Information operations · Information Warfare · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (24)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Meltdown continues inexorably. Russian attempts to prop up the regime continue, as do Chinese. Guaido activists take over embassy in US. Cuban doctors publicly disclose Chavista use of medical welfare to blackmail voters.

Notable is also the debate in Western political circles, as divisions arise in the political Left over whether to support or bring down this fundamentally corrupt regime.

Marco Rubio on Twitter: “Last night #Maduro called on armed pro-regime gangs to step up street actions. Today at 3pm @jguaido will lead a large street protest in #Caracas. Strong reasons to be concerned that we could see increased violence & severe repression today in #Venezuela”

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Senior Russian diplomat confirms meeting with US special envoy for Venezuela on March 19

This is a scheduled contact, this is not a spontaneous meeting

‘Economic War Against Us’: Venezuela Sanctions, Asset Seizures Cause of ‘Crisis’ – Sputnik International

As the US pushes forward with seizing the Venezuelan government’s overseas properties, Venezuelans struggle to cope with the effects of the US “economic war” in the country, a journalist and solidarity activist who just returned from the country told Sputnik Monday.

Kaine: No Evidence U.S. Is Planning Venezuela Military Intervention | World | US News

Sen. Tim Kaine, recently returned from a trip to the Colombia-Venezuela border, has seen no signs of a military ramp-up, despite recent speculation.

Maduro’s Useful Idiots by Shlomo Ben-Ami – Project Syndicate

Much of the left in Europe and the US continues to subscribe to a Cold War worldview, in which virtually any domestic revolution stands in direct opposition to the ultimate enemy: Western imperialism. When it comes to Venezuela, that stance effectively advances the interests of multiple dictatorships.

Democrat ‘Young Turks’ Back Venezuela’s Maduro Over Trump |

Last week, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose anti-Semitic tropes triggered a congressional resolution against general bigotry, tweeted that Trump and U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams cannot be trusted to tell the truth about what’s happening in Venezuela.”

Socialism Isn’t the Enemy—Corruption Is, According to Noam Chomsky, James Galbraith, Richard D. Woolf, and Anat Admati – Pacific Standard

Corruption, not socialism, is the malignant tumor on democracy worldwide—in Venezuela, yes, but also here at home.

Exclusive: As Venezuela crisis deepens, U.S. sharpens focus on Colombia rebel threat | Reuters

As the United States makes its biggest diplomatic push in Latin America in years to try to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. military is zeroing in on a byproduct of the crisis: a strengthening of Colombian rebels on both sides of Venezuela’s border.

Guaido supporters in Venezuela ‘took control’ of diplomatic buildings, US says | Fox News

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido have taken control of three diplomatic buildings in the United States, the State Department confirmed Monday night.

Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US | News | DW | 19.03.2019

Envoys loyal to Venezuela’s interim president have taken control of diplomatic buildings and a consulate. Caracas has severed ties with the US, accusing it of staging a coup against acting President Maduro.

Venezuelan opposition seizes diplomatic offices in U.S.; Maduro official warns of “reciprocal action” – CBS News

President Nicolás Maduro's foreign ministry warned that his government could take &quot;reciprocal&quot; actions in Venezuelan territory

1,000 Venezuelan security forces crossed border since February, Colombian authorities say

About 1,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces have fled to Colombia since last month, abandoning Nicolas Maduro’s government, Colombian authorities said.

Maduro’s internet blackout stifles news of Venezuela crisis – Committee to Protect Journalists

One of the world’s biggest news stories on March 4 was the daring return to Venezuela of opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, who faced possible arrest by the authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro. But most Venezuelans were unable to follow his homecoming….

