russian powers that be view events in Venezuela as a possible scenario for Russia” – and act accordingly in self-defense. What would happen if in time, “the situation in Russia would go entirely out of their control? If here citizens were able to elect a parliament independent of the Kremlin? If into the streets would come millions, protesting against their declining standard of living? Like in Armenia? Or like in Venezuela?” That is the Kremlin’s nightmare, SerpomPo says, and that of its siloviki backers. And that is why the shaky and nervous “Russian dictatorship is sending the falling Venezuela one fraternal help, over the heads of the peoples of Russia and Venezuela and against the peoples of Russia and Venezuela.”

UAWire – Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia promises safety of Russian investments

All investments of Russian companies in projects in Venezuela are totally safe, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Russia, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa stated in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia. “I can say with full confidence that investments are totally safe,” the diplomat said. According to him, authorities “are in control of all processes” and the situation in the streets is calm. “They [ the projects] will also be protected by the Venezuelan Armed Forces, if necessary,” Tortosa added. According to the Ambassador, recent demonstrations were “related to the historical date” when the military dictatorship fell and for now the situation has normalized. In early December, Venezuelan President Maduro stated that Moscow and Caracas signed investment agreements for $6 billion. $5 billion will be provided for oil production and another $1 billion for gold production. According to Reuters, as of 2017, the Russian government and the Russian oil giant Rosneft provided Venezuela with loans or credit lines for at least $17 billion starting from 2006. On January 23, during the rally in Caracas, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó declared himself acting leader of Venezuela. He was supported by Western and Latin American countries. The current President, Nicolás Maduro accused the opposition and the USA of trying to carry out a coup d’état.

Russia tells cash-strapped Venezuela to pay debt – To Inform is to Influence

In a move reminiscent of kicking a man when he’s down, which is illegal in boxing and most contact sports, Russia is forcing Venezuela to pay at least $100 million in March.  The timing couldn’t be worse. Venezuela’s economy is in freefall, inflation is rampant, and after an illegal election, Maduro is being propped up…

$840M in gold bars prepared for loading onto Russian jet at Venezuelan airport: report | Fox News

About 20 tons of gold from Venezuela’s central bank was ready to be hauled away Tuesday on a Russian airline’s Boeing 777 that landed in Caracas a day earlier, a Venezuelan lawmaker wrote on Twitter.

Arrival of Russian passenger jet fires up Venezuela’s rumor mill – Reuters – news world | UNIAN

The unusual arrival of a Russian passenger plane in Caracas has set social media abuzz with rumors about its mission after the Kremlin pledged to support its ally Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro against a U.S.-backed effort to drive him from office. Venezuelan social media was alive with theories – that it had brought mercenaries, was there to escort Maduro into exile, or was loading up with gold.

UAWire – Russia: US sanctions on Venezuelan state oil company illegal

Moscow has said that the sanctions imposed by Washington on PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, in an attempt to undermine Nicolas Maduro’s power, are illegal. “The legitimate leadership of Venezuela has already described these sanctions as illegal. One can fully get behind this perspective,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The US Treasury Department said that the measures against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company were adopted in order to “change the behavior” of the government in power. Peskov said that the sanctions constitute blatant interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs and a demonstration of “unscrupulous competitiveness”. He added that Russia will endeavor to protect its own interests using international law. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the new sanctions are in violation of “all conceivable rules of international law” and are evidence of Washington’s desire to change the government in Venezuela. The Russian diplomat said that the US has “taken an open course towards overthrowing the legitimate government in this Latin American country”. “We… will do all we can in order to support the legitimate government of President Maduro,” Lavrov said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Russia slams U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and promises to back Maduro – The Washington Post

The penalties against oil companies are an instance of “unfair competition,” the Kremlin said.

Venezuela: Moscow offers to broker talks between Maduro and Guaidó | World | The Times

Russia is offering to mediate between President Maduro and his opposition rival in an attempt to avoid the overthrow of the Venezuelan leader. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said today that Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself the rightful president of the country, must set aside any pre-conditions he may have and start talks with Mr Maduro. The offer was made just hours before Mr Guaidó was due to attend mass protests across the country today to call for Mr Maduro to step down. The Kremlin wants other countries to help mediate the talks and has approached China, Latin American and European nations. The US has not been invited. In an interview with Ria Novosti, the Russian state news agency, President Maduro said he…

Two wrenches in Washington’s oil sanctions against Venezuela: China and Russia

On Monday, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports in an effort to squeeze authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro. Although U.S. sanctions may well do the trick and pave the way for a stable resolution to the crisis, there are complicating factors : China and Russia.

Venezuela Targets Opposition Leader With Travel Ban, Bank-Account Freeze

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ordered a travel ban on the opposition leader Juan Guaido and frozen his bank accounts.

Venezuela’s top prosecutor targets interim president with criminal probe | TheHill

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday opened an investigation into opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela’s Maduro says he’s ready to talk to opposition: Russia RIA

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told Russian state news agency RIA in an interview broadcast on Wednesday he is ready for talks with the opposition, with the participation of international mediators.

