Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (6)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia took tons of Venezuelan gold and in return, Russia gave Venezuela $100 million in cash to prop up the Maduro government.  Still, rumors of Wagner PMC on the ground, and I cannot rule out that possibility.  Maduro is being supported by Russian propaganda, but does that translate to support on the ground? 

One Venezuelan Air Force two-star general defected from Maduro, there appears to be maximum coverage of that event.  

The propaganda war surrounding this “blessed event” (not the word I want to use) will be interesting.  Most likely Russia will give a short-term full-court press, with a PMC (Wagner) and full-blown propaganda support. 

In this compilation, there are all sorts of discussions regarding the Russian support for Venezuela – pro, con, short term, long term, etc. Russia has an island of support in Venezuela, literally, and is one of the few nations in the world which is friendly to Russia, although it is widely perceived that Venezuela is a bought and paid for ally.

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MAJGEN Francisco Yanez of the Venezuelan AF defected this weekend to the opposition – his video statement is worth watching, as he alleges nepotism in the Chavez appointed military leadership.

Protests continue. Regime refuses to fold – likely being encouraged by Muscovy and Havana to hold its ground until the end. Debate over US political Left supporting the regime continues.

Venezuelan Military Slams ‘Traitor’ Air Force General Who Defected to Opposition – Sputnik International

Venezuela descended into chaos last week after National Assembly chief Juan Guaido proclaimed himself acting president, with the US and its allies in Europe and Latin America recognising him as such, while Caracas accused Washington of attempting to topple the country’s democratically elected government.

TASS: World – Venezuelan president includes people’s militia in Venezuela’s armed forces

Maduro declared earlier the establishment of more than 50,000 people’s militia units in Venezuela in the coming months

🇻🇪 Maduro defiant after military defections; proposes new parliamentary elections | Al Jazeera – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Feb 2, 2019 Tens of thousands of people have been rallying in Venezuela for and against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. He’s showing no signs of backing down from a standoff with opposition leader Juan Guaido, despite two more defections from the military. But while Maduro rejects demands for new presidential elections, he offered early elections for the opposition-controlled National Assembly. Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman reports from Caracas.

Tens of thousands protest in Venezuela to urge Nicolás Maduro to resign – YouTube

Guardian News Published on Feb 2, 2019 Opposition supporters held a nationwide protest on Saturday in a bid to keep up the pressure on president Nicolás Maduro after the international community widely recognised self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president.

Venezuela’s Guaido urges military defections amid protests – ABC News

Venezuela’s opposition leader urged more members of the military to abandon the country’s socialist government following Saturday’s defection of a top general

🇻🇪 Venezuelan general recognises opposition leader Guaido as president l Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Feb 2, 2019 A high-ranking Venezuelan air force general said he had disavowed President Nicolas Maduro and now recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim head-of-state, according to a video circulating on Twitter on Saturday.

Venezuelan air force general becomes first high-ranking official to defect

A Venezuelan air force general on Saturday became the country’s first senior military official to defect from President Nicolás Maduro’s government, announcing support for mass protests to oust the socialist dictator.

Venezuela CRISIS: Military turns on Maduro as general calls for UPRISING – ‘it’s imminent’ | World | News |

VENEZUELA’S armed forces have already disavowed President Nicolas Maduro and a “transition to democracy is imminent”, a high-ranking Venezuelan general has declared.

High-Ranking General Rejects Maduro, Who Proposes Earlier Parliamentary Elections : NPR

Francisco Yanez is the first high-ranking officer to publicly voice support of Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó. Both anti- and pro-government demonstrations are taking place on Saturday. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro proposed holding congressional elections earlier than planned, as a high-ranking air force general called on colleagues to join him in disavowing Maduro’s presidency and protests continue to shake the country. “I come here to you to state that I don’t recognize the dictatorial authority of Nicolás Maduro,” Gen. Francisco Yanez said in a video that has circulated on social media on Saturday. He went on to endorse 35-year-old industrial engineer Juan Guaidó who leads the opposition-filled National Assembly. “To order the armed forces to keep repressing the people is to continue killing more people from hunger, diseases and god willing combat between ourselves,” he said. “The people have suffered enough.”

