Information operations · Venezuela

Venezuela Meltdown Update (32)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Much happening in Venezuela, after weeks of building pressure. Unclear what the outcome will be in coming days. It does not appear the regime has any long term prospect of survival.

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “I am monitoring the situation in Venezuela very closely. The United States stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete….”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “….embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba. Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!”

Trump threatens embargo, sanctions against Cuba

President Trump warned that Cuba would face a “full and complete embargo” and high-level sanctions if it fails to stop military operations in Venezuela.

Trump says ‘all options are on the table’ in Venezuela: Bolton – YouTube

ABC News Published on Apr 30, 2019 National Security Adviser John Bolton addressed the unrest in Venezuela.

Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter: “To @jguaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad—Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios! #FreeVenezuela”

Secretary Pompeo on Twitter: “Today interim President Juan Guaido announced start of Operación Libertad. The U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated. #EstamosUnidosVE”

Senator Dick Durbin on Twitter: “Ambassador Bolton called me this morning with a briefing on the unfolding drama in Venezuela. This could be the beginning of the end for the corrupt and illegitimate Maduro regime.”

Maduro was ‘ready’ to leave Venezuela before Russia convinced him to stay, Pompeo tells Fox News | Fox News

The U.S. has learned Venezuela’s disputed president, Nicolas Maduro, was “ready” to leave the country amid protest violence and calls for his ouster — until Russia convinced him to stay, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Tuesday night.

Pompeo Says Russia Dissuaded Maduro From Fleeing Venezuela

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was ready to leave his troubled country for exile in Cuba but was persuaded by Russia to remain.

‘Operation Freedom uprising in Venezuela begins – CNN

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido has announced the beginning of the final phase of “Operation Freedom” to topple President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela Crisis: Guaidó Calls for Uprising as Clashes Erupt – The New York Times

The situation appeared to take a new turn after Juan Guaidó appeared at a military base in Caracas.

Guaido Calls for Another Day of Massive Street Protests

President Nicolas Maduro appeared on Venezuelan TV to say the opposition is trying to impose an ‘illegitimate government’ backed by the US and Colombia

Head of Venezuela’s secret police breaks with Maduro | Fox News

The head of Venezuela’s feared secret police has turned his back on disputed President Nicolas Maduro in an open letter made public Tuesday night.

US fumes at Russia and Cuba as Guaidó uprising falters

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s attempt to gain power in Caracas faltered Tuesday because of Russian and Cuban support for strongman Nicolás Maduro, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Venezuela Convulses And Russia Frets: What Does Moscow Stand To Lose If The Maduro Government Falls?

long with Nicaragua, Venezuela has served as sort of beachhead for Russian influence in the Western Hemisphere in recent years.

Maduro’s Media Crackdown Fails as Protests Overwhelm Caracas – Defense One

The blue armband uprising of Venezuelan soldiers shows that viral messaging remains the future of protest.

UAWire – Venezuelans transfer $300 million to Russian banks

The amount held by Venezuelan entities in Russian banks grew by 29% to $1.16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to statistics from the Bank of Russia. Venezuelan companies and individuals transferred $337 million to Russian credit organizations over the three month period. This increase could be the result of Venezuelans transferring funds from American banks due to the risk of sanctions, observes analyst Dmitry Monastyrshin from Promsvyazbank. “It could be legal entities or physical entities, it could also be trade relations, for example prepayment for goods shipments,” he notes. “It is quite possible that, fearing the imposition of international sanctions and the freezing of accounts and assets, the largest Venezuelan companies have been trying to transfer a significant portion of their free cash to banks in friendly countries, primarily in Russia,” agrees Mikhail Doronkin, head of bank ratings at the National Credit Ratings. The US has had sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his close circle since summer 2017. The sanction pressure on Caracas was intensified at the start of 2019 in light of the political crisis in the republic. $300 million is an insignificant sum for Venezuela as a whole, observes analyst Denis Poryvay from Raiffeisen Bank. “Venezuela is a huge country, which has its own oligarchs, and there is obviously much more than $300 million in its reserves,” he explains. The International Monetary Fund places Venezuela’s GDP at $76 billion. According to Bloomberg, the country has in the region of $8.7 billion in foreign currency reserves. On 1 January 2019, Russian banks owed non-residents a total of $124 billion. Residents of Luxembourg, Ireland and the US each held more than $10 billion in Russian banks, and another 15 countries held more than $1 billion. The remaining $17.3 billion belongs to other countries, or is confidential in nature. The Russian-Venezuelan bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank operates in Russia. In October 2018, Bloomberg reported that the Russian government had urged Venezuelan banks and companies to use this bank for cross-border transactions. In March, the US placed Evrofinance on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list. The Treasury Department provided two reasons for the decision: firstly “material support, sponsoring or ensuring the financing” of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, and secondly, facilitating the launch of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, the Petro. Prior to the sanctions, the bank denied any involvement in the launch of the cryptocurrency. Statistics on the movement of funds through Evrofinance before the sanctions are available. In the fourth quarter of 2018, 4 billion rubles was received by non-residents’ accounts, and another 5.5 billion rubles was received by its correspondent accounts. No information is available on which countries own these funds. The Russian-Venezuelan bank thus received a total of around $130 million to its non-residents’ accounts (the average exchange rate over the period was 66.5 rubles to the US dollar). “The figures clearly reflect the ruble’s 6% devaluation in the fourth quarter,” observes Mikhail Doronkin. Another Russian bank with close ties to Venezuela is the Russian Finance Corporation (RFC). The bank is linked to the Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport, which has been under US sanctions since April 2018. In March 2019, RIA Novosti reported with reference to two sources that Venezuelan companies’ accounts in Russia would be transferred to the RFC, although the bank itself denied having any information about this. Since September 2018, the bank has stopped disclosing its reports in light of the sanctions. Evrofinance Mosnarbank has also stopped publishing its reports on the Bank of Russia’s website. Its latest published report dates to 1 February this year.

