Information operations · Information Warfare · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (10)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s Zakharova points out US military actions possible in Venezuela but neglects to mention the humanitarian crisis affecting millions, exacerbated by the Venezuelan Maduro military blocking aid from flowing into the country through their borders.

The ongoing propaganda war feels, tastes, and looks exactly like it did during the Cold War.

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Aid blockade continues as trucks queue up at the border crossing. Excellent call-to-arms by BGen Rivero, driven out of Venezuela by the regime. Reports of mounting desertion problem in the military over the last year. Exodus of skilled oil industry workers overseas. Russia denies any consideration of extracting Maduro and associates from Caracas. Zakharova claims US preparing major military action against the regime. Administration encourages regime to seek exile. Excellent White House video message to Venezuelan public on Twitter. Analyses and OpEds, and a report on how the Chavista regime stole 40% of the national gold reserves. A sampling of Russian propaganda.

How long will the regime last? That will depend on how long the Chavez promoted leadership can maintain cohesion within its largely dysfunctional military.

BGen Antonio Rivero | Will Venezuela’s military turn on Maduro? – The Washington Post

Change depends on us.

Venezuelan National Guardsmen Have Been Deserting in Big Numbers

(Bloomberg) — Even before the U.S.-backed leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly called on the military to abandon President Nicolas Maduro, the government was trying to stop a surge of desertions and ordered border guards to stop soldiers trying to leave the country without permission.

Documents Reveal Venezuelan Soldiers Deserting, as Tensions Rise

Nicolás Maduro still has the backing of the Venezuelan military, despite new documents revealing thousands of soldiers who have deserted in recent years.

Why the army’s loyalty is key in Venezuela’s crisis | Euronews

The Chavista leader knows that the military’s support is key to keeping himself in power.

Oil workers flee Venezuela’s crisis for a better life | Fox News

Nieves Ribullen, a Venezuelan oil worker sick of struggling to get by as his country falls apart, is betting it all on far-away Kurdistan to give his family a better life.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Maduro’s evacuation from Venezuela not on Kremlin’s agenda, says Putin’s spokesman

Moscow and Washington are not discussing the ways to settle the Venezuelan crisis, Peskov also stressed

Kremlin Denies About-Face on Maduro, Brushes Off Evacuation Plans

The Kremlin has denied that it is wavering in its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro following media reports that Russia is beginning to doubt the leader’s ability to survive an opposition challenge. While Moscow has publicly backed Maduro as he faces calls to step down, Bloomberg on Wednesday cited unnamed sources close to the Kremlin as saying that Russia is beginning to worry over the embattled leader’s weakening hand. At least one Russian senator has publicly acknowledged that “time isn’t on Maduro’s side” amid the Venezuelan political and economic crisis as more countries declare support for opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Russia Concerned Maduro’s Grip on Venezuela Slipping Away

Russian officials are growing concerned Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro will not be able to keep power, according to a report.

Russia says it knows of US plan for military intervention in Venezuela – Defence Blog

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, during her weekly news briefing, said that the USA already made the decision on “forceful” intervention in Venezuela. “There are still signs coming from Washington about the possibility of using force in order to overthrow the legal authorities, including through direct military invasion. This is actually being spoken about openly in the White House. I would like to recall that this kind of statement from the mouth of American officials is a direct violation of Article 2 Par. 4 of the UN Charter, ordering all UN members to refrain from the threat or use of force in international relations”, Zakharova said at a news briefing in Moscow. According to Zakharova, the decision on the use of force has already been made by Washington, “everything else is nothing more than a covering operation”.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also stated that the United States has incited Venezuela’s military to commit crimes, promising them amnesty for betraying the country’s authorities. “Washington has turned to direct threats of sanctions to the Venezuelan military, who remain loyal to the legitimate government. That is just a different, new reading of the ‘carrot and stick’ approach. On the one hand, they threaten a potential punishment. On the other hand, they promise a potential reward”, Zakharova added.

Secretary Pompeo on Twitter: “The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE…”

Jeremy Hunt on Twitter: “What could be more disgusting than Maduro and his thugs stopping humanitarian aid reaching desperate Venezuelans by barricading the roads? Oh there is one thing: Labour politicians here supporting him. Time to back @jguaido. #Venezuela.”

John Bolton on Twitter: “I wish Nicolas Maduro and his top advisors a long, quiet retirement, living on a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela. They should take advantage of President Guaido’s amnesty and move on. The sooner the better.”

US suggests self-exile for Nicolas Maduro in Cuba, Russia

The Trump administration suggested Thursday that Venezuela strongman Nicolas Maduro should leave the country and live in Cuba, Russia, or elsewhere to help speed up Venezuela’s transition to democracy.

Elliott Abrams: ‘A Number of Countries’ Have Offered to Accept Maduro

Elliott Abrams, who leads the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, said several countries have offered to take in Nicolás Maduro.

La Casa Blanca on Twitter: “… “

Spanish White House Video Compares Venezuela’s Maduro to Stalin

The White House published a Spanish-language video on Thursday comparing socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro to Josef Stalin.

Hungry Venezuelans seek food at Colombian border, as Maduro blocks entry of supplies

Thousands of Venezuelans sought food and supplies across the border in Cucutá, Colombia, as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has blocked truckloads of aid from going in to the country.