Francisco Yanez: Venezuelan air force general defects from Maduro’s side – The Washington Post

Gen. Francisco Yanez is the highest ranking military official to switch sides since a political crisis began in January.

Top Venezuela general rejects Maduro’s legitimacy, throws support behind interim president | Fox News

A top Venezuelan air force general said he doesn’t recognize President Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate leader and backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim head-of-state.

Venezuela’s Guaido urges military defections amid protests

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s opposition leader called on more members of the military to abandon the country’s socialist government following Saturday’s defection of a high-ranking general, while President Nicolas Maduro proposed holding early National Assembly elections that could potentially oust his challenger. Maduro’s call for early legislative voting is likely to intensify his standoff with rival Juan Guaido, who heads the opposition-controlled National Assembly and is demanding a new presidential election. Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate ruler on Jan. 23, and has the support of Washington and most South American nations.

‘We have an illegal president’: Protesters rally against Venezuela’s Maduro – YouTube

Washington Post Published on Feb 2, 2019 Protesters in Washington, D.C. gathered Feb. 2 to denounce Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the international community recognizes as the country’s leader. Read more: Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

Protest in Venezuela: Millions of demonstrators expected to flood the streets of Venezuela’s capital – CBS News

Millions are expected to flood the streets of Caracas on Saturday

Venezuela opposition rally to keep up pressure on Maduro | Reuters

Venezuela’s opposition supporters will hold rallies across the country on Saturday to show backing for self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido and to protest against the increasingly isolated socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

VP Mike Pence calls for end to Maduro government in Venezuela – YouTube

Global News Published on Feb 1, 2019 U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called for an end to the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela on Friday, saying he has “no legitimate claim to power.”

US military intervention in Venezuela not imminent: Bolton

National security adviser John Bolton said Friday that US military intervention in Venezuela is not imminent — but that all options remain on the table, according to a report.

John Bolton on Twitter: “Not only does Maduro require foreign paramilitary support to keep remaining threads of a failed dictatorship, but reports show he is flying out Venezuelan assets by the plane full. Is he stealing resources from the people to pay for Russian intervention?”


John Bolton on Twitter: “Pursuant to the request of Interim President Juan Guaido, and in consultation with his officials the US will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid—medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela. It’s time for Maduro to get out of the way.…”


Venezuela sells 29 TONNES of gold to UAE to generate cash for Maduro | World | News |

VENEZUELA is shipping 29 tonnes of its central bank gold reserves to the United Arab Emirates in return for euros in cash, a senior government official has said.

Plan to pull nearly $1B in gold out of Venezuela reportedly halted | Fox News

Plans by Venezuelan officials to ship 20 tons of gold overseas have been halted as the embattled presidency of Nicolas Maduro faces international pressure over to cede power to a transitional government and to protect the country’s hard assets.

How the US can stop Nicolas Maduro from stealing Venezuela’s gold

Let us empower the rightful leader of Venezuela to bring his people out of the abyss in which Maduro has them imprisoned.

Venezuela: Guaidó Seeks Support from Russia, China as Maduro Gov’t Remains Defiant | Democracy Now!

In the latest news from Venezuela, opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaidó said he has reached out to both Russia and China. The two countries are Venezuela’s top foreign creditors and have refused to recognize Guaidó’s claim to be president. This comes as Reuters is reporting the Maduro government plans to sell gold from central bank vaults to the United Arab Emirates for cash, as new sanctions from the U.S. threaten to further cripple the country’s economy. There are also reports that the Venezuela-owned oil company Citgo is considering filing for bankruptcy. On Thursday, hundreds of workers from the state-owned oil company PDVSA marched in Caracas in support of President Nicolás Maduro. This is Vice President Delcy Rodríguez addressing the march.