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for ‘largest march in history’ in uprising effort – Reuters

Venezuelans were expected to take to the streets on Wednesday for what opposition leader Juan Guaido pledged would be the “largest march” in the country’s history, a day after he called for the military to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido’s ambassador to France: ‘Most of the armed forces in Venezuela are supporting Guaido’ – YouTube

FRANCE 24 English Published on Apr 30, 2019 Subscribe to France 24 now:

Venezuela crisis: Juan Guaidó has the people, but he needs the guns | News | The Times

From the moment he declared that he was the rightful leader of Venezuela and President Maduro a “usurper”, Juan Guaidó has been explicitly clear about one thing: regime change will happen only if the army swaps sides. Everything he has done since January has been aimed at provoking that.Take the att

Venezuela: Who is supporting the Juan Guaido opposition coup? | DW News – YouTube

DW News Published on Apr 30, 2019 In Venezuela, self-declared president Juan Guaido has called on the armed forces to join what he calls “the final phase” of a plan to oust President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido says he has the support of the country’s “brave soldiers,” but it’s still unclear if he has enough backing to generate a real turning point off his call for action.

Uprising in Caracas Prompts Dueling Demonstrations in Washington – WSJ

Protesters outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington voiced support for the rebels who oppose strongman Nicolás Maduro. Inside the embassy? Only members of the U.S. protest group Code Pink.

Armored Vehicles Crush Anti-Maduro Protesters in Caracas

Protesters loyal to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó were crushed under armored cars driven by pro-government forces during a violent uprising that racked the streets of Caracas on Tuesday after Guaidó launched a push to end socialist president Nicolás Maduro’s regime.Violent clashes ensued

Venezuela National Guard Vehicles Ram Into Protesters in Caracas – YouTube

VOA News Published on Apr 30, 2019 A Venezuela National Guard vehicle ran over protesters and doused crowds with water cannons outside a military base in Caracas on Tuesday, April 30, after opposition leader Juan Guaido called on members of the military to rise up. Venezuela’s socialist government said Tuesday that an “attempted coup” was under way in Caracas, with opposition leader and U.S. recognized interim president Guaido saying there was “no turning back” in his efforts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital, with gunfire erupting and troops loyal to Maduro firing water cannons at protesters. Television footage showed one Venezuela National Guard vehicle running over demonstrators who were throwing rocks at the military. In video and Twitter messages, the U.S.-supported Guaido said, “Today brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men supporting the constitution have answered our call.”

Venezuela Protests: Armored Car Plows Into Demonstrators, Causing Injuries

The White House has blamed the “corrupt, illegitimate Maduro Regime” for the violence.

Venezuela Guaido Uprising Is Not A Coup – Bloomberg

It may have the hallmarks of a classic coup, but there are differences.

Juan Guaido’s Uprising in Venezuela Is Not a Coup – Bloomberg

The uprising in Caracas is an attempt to restore the government’s legitimacy, not overthrow it.

Former bus driver Nicolás Maduro clings to wheel in Venezuela | World news | The Guardian

Lack of charisma and luck have hurt the ‘fumbling showman’ who succeeded Hugo Chávez

Pavlich: Lessons from Venezuela | TheHill

It’s been three months since the United States government officially recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

This isn’t just Venezuela’s moment — it’s critical for many

The battle for Venezuela is entering a crucial moment, and so are the risks for that nation, for America and beyond.

The Times view on the power struggle between Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaidó: Crisis in Caracas | Comment | The Times

A nation blessed with abundant natural resources is locked into economic collapse and political crisis. Venezuela’s plight took a precipitous descent into the unknown yesterday as Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, issued a video message in which, flanked by men in military uniform, he declar

Venezuela’s political crisis exposes policy divisions in EU | Fox News

European countries urged restraint in Venezuela on Tuesday and called for new elections as a way to settle the political crisis in the South American country, but there wasn’t a unified voice immediately on whether to support or condemn the opposition’s move to oust President Nicolás Maduro.

Judith Miller: For Venezuela, is the moment now? | Fox News

Venezuela is on the edge. Tuesday’s uprising is a make-or-break moment for the opposition’s protracted effort to oust disputed President Nicolas Maduro. The odds are against its success.

