Information operations · Information Warfare · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (27)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

In some ways, the Venezuela situation is looking a bit like the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1962.  The difference is one is a superpower and one is trying to be, but both have huge nuclear arsenals.  But they’re facing off.  As far as Russia is concerned, the mere fact that Russia is not conceding gives Russia credibility to all the US-haters. Be sure, the trolls are going to be bragging about it on every forum they can find. They will consider this a victory, even if nobody with more than two brains cells agrees. On a positive influence-field note, it will almost be simple to see who is siding with Russia now. This is also a way for Hamilton-68 to add to their list of Russian trolls. 

Venezuela has a powerful ally in Russia, but Russia is not nearly as powerful as Venezuela wishes.  The secret to reading the tea leaves as to the outcome is to watch the maneuvering behind the scenes. There will be considerable agreements made, money passed, and arms twisted to determine the outcome.  Nobody wants a shooting war, so the might of both the US and Russia are somewhat moot. What is left?  The D, I, and E in DIME – Diplomacy, Information, and Economy. 

  • Russia’s diplomacy is loud, brash, and abrasive – and offers loud deals, while the US’ diplomacy is more cajoling, soft-spoken, but ferociously works behind the scenes.  Who knows if the US State Department will read “The Art of the Deal”?  Grade = ~
  • Russia’s information warfare is in many ways overwhelming, but it has been somewhat muted through their overuse, pomposity, and arrogance.  If Trump and Pompeo launch a healthy coordinated information effort, there is enough media which will amplify their message.  Grade = US advantage
  • The US’ economy is much more robust than Russia.  Russia can only talk oil. Grade – US advantage

Mitigating/extenuating circumstances.  

  • Maduro is in power, it is difficult to unseat an incumbent. 
  • Russia is fairly tight with Venezuela, they need each other. Russia needs an airbase, Venezuela needs cash.

Much of this discussion should center on the SVR plussed up by the GRU and FSB vs. the CIA, but we’ll see that story in about 25 years when it is declassified (unless the GRU spectacularly messes up again). 

Bottom line, Maduro cannot endure a protracted standoff with the West. Eventually, Guaido will takeover.  I do not expect Putin to extend his neck too far. 

</end editorial>

 POTUS tells the Russians to depart Venezuela, and states that “all options” are open if Russia does not comply. Russia responds with a Nyet.

Rogan argues in the WashEx that Venezuela is evolving along similar lines as the Syrian intervention by Russia. An exercise to bait the US and demonstrate US impotence does fit previous Russian plays. And the regime does need more confrontation with the West to feed its domestic agenda.

Simple strategies for hobbling Russia and Cuba range from Cuba-style air and sea blockades, up to a full conventional all arms campaign to topple the regime. Ultimately the US has the very same  “escalation dominance” advantage in Latin America many in DC argued in 2014 as the reason why the US should not support Ukraine. So Russia does not have a good hand to play in the military and strategic domain. They seem to imagine that POTUS will somehow become an uncritical Russophile as the Mueller investigation is over.

So far the evidence does not support this notion.

Russia dismisses US demand to withdraw troops from Venezuela | TheHill

Russia is dismissing calls to withdraw troops from Venezuela amid the South American nation’s ongoing leadership crisis, saying its presence is “in strict accordance” with the Venezuelan constitution.

Russia says it sent ‘specialists’ to Venezuela, rebuffs Trump | Reuters

Russia said on Thursday it had sent “specialists” to Venezuela under a military cooperation deal but said they posed no threat to regional stability, brushing aside a call from U.S. President Donald Trump to remove all military personnel from the country.

Venezuela crisis: Guaido calls for mass protests to try to oust Maduro

Venezuela’s opposition leader has urged supporters to prepare for a final push to try to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump Meets at White House With Spouse of Venezuelan Opposition Leader – WSJ

The U.S. condemned Russia’s support of Venezuela’s embattled president during a meeting that President Trump held with the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the White House has declared the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Fabiana Rosales, Juan Guaido’s wife, emerges as force in Venezuela

Fabiana Rosales’ age and informal dress belie an inner toughness and maturity cultivated with her activist husband Juan Guaido.

Donald Trump says ‘Russia has to get out’ of Venezuela – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to “get out” of Venezuela following recent reports of Russian planes arriving in the country.

Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela and said that “all options” were open to make that happen.