Maduro government detains, expels journalists in bid to keep power – The Washington Post

At least 10 journalists have been arrested over the past week, some at gunpoint.

Venezuela crisis: Why Russia has so much to lose – BBC News

Russia’s appetite for protecting relations with Caracas may be more limited than its rhetoric suggests.

Venezuela crisis: Putin’s new Cold War on America’s doorstep? – CNN

The crisis in Venezuela appears to be shaping up like a Cold War-style confrontation: The Kremlin is throwing its support behind embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, while Washington backs Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president.

Trump’s right in backing Guaido in Venezuela — but he needs to proceed with caution (Opinion) – CNN

The US position is one that many of us believe is justified — as long as Donald Trump and his top aides refrain from intervening militarily or significantly worsening the hardships of the Venezuelan people, Frida Ghitis says.

Will Juan Guaidó put an end to Hugo Chávez legacy? | Miami Herald

Saturday is the 20th anniversary since Hugo Chávez came to power in Venezuela. As the country braces for another national protest, many see Juan Guaidó as the man who will put an end to two decades of Chavismo.

Opinion | Venezuela’s Very Normal Revolution – The New York Times

For more than a decade, I have been fighting against a government. Now I am fighting for one.

The battle for Venezuela’s future | The Economist – YouTube

The Economist Published on Feb 1, 2019 Venezuela is on the brink. Last week Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president. Nicolás Maduro, the country’s despotic leader, clings on to power. How should the world help Venezuela? Click here to subscribe to The Economist on YouTube: On our cover this week Venezuela’s at the brink. A tenth of the population have fled, partly because they’re starving, medicines are running out, inflation is an estimated 1.7 million percent, The election last year was such a fast for the opposition boycotted it. Either the despot Nicolás Maduro falls or he doesn’t – in which case expect matters to get a lot worse in Latin America’s worst governed country. Last week Jaun Guaidó, the leader of the National Assembly in Venezuela, declared himself interim president pending elections. Immediately Mr. Guaidó was recognized by all the important democracies in the Americas apart from Mexico, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. As we’re going to press, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are pouring onto the streets demanding that Maduro step down. He’s wrecked the country, he’s wrecked the economy, he’s tortured his opponents, and at least 80% of Venezuelans are heartily sick of him and want him to stand down. The government has always depended on the Armed Forces and on armed vigilante gangs to put down opposition with force and often considerable bloodshed – but it’s running out of money to pay the men in uniform. A major in the National Guard only makes the equivalent of $15 a month – they’ve eat out their salaries by being allowed to steal money or dominate businesses. There’s even a general in charge of toilet paper distribution. The United States ratcheted up the pressure this week by saying that any oil that Venezuela sells to the United States, the money will go to the legitimate government i.e. the one controlled by Juan Guaidó rather than Maduro’s government. That’s a huge deal for Venezuela that’s the source of almost all its exports and it’s very difficult to sell Venezuelan crude oil anywhere else. By putting these sanctions on Venezuelan oil the American government is hoping to starve the Maduro regime of the funds it needs to oppress it’s people. Complicating matters is what one might call the axis of despots – particularly Russia. Vladimir Putin doesn’t like to see autocrats fall and does like to cause trouble in America’s backyard. It’s been reported that a group of Russian mercenaries have been sent to protect Nicolás Maduro. Whether that will be enough to protect a regime that has almost no friends at home, and very few abroad, remains to be seen. We think the world should recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela because he is, and offer Nicolas Maduro safe passage out of the country – perhaps to a comfortable retirement in Cuba. Once it’s no longer run by an incompetent tyrant the prospects for Venezuela are actually rather good. Within living memory it’s been a sophisticated liberal middle-class democracy. The knowledge of how to build such a society is still there in Venezuela and they could rebuild it again very quickly. For more from Economist Films visit: Check out The Economist’s full video catalogue: Like The Economist on Facebook: Follow The Economist on Twitter: Follow us on Instagram: Follow us on Medium:

Opinion: EU foreign policy has failed Venezuela in a crucial time | Opinion | DW | 02.02.2019

EU foreign ministers had almost found a common position on Venezuela, but they just barely missed the opportunity to support the opposition leader. It is an infuriatingly avoidable failure, writes Barbara Wesel.