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will help Venezuela cope with blackouts

The ambassador of the Russian Federation in Venezuela, Vladimir Zaemsky said that Russia is ready to help Venezuela deal with the blackouts,  …

UAWire – Kremlin takes over sanctioned Russian-Venezuelan bank

The Russian government has decided to take over VTB Bank’s shares in Evrofinance Mosnarbank, which has come under sanctions for servicing payments by the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela. VTB’s share in the bank of 25% plus one share, which is held through VTB’s foreign offices and ITC Consultants, will most likely be transferred to the Federal Agency for State Property Management at no cost, VTB head Andrey Kostin announced on Thursday. “The decision has been made, and it has been approved by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov,” the Russian news agency TASS cites Kostin as saying. The deal will be processed soon after it has been approved by the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Bank of Russia. Kostin noted that VTB had tried to sell its share in the bank on a commercial basis. There had been an agreement that the government would buy the shares and the bank would become state-owned, but this decision “was not implemented”. Evrofinance Mosnarbank was recently cut off from international payments. Visa and Mastercard suspended the bank’s membership, which led to its cards being blocked internationally, even in Russia. The cards cannot be used even in the bank’s own ATMs, despite the fact that such a mechanism was meant to have been guaranteed since 2015 by the Bank of Russia’s national payment cards system. According to the US Treasury Department, Evrofinance had become the primary bank through which emissions of the failed Venezuelan cryptocurrency “El Petro” were financed: anyone who bought the cryptocurrency was encouraged to transfer the money to the Venezuelan government’s accounts at the Russian bank. Bloomberg reported that the Maduro government has been using the bank since October to pay its suppliers. Officials in Caracas reportedly urged local banks and companies to make their international transactions through Evrofinance. The Central Bank of Venezuela advised local banks to open accounts with Evrofinance in order to participate in currency auctions where bolivars were exchanged for dollars, euros and yuans. After the US imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, Evrofinance Mosnarbank has been used to process the company’s payments to contractors abroad.

China Vetoes Venezuelan Freedom – WSJ

At the U.N. as in Latin America, Beijing’s money outweighs morality.

Venezuela’s Power Grid Afflicted by Brain Drain, Corruption – WSJ

Hundreds of technicians have fled the country, leaving state electricity company Corpoelec badly in need of qualified professionals. Paired with corruption and a lack of maintenance, that means blackouts will only increase in number and length unless tens of billions of dollars in investments are made.

Cuban doctors on mission in Venezuela say they were forced to tie medical treatments to votes for Maduro | Fox News

Cuban doctors dispatched to Venezuela as part of Cuba’s mission to help the South American nation’s medical needs were pressed by the host government to tie crucial treatments and medication to a patient’s promise to vote for President Nicolas Maduro and his candidates in last year’s elections, according to The New York Times.

‘It Is Unspeakable’: How Maduro Used Cuban Doctors to Coerce Venezuela Voters – The New York Times

President Nicolás Maduro sent doctors door-to-door to warn the ill and elderly that care would be cut off unless they voted for the governing party, said 16 Cuban physicians who worked in Venezuela.

Trump Administration Officials Clash Over Relief for Venezuelan Immigrants – WSJ

As an embattled Nicolás Maduro clings to power in Venezuela, backed by the country’s military, the Trump administration is deadlocked over a key U.S. option for bolstering the opposition and keeping pressure on the regime, according to U.S. officials and an administration email exchange.​

Venezuela crisis: Businesses reopen after blackout | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera

Venezuela is recovering from a power outage that left most of the country in the dark for several days.

How to help Venezuelans oust Maduro

The collapse of Venezuela’s electrical grid this month triggered a struggle for power — literally, electricity — by narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro and…

Hands off Venezuela! Protesters rally against regime change outside White House — RT USA News

Hundreds of protesters are gathering in Washington DC to demand “No coup! No war! No sanctions!” on Venezuela, and show support for Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro against regime change efforts.

‘Hands Off Venezuela’ Protesters Say They Would Trade Trump For Socialist Dictator Maduro | The Daily Caller

The &quot;Hands Off Venezuela&quot; protesters are not only against any sort of intervention in Venezuela, but many actually believe Nicolas Maduro is a good leader.

Venezuelans Who’ve Fled Socialism Shred ‘Hands Off Venezuela’ Protesters | The Daily Caller

Venezuelans who’ve fled socialism held a counter-protest against &quot;Hands Off Venezuela&quot; the American group that’s against any sort of U.S. intervention in Venezuela.

Venezuelans ‘living like animals’ as taps run dry | World | The Times

Life without running water has taken a heavy toll on Miladis Avila and her family. Like most of the two million people in Caracas, the taps in her small flat have run dry since a power cut nine days ago knocked out electricity across Venezuela, taking the pumps from nearby reservoirs down with it.