Aid Convoy Arrives at Tense Venezuelan Border – WSJ

Trucks escorted by Colombian police began arriving at this border crossing bearing humanitarian aid that opponents of Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, say they plan to transport into Venezuela against his will.

Aid Trucks Arrive as Maduro’s Forces Dig In at Border Bridge

Two trucks arrived in the Colombian border town of Cucuta, and took the supplies to a warehouse next to an unused bridge that connects the countries. The supplies will be sent into Venezuela next week, opposition lawmaker Gaby Arellano said in a phone interview.

Venezuela aid trucks arrive in Colombia as EU calls for dialogue

The arrival of the aid convoy, which includes supplies provided by the United States, has increased the pressure on Maduro hours after a European Union-backed group called for dialogue and elections and warned against interventionism. Maduro has rejected the aid convoy as a “political show”

Venezuela crisis: Aid lorries stuck in Colombia border city – BBC News

Vehicles with US food and medicine are unable to cross a border bridge, blocked by Venezuela.

Trucks with humanitarian aid are heading to Cucuta – YouTube

AFP news agency Published on Feb 7, 2019 Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are on their way to Cucuta, a Colombian city at the Venezuelan border, as ministers from more than a dozen European and Latin American states began meeting in Montevideo to negotiate a solution to the crisis as the rival leaders clashed in Caracas over allowing humanitarian aid into the impoverished country. IMAGES

US aid arrives at Colombia border despite Maduro rejection | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera

Convoy carrying food and medicines reaches Colombia’s Cucuta a day after Venezuela barricades its side of the border.

Tensions escalate over delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela – The Washington Post

The Maduro government blasted the promise of aid as a ploy by United States and other opposition supporters.

UN says ready to send aid if Caracas govt approves

UN agencies are ready to send aid to Venezuela as requested by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who more than 40 nations recognise as interim president, but they can only act with authorisation from the Caracas government, a spokesman said on Thursday. Backed by the United States, European and Latin American

Maduro vs. Guaidó: A Global Scorecard – Foreign Policy

Support is waning for the Venezuelan president, but he still has Russia and China on his side.

US military ready protect diplomats in Venezuela: admiral – Business Insider

The US Navy admiral in charge of US Southern Command said his forces were ready to protect US personnel and diplomatic facilities in Venezuela.

Amnesty Offer Could Oust Maduro. Critics Call It a Road to Impunity. – The New York Times

Opposition leaders hope the overture will entice the military to reject the president and support them. But critics say some crimes should not be forgiven.

Trump imposes travel bans on Maduro’s scab lawmakers

President Trump is imposing travel bans on individuals who populate the alternate legislature that Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro established to sideline opposition leaders.

U.S. Will Pull Visas of Venezuelan Officials of Maduro Regime – WSJ

The U.S. will revoke visas held by government officials serving under authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro, the top U.S. envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said Thursday.

Europe’s ‘Foreign’ in Search of a ‘Policy’ – WSJ

The EU’s Venezuela follies show the limits of Brussels’s diplomacy.

‘What the Hell Is Going On?’ How a Small Group Seized Control of Venezuela’s Opposition – WSJ

The plan to unseat Nicolás Maduro came together quickly and secretly, taking many within the country’s notoriously fractious opposition by surprise. It was a big gamble by a small group of leaders who wanted to stop negotiating and take action.

Two Ways the Venezuelan Crisis Might End – Defense One

President Maduro seems likely to hold power only as long as he can pay off military elites.

Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold – Bloomberg

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence.

Venezuela’s Maduro Sold 40% Of The National Gold Reserves Last Year | Kitco News

(Kitco News) – More than 40% of Venezuela’s gold reserves were sold off last year alone, as President Nicolas Maduro cashed in to keep the government running, according to media reports citing Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Carlos Paparoni. The gold was sold without the needed approval of the opposition-led National Assembly, Reuters said on Wednesday. The money was used by Maduro to keep some of the government programs running as well as to transfer millions to bondholders, Bloomberg reported.

The American left needs to find its voice on Venezuela – The Washington Post

The tattered Latin American nation doesn’t need a hands-off approach.

Political Observer Explains Why Italy Didn’t Back Other EU States on Venezuela – Sputnik International

At least 17 EU countries have officially recognised Mr Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. However, Greece and Italy stopped short of recognising Mr Guaido though called for fresh elections in Venezuela. Sputnik has discussed the crisis in Venezuela with Paolo Salom, a political observer with Corriere della Sera.

Hillary Clinton Has High Hopes for Ousting Maduro Peacefully – Sputnik International

In a recent interview with CBS, US President Donald Trump stated he considered a military intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the government of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro as an “option”. Caracas has slammed the US president for such a suggestion and vowed to protect the country’s “territory and values”.

Venezuelan Opposition to Get Money From US Fund Filled With Oil Money – Report – Sputnik International

Washington earlier imposed sanctions against Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA and passed control over some of its foreign funds held by US-insured banks to Juan Guaido, a leader of the opposition, who proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela.

Juan Guaidó: The Man Who Would Be President of Venezuela Doesn’t Have a Constitutional Leg to Stand On

Juan Guaido claims that his new self-ascribed job title is keeping with Article 233 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution. But is this the case?