Venezuela Unraveled – Foreign Policy

On the Podcast: A human rights activist describes life under Maduro.

Opinion | An Urgent Call for Compromise in Venezuela – The New York Times

The risk of a winner-takes-all approach in the country’s political crisis is extraordinary. It’s time to seek a negotiated transition.

History links Venezuela and Cuba through oil – CNN

Venezuelan oil is the lifeblood of Cuban economy. But Nicolas Maduro’s rival, Juan Guaidó, has already vowed to end Cuban influence in Venezuela, and any governmental change could upset the special relationship between the two countries.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Venezuelan Crisis Highlights Varied Calculations by Post-Soviet Countries, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 1 – The crisis in Venezuela has called attention to the increasing division between what used to be called East and West, between Russia, China, South Africa, and Turkey, and the US, the EU countries, and most of Latin America, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. That division has attracted enormous attention, but Venezuela has also brought into sharp focus the increasing divisions among the countries of the former Soviet space, divisions that are driven by the national interests of the various countries, the editors of the Moscow paper say in a lead article ( If Russia is on one side, the paper notes, Georgia is on the other, not only because of its desire to distinguish itself in the eyes of Washington” but also because of it hope that a new Venezuelan government will withdraw the recognition the Chavez-Maduro regime extended to the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Those two entities, Nezavisimaya gazeta continues, are showing a somewhat more “contradictory” approach. The leaders of both attended Maduro’s inauguration, hopeful that Venezuela would provide them with needed assistance. But the economy of that Latin American country has tanked, and they no longer can hope for much. Indeed, the likelihood is that a post-Madurov government would revisit the issue of the recognition of the two that Chavez extended. Belarus is also very much interested in the situation in Venezuela. Alyaksandr Lukashenka made a deal with Caracas for oil to substitute for the petroleum he had been getting from Russia but a supply that is in question given tensions between Minsk and Moscow. To make that possible, Minsk has been investing in Venezuela but is unlikely to see a return. Whatever outcome there is in Caracas, Minsk can count on only a partial repayment of the debt, but not now or anytime soon. “In a word,” the editors, say, Belarus finds itself in the very same position that Russia does.” But Minsk is taking a more cautious wait-and-see approach to events there. Lukashenka’s line in this case may be the product of simple pragmatism, the editors continue. But he may be taking a longer view, possibly considering offering one or another Venezuelan leader political asylum much as he has done with Kurmanbek Bakiiyev, the former president of Kyrgyzstan. What is important about this editorial is the following: Instead of viewing what this or that post-Soviet state is doing only through the lens of its attitude in support or opposition of Russia’s position, the paper is arguing that each of the countries in the region has its own complex calculus for doing what it does. That is a lesson many in Moscow and not only there have not yet learned.

Venezuela is the socialist-wasteland that Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democrats are leading the US toward | Fox News

There is not a single reason to believe that if America follows the path laid out by Ocasio-Cortez and others, we won’t ultimately end in a Venezuelan-style wasteland.

Bernie Sanders is dead wrong about what’s happening in Venezuela – The Washington Post

This is not another yanqui intervention from the United States.

Mexico, Uruguay Should Avoid Neutral Stance on Venezuela Crisis – Guaido – Sputnik International

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Mexico and Uruguay should take the “right side” in the conflict between the Venezuelan authorities and the opposition, and not neutral positions, Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido said Friday.

We must avoid mistake of Libya: Italian deputy FM speaks out against Venezuela regime change — RT World News

Italy “does not recognize” Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as its interim president, the European country’s deputy foreign minister said, warning that a Libya-style regime change must be avoided.