Venezuela power struggle heats up with Guaido curbs, protest plans | Reuters

The fight for control of Venezuela intensified on Wednesday as the government pushed a probe that may lead to the arrest of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido who called for new street protests.

Venezuela top court curbs opposition leader Juan Guaidó – BBC News

The country’s Supreme Court approves a travel ban and an asset freeze on Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela crisis: Maduro says he’s willing to negotiate with opposition, international mediators – CNN

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said he is willing to meet with opposition leaders and international mediators to bring about a solution to the country’s ongoing political crisis, but ruled out holding any new presidential elections until 2025.

Maduro faces backlash from Chavistas amid Venezuela upheaval: ‘My hopes are set on a change’ | The Independent

Venezuela is facing an atypical moment: two men claim to be the country’s president. On one side is Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, elected president in May 2018. A re-election that was widely derided as fraudulent, with opposition politicians barred from running and the electoral board run by Maduro loyalists.

Venezuela protests: At least 40 people dead – CNN

Protests in Venezuela over the power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and self-declared leader Juan Guaidó have led to the deaths of at least 40 people, the UN says.

Venezuela crisis death toll rises as US backing of Juan Guaido extends to new sanctions on Nicolas Maduro government – CBS News

United Nations says 40 people have been killed and hundreds more arrested as U.S. tightens financial noose on embattled president

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó: We’re waking up from a nightmare to dream of a prosperous country | Fox Business

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó is aiming to lead his country to democracy.

As pressure mounts on Venezuela’s Maduro, what will the country’s military do?

As international pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro rises, analysts and former Venezuelan military leaders discuss possible scenarios involving the military and whether they would support Juan Guaidó.

U.S. hands control over Maduro regime’s accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Guaido – news world | UNIAN

Washington has given control over the Venezuelan government accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Juan Guaido, the U.S. Department on State said in a statement titled “Protecting Venezuela’s Assets for Benefit of Venezuelan People” released Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019. The American diplomats have called on other governments to take similar steps to protect Venezuela’s patrimony. Washington has given control over the Venezuelan government accounts in U.S. banks to interim President Juan Guaido, the U.S. Department on State said in a statement titled “Protecting Venezuela’s Assets for Benefit of Venezuelan People” released Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019. “On January 25, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo certified the authority of Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido to receive and control certain property in accounts of the Government of Venezuela or Central Bank of Venezuela held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S. insured banks,” reads the statement. The diplomats added that the move was in line with Section 25B of the Federal Reserve Act.

US Sanctions Will Squeeze Venezuela Output to Almost Nothing – Bloomberg

Trump’s new restrictions leave little scope for a buyer of Venezuelan crude to appear from anywhere. Flows could trickle to nearly a halt.

Venezuela’s Choking Points: Here’s Where Maduro Gets His Revenue

It is also about how much of the country’s dwindling financial resources President Nicolas Maduro can keep his hands on. The U.S., backed by Brazil, Canada and others, has recognized Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader, as Venezuela’s legitimate president, and is trying to channel as much of the

Exclusive: Venezuela proposes new oil contract terms to sidestep U.S. sanctions

The U.S. government issued an executive order on Monday freezing PDVSA assets and requiring U.S. firms to pay for PDVSA oil using accounts controlled by the country’s congress head and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido. The sanctions were aimed at pressuring socialist President Nicolas Maduro

Sanctions on Venezuela’s oil firm sends U.S. refiners scrambling

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., known as PDVSA, to cripple the OPEC member’s oil shipments, which account for nearly all of Venezuela’s exports, in response to the reelection of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a vote widely viewed as fraudulent

U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela’s Crude Giant Boost Oil Prices – WSJ

Oil prices advanced after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, potentially further hindering supply in the economically embattled OPEC country.

Colombia denies speculation about military intervention in Venezuela – Defence Blog

Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos has released a statement denying a report that his government going to provide the United States will military bases so that the latter could launch a possible military invasion in Venezuela. For several days now, Colombian officials have refuted speculation that the country will take part or support military intervention in Venezuela. Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said Colombia will continue “acting politically and diplomatically” so that democratic order is restored in Venezuela and new elections are held. This statement he made after US national security adviser John Bolton seemed to be broadcasting big plans for the regime-change operation in Venezuela when he was photographed with a yellow legal pad on which he’d scrawled “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Bolton’s notes raise questions on U.S. military plans amid Venezuela tensions | Reuters

White House national security adviser John Bolton raised questions about the United States’ intentions in Venezuela after he appeared at a briefing on Monday with a notepad containing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” which neighbors Venezuela.

John Bolton’s notes may have revealed possible military plans for Venezuela

National security adviser John Bolton was spotted on Monday holding a notepad with the words “5,000 troops to Colombia” scrawled across the top of the front page in blue ink.