U.S. President Donald Trump Tells Russia To ‘Get Out’ Of Venezuela

U.S. President Donald Trump has called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Venezuela and warned that “all options” were open to achieve that.

Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela – To Inform is to Influence

Steve Holland, Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela and said that “all options” were open to make that happen. The arrival of two Russian air force planes outside Caracas on Saturday believed to be carrying nearly 100 Russian special forces and cybersecurity…

Tom Rogan | Venezuela is becoming Trump’s version of Obama’s Syria

Until Jan. 24th, President Trump led the world in supporting Venezuelan human rights and that nation’s legitimate president, Juan Guaido.

UAWire – Organization of American States accuses Russia of military incursion in Venezuela

The Organization of American States (OAS) has accused Russia of making a military incursion in Venezuela. “The General Secretariat of the OAS rejects the recent Russian military incursion into Venezuelan territory, which was not authorized by the National Assembly, as required by the Venezuelan Constitution, and which was done in support of a government that has been declared illegitimate,” the organization stated in a press release. The OAS openly supports the self-declared interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the OAS’s statement “politically charged”. She said that the presence of Russian military specialists in Venezuela is regulated by an intergovernmental agreement on military and technical collaboration that was signed in May 2001 went through all the necessary ratification procedures in both countries. “Additional approval by the National Assembly of Venezuela of steps to develop the bilateral military and technical collaboration that are taken within the provisions of the said agreement are not required,” Zakharova said in a statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry website. On 23 March, two Russian military aircraft landed at the airport in Caracas, bringing around 100 Russian military personnel and 35 tons of cargo into the country.

Group of Lima members seek free elections in Venezuela | Miami Herald

Members of Latin America’s Group of Lima, which had demanded Nicolas Maduro’s resignation, are now exploring teaming up with the European Union’ s Group of Contact to seek free elections in Venezuela.

Venezuela news: Why Russia sent troops — and why Trump wants them out – Vox

Russia sent 100 troops to Venezuela likely to back Maduro against Guaido. Trump wants them out.

Russian Cybersecurity Team Deployed in Venezuela as China and Cuba Amp Up Support: Report

Two Russian air force planes landed near the capital city of Caracas with about 100 soldiers aboard, and U.S. officials believe the group included cybersecurity experts.

UAWire – Russia and U.S. exchanged accusations over situation in Venezuela

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had a telephone conversation to discuss the situation in Venezuela. Both the Russian Foreign Ministry and the United States Department of State stated that Pompeo and Lavrov exchanged accusations over the situation in Venezuela. Lavrov stressed that “Washington’s attempts to organize a coup d’état in Venezuela and threats against its legitimate government are a violation of the United Nations Charter and undisguised interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.” Mike Pompeo accused Russia of exacerbating tensions in Venezuela. “The continued Russian military involvement to support the illegal regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela can prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people, who overwhelmingly support interim president Juan Guaidó,” said the Secretary of State. He called on Russia to stop “unconstructive behavior” and join other countries “that are striving to achieve a better future for the Venezuelan people.” On March 23, two military transport aircraft, the AN-124 and Il-62, carrying military personnel, arrived in Caracas.

Bolton, After Meeting Brazil’s Defense Chief, Says ‘Maduro’s Days Numbered’ – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Tuesday that the Western hemisphere is united on resolving the Venezuelan crisis and the days of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “are numbered”.

Russia defends Venezuela troop deployment to back up Nicolas Maduro after Mike Pompeo’s warning – CBS News

Pompeo has warned Moscow the U.S. &quot;will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela&quot;

Russia on military planes in Venezuela: Our specialists are there based on cooperation treaty — RT World News

Russian specialists are in Venezuela as part of the 2001 military-technical cooperation deal with Caracas that doesn’t need further approval, Moscow said after reports of the arrival of two military planes with troops and cargo.

Russia confirms its military personnel arrived in Venezuela

MOSCOW — Russia’s Foreign Ministry says that Russian military personnel that arrived in Venezuela over the weekend has every right to be there. The rift…

Russia defends troops in Venezuela | News | DW | 26.03.2019

The military presence “is regulated by an agreement” between Moscow and Caracas, said the foreign ministry. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has rejected the deployment, saying it violates the constitution.