Venezuela: The Raging Media War Ignores the Hunger of the Venezuelans


John Bolton on Twitter: “The countries of the IDB overwhelmingly voted to affirm Interim President Guaido’s nominee as the IDB representative for Venezuela. This is an important step towards the future reconstruction and prosperity of Venezuela free from Maduro’s corruption.”


John Bolton on Twitter: “We will continue to hold Maduro, his cronies, and their families accountable for corruption and plundering Venezuela’s resources. You have a choice: take concrete steps to promote democracy, protect civilians and allow in humanitarian aid; or face sanctions and isolation.”


The White House on Twitter: “.@SecPompeo: “I have a message for the Venezuelan people—the American people are with you.”… “


Venezuela’s Guaido launches national tour in ‘new phase’ to oust Maduro | Reuters

Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaido said on Saturday he was launching a “new phase” in his push to oust President Nicolas Maduro, pledging to travel across the country before “reclaiming” the presidential palace.

U.S. Envoy For Venezuela To Meet With Russian Deputy FM

The U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Rome on March 18-19, the U.S. State Department has said in a press release.

There are mounting signs of military planning for Venezuela

The idea of a U.S. push for “regime change” in the oil-rich South American country may be gaining momentum in the White House.

Maduro creates military unit to protect public service installations – Channel NewsAsia

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro created a military unit on Friday charged with protecting basic installations and services such as electricity …

Juan Guaido Claims It’s a ‘Fallacy’ to Think Russia, China Support Maduro – Sputnik International

President Nicolas Maduro has been stepping up pressure on Western governments that support Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, forcing out all American diplomats and kicking out a German envoy.

Venezuelan Opposition Leader: Russia, China Do Not Back Maduro 

Juan Guaido said at a rally Thursday in capital Caracas

Latam lender replaces Venezuela’s Maduro representative with Guaido economist | Reuters

The Inter-American Development Bank on Friday voted to replace the representative of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with an economist backed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, in a major setback for the Maduro government.

Venezuela Was Crumbling. A Blackout Tipped Parts of It Into Anarchy. – The New York Times

Maracaibo, the 2nd largest city, was without electricity for more than a week and saw mobs of looters, deteriorating bodies in morgues, abandoned patients in hospitals.

Venezuela’s Maduro is weaker than ever, but how long will he last? | Miami Herald

Venezuela’s crippling power outage has severely weakened Nicolás Maduro’s hold on office but there’s no telling how long he can cling to power, said Elliott Abrams, Washington’s Special Representative for Venezuela.

Engineer: Satellite suggests fire caused Venezuela outage – The Washington Post

In the week since a massive blackout left millions in Venezuela without power, both the government and opposition have put forward disputing theories on what caused the outage without providing any evidence

Venezuela’s inflation worse than that of Zimbabwe, Iran | Miami Herald

Venezuela’s opposition controlled congress says inflation is running 2.3 million percent a year. Steve Hanke, a Johns Hopkins economist, says Venezuela has by far the highest inflation in the world, surpassing Zimbabwe, Iran and Sudan

German reporter released by Venezuela returns home

A German reporter held by Venezuelan authorities for four months flew back home Sunday after being conditionally released, a Venezuelan NGO said. Billy Six, 32, “is in the air right now, flying from Caracas,” Carlos Correa, head of the Espacio Publico non-governmental group that defends free

American Airlines cancels flights into Venezuela over unrest

American Airlines suspended its service to strife-strewn Venezuela on Friday after key unions representing pilots and flight attendants told them to refuse the trips.

Venezuela’s Man-Made Power Outage | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Venezuela is becoming uninhabitable. The country with both the worst humanitarian crisis in the region and the highest inflation in the world is now facing a power outage that started on March 7. The blackout, which has been momentarily restored, covers most of the country’s territory and affects Venezuelans nearly everywhere.

Meet glamorous brunette behind Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó

Venezuela’s first lady in waiting, Fabiana Rosales, is a glamorous brunette and a social-media influencer, with more than half a million followers on Instagram.

Who is to blame for Venezuela’s problems? – Part 2: the case against Nicolas Maduro

As the fight for power in the South American country of Venezuela continues, Breaking Belize News is examining the arguments over who is to blame for Venezuela’s problems – its elected president Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded charismatic strongman Hugo Chavez following his death from cancer in 2009, or Venezuela’s primary enemy, the United States and its regional and international allies?