“5,000 troops to Colombia”? Nation responds to Bolton’s note – CBS News

Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said Colombia does not know the &quot;importance and reason&quot; for Bolton's note

How Seriously Should the World Take Trump’s Venezuela Threat? – Defense One

This isn’t the first time the president has threatened military force against the country, but now he is surrounded by regime-change advocates. On Monday, as Donald Trump’s administration ratcheted up its pressure on the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, the White House wanted Maduro to know that sanctions on the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, might not be the end of the road. “Look, the president has made it very clear on this matter that all options are on the table,” National-Security Adviser John Bolton said during a White House briefing. He also said that violence against not only U.S. personnel in Venezuela but also the National Assembly and Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. has recognized as the country’s legitimate leader, would be “met with a significant response.” Bolton declined to say quite what that meant. “We’re not going to define it, because we want the Venezuelan security forces to know how strongly we think that President Guaidó, the National Assembly, the opposition, and most importantly American personnel [should not be] harmed.” (In either an elaborate mind game or a stunning display of absent-mindedness, Bolton also allowed photographers to see a legal pad on which was scrawled, “5,000 troops to Colombia.”) This was, on the one hand, a remarkably blunt intimation of military action, especially coming from the administration of Donald Trump, who ran for president while criticizing foreign military adventurism. On the other hand, it was yet another threat from an administration that has often failed to follow through on them. The question is whether Venezuela will be different, and whether the presence of veteran regime-change advocates such as Bolton and Elliott Abrams will make the difference.

How Trump’s Venezuela Sanctions Could Undercut His Iran Policy – Foreign Policy

The U.S. president takes direct aim at Maduro’s power, but the economic pain could spread.

Conservatives Press OAS to Take Tougher Stand Against Maduro, Cuban Infiltration 

The oldest Western Hemisphere regional group is coming under increasing pressure to take more forceful action against Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.

A nation with two presidents: How a political crisis has unfolded in Venezuela – Los Angeles Times

Venezuela now has two presidents — Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election in May has been widely held as rigged, and Juan Guaido, who swore himself in as the country’s president shortly after assuming the head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress. Here is a how Venezuela got there.

Citgo: How an American oil refinery became a lifeline for the Venezuelan government – The Washington Post

As tensions mount between the United States and President Nicolás Maduro, a Houston-based company is in the middle once again.

Seize the money of Venezuelan kleptocrats to help the country and its people – The Washington Post

The world should look to the graft-lined pocketbooks of the Venezuelan officials who created the crisis.

Opinion | The U.S. Role in Venezuela’s Turmoil – The New York Times

Readers debate whether the United States should support the opposition leader trying to oust Venezuela’s president.

Maduro Claims Trump Ordered Colombian Government, Mafia to Kill Him – Sputnik International

CARACAS, January 30 (Sputnik) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told Sputnik in an exclusive interview that he was sure that US President Donald Trump ordered the Colombian government and mafia to kill him.

Maduro claims Trump ordered Columbian government and mafia to kill him — RT World News

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has claimed that Donald Trump ordered the Colombian government and mafia to assassinate him, but insisted that he’s well protected from the threat of assassination.

US Should Avoid Seeking to Employ Any Military Option in Venezuela – Ex-US Envoy – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States should avoid seeking a military option to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, former US Ambassador to Paraguay Timothy Towell told Sputnik.

Maduro is Not Protecting Russian, Chinese Investment – Venezuela’s Guaido – Sputnik International

CARACAS (Sputnik) – Venezuela’s self-proclaimed acting president and leader of the country’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, has told CNN in Spanish that incumbent Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, is not protecting Chinese and Russian investment in Venezuela.

Cryptocurrency, Economy Experts Support Maduro in Clash With Bank of England – Sputnik International

The Venezuelan government led by Nicolas Maduro introduced the state-backed cryptocurrency El Petro in 2018 in a bid to circumvent US sanctions against the country. However the Petro was backed, among other things, by gold with $1.2 billion worth of it stored in the Bank of England, which has recently refused to repatriate it.

Maduro says next election will take place in 2025, rejects Europe’s 8-day ultimatum — RT World News

President Nicolas Maduro has rejected an ultimatum issued by Europe which called for new elections in Venezuela within 8 days, saying instead that the next presidential elections will be held in 2025.

‘US pawn that can be discarded any time’– Max Blumenthal on ‘president’ Guaido — RT World News

Self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela Juan Guaido is a “product of US-backed regime change factory” installed to do Washington’s bidding, journalist Max Blumenthal told RT, arguing the only US interest there is oil.

‘Hands off Venezuela’: Maduro slams Trump in English (VIDEO) — RT World News

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro addressed Donald Trump in English to demand that Washington keep its “hands off” the country, after the US imposed sanctions on its state oil company in recognition of Juan Guaido as president.

Venezuela Resolution Held Up Over Concerns About Military Action – Bloomberg

A resolution recognizing Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela is stalled in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Democrats seek to avoid giving President Donald Trump an endorsement for military intervention in the strife-torn country.

4 Myths Democrats Are Spreading About Venezuela To Support A Dictator

The sudden outpouring of support for Maduro by American congressmen and congresswomen should concern anyone with a cursory understanding of history.

Democrats should stand for democracy in Venezuela — and democratic values in America – The Washington Post

Simply because democracy promotion is fraught with peril does not mean Democrats should shy away from articulating the right way to do it.

The Left Keeps Getting Venezuela Wrong – Foreign Policy

Anti-imperialists prefer a Russian-backed dictator to a public revolt.

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