Will Russia release demons of war in Venezuela – news world | UNIAN

Russia sent two planes carrying almost a hundred Russian troops and fighters of so-called private military companies to Caracas, capital of Venezuela (where for the third month confrontation is ongoing between supporters of Guaido, whom the United States, most of Europe and Latin America have recognized the legitimate interim president, and Maduro, who has real power). Russia sent two planes carrying almost a hundred Russian troops and fighters of so-called private military companies to Caracas, capital of Venezuela (where for the third month confrontation is ongoing between supporters of Guaido, whom the United States, most of Europe and Latin America have recognized the legitimate interim president, and Maduro, who has real power). Russia’s support for the Maduro regime is fully integrated into the historical and contemporary Russian context. Russia has always been called “the gendarme of Europe”. After all, Moscow and in certain periods, Petersburg, has always been reactionary. If somewhere the revolution began, and progressive governments could come to power, the Russians intervened to suppress these processes. Maduro is the same as Bashar al Assad, but somewhat in a different proportion As a matter of fact, Moscow’s support for the Maduro regime, which proved its inability to manage the country with authoritarian notes, and its willingness to use force against its own citizens, explains it all. Maduro is the same as Bashar al Assad, but somewhat in a different proportion. In addition, Russia, in principle, has no allies or friends. And the Venezuelan regime since Hugo Chavez has been seemingly friendly to the Russian Federation. Therefore, there are certain friendly investments in Venezuela. When there were good energy prices, Venezuela was number one in the purchase of Russian killer scrap, that is, weapons, worth billions. There are also investments in the energy sector, there are loans which Russia allegedly needs to protect. Although it is very strange that, say, China, which has much more investment in Venezuela (more than half of Chinese investment in Latin America is concentrated in Venezuela) does not act similarly. I would be less surprised if I saw in Venezuela some Chinese servicemen who would thus try to stabilize the situation in order to protect their investments.

Venezuelan MPs to demand that Russia take its troops away

A group of lawmakers of Venezuela will be demanding that Russia withdraw its military from the country. TASS news agency reported that. ‘We join the demand of MP Marquina, urging Juan Guaido as the Commander-in-Chief to immediately order these gentlemen to leave, as in this particular moment, they invaded the Venezuelan territory’, MP Eliezer Sirit said during his speech at the Parliament. He reiterated that the National Assembly is the only authority in this country to allow the stay of foreign troops.

Venezuela’s Fate Depends Less on Putin Than on Trump – Bloomberg

Two cargo planes of military assistance aren’t enough to make a difference to Maduro’s survival.

Venezuela crisis latest: Nicolas Maduro blames blackout including in Caracas on terrorists | World | News |

VENEZUELAN president Nicolas Maduro has savaged the “terrorists” behind the latest blackouts to ravage a nation close to breaking point.

Venezuela hit by another power outage, Maduro blames sabotage | Fox News

For the second time this month, Venezuela is undergoing a power outage in many areas, forcing students and workers to stay home Tuesday.

VP Pence will meet with Venezuelan leader Guaidó’s wife | Miami Herald

Vice President Mike Pence will meet Wednesday with the wife of Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan leader the White House has embraced as the interim president. White House officials said Fabiana Rosales de Guaidó will join Pence for a bilateral meeting at the White House in which Pence will express the United States’ continued support for democracy in Venezuela.

Opinion | Venezuela’s Powerless Revolution – The New York Times

To end an electricity crisis, the opposition and Maduro’s regime have to agree to put the lives of the people above their political goals.

Venezuelan Military Official Deported From Colombia for Carrying Out Mission

A high-ranking Venezuelan military official has been deported from Colombia after being detained by migration officials for allegedly undertaking a mission to recover various items from his country’s now-closed embassy.

‘There is no life here’: Venezuelans grapple with another massive blackout

Widespread power outages in Venezuela have left people without the ability to work and many fear a repeat of the chaos that came after the country’s largest-ever blackout a few weeks ago.

Venezuela crisis: The battle for influence between the US and Russia

The U.S. and Russia are locked in a battle for influence over crisis-stricken Venezuela, with Washington and Moscow trading barbs over perceived meddling in the South American country.

Second major blackout leaves Venezuelans fearing power cuts will be the norm | Reuters

Venezuela’s government told workers and school children to stay home on Tuesday as the second major blackout this month left the streets of Caracas mostly empty and residents wondering how long power would be out amid a deepening economic crisis.