Venezuela is a major gamble for Trump administration – World News – Jerusalem Post

Russia and Turkey are watching how the US handles the crises.

U.S. vs Russia over Venezuela. Are we back in 1962? | Editorial | Miami Herald

The surprising dawn announcement on Tuesday from Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaidó that the end was near for Nicolás Maduro, and the violent street uprisings that followed, were hopeful moments for the once-proud democracy, but the most sobering was that Russia, and that likely means Vladimr Putin, asked Maduro not to get on a waiting private plane to Havana. He was told to stay put, just what the United States didn’t want him to do.

Will Venezuela become South America’s Afghanistan? | Latin America | Al Jazeera

A foreign military intervention in Venezuela could have disastrous consequences.

Violence Erupts in Venezuela as Guaidó Calls for Uprising – WSJ

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, flanked by a small group of heavily armed troops outside a military base, called for Venezuelans to protest to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, setting up a potential armed struggle.

Guaidó Is Stumbling Toward a Coup – Foreign Policy

Naunihal Singh, an expert on military takeovers, addresses what to watch as Venezuela’s would-be president attempts to oust Maduro.

Juan Guaidó Calls Venezuelans to the Streets – Foreign Policy

A transcript of the opposition leader’s remarks from La Carlota Air Base.

The Venezuela Crisis Revisited | The Strategy Bridge

The political turmoil in Venezuela has captured the attention of the United States for several months, and the recent introduction of Russian troops into the country has solidified a place for the ailing petrostate on front pages nationwide. As American eyes are drawn to the ongoing unrest in the streets of Caracas, it is worth noting this is not the first time the United States has been concerned by European intervention in Venezuela.

Max Brooks | Could Venezuela be on the brink of a civil war as bloody as Syria? | TheHill

OPINION | After a June helicopter attack on the country’s supreme court, it looks like storm clouds are brewing.

Venezuela crisis: Maduro claims coup has been ‘defeated’ – live updates | World news | The Guardian

In first appearance since rebellion lead by Juan Guaidó, president calls for applause for ‘obedient’ armed forces. Follow updates

Venezuela Convulses and Russia Frets: What Does Moscow Stand To Lose If The Maduro Government Falls?

long with Nicaragua, Venezuela has served as sort of beachhead for Russian influence in the Western Hemisphere in recent years.

U.S. Threatens Maduro Supporters After Russia and China Blast Plans to Overthrow Venezuelan President

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “is leaving” even as supporters such as China, Cuba, Iran and Russia continue to back him.

Venezuela news: Troops fire tear gas at rebel leader after call for military uprising – Daily Star

VENEZUELAN troops have fired tear gas at the country’s rebel leader after he called for an armed uprising.

The Latest: Venezuelan govt says it is putting down coup bid | Fox News

The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local): 6:35 a.m.

Venezuela’s Guaidó appeals to military ‘at air force base’ – BBC News

In a video published on Twitter, opposition leader Juan Guaidó appears speaking in front of uniformed men.

Venezuela’s Guaido Leads Military Uprising |

Venezuela’s Guaido Leads Military Uprising

Juan Guaidó, Flanked by Soldiers, Calls for Military Uprising in Venezuela – The New York Times

The opposition leader appeared outside a military base in Caracas along with Leopoldo López, a prominent activist who had been under house arrest.

Russian Helicopters to Boost Venezuela’s Maduro

Russia is getting ready to set up a helicopter maintenance base in Venezuela. The move is yet another sign that Russia continues to pile economic, political and military support for the government of embattled leader Nicolas Maduro. Ricardo Marquina visited the helicopter factory where Russian officials showcased the aircraft and other equipment destined for Moscow’s allies in Venezuela. Jim Bertel narrates.

Blackwater founder’s latest sales pitch: mercenaries for Venezuela | ABS-CBN News

WASHINGTON – Erik Prince – the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump – has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicholas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

Venezuela: Juan Guaidó declares ‘final phase of Operation Freedom’ – CNN

The leader of Venezuela’s opposition, Juan Guaidó, on Tuesday declared “the start of the end of the usurpation,” in a dawn address in which he was flanked by men in military fatigues and armored vehicles in the capital Caracas.

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for military uprising while flanked by soldiers at Caracas airbase: ‘The moment is now’ | Fox News

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for a military uprising, saying he has begun the “final phase” of his plan to oust embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela crisis: Guaidó, with soldiers, appears to launch military challenge to Maduro – The Washington Post

In a video with troops, Guaidó urged other soldiers to join “Operation Liberty” to oust Maduro.

Washington’s Woeful Maduro Miscalculation

When Washington recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president, Trump administration officials clearly hoped that incumbent Nicolas Maduro’s grip on power would not last long. There were reasons for such optimism. The socialist regime’s corruption and grotesque economic mismanagement had reached

Venezuela’s Guaido takes to streets in military uprising

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has taken to the streets with detained activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers in a military…

Venezuela opposition prepares for military coup | DW News – YouTube

DW News Published on Apr 30, 2019 Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido has posted a video on social media calling for a military uprising. In it he says: ‘The moment is now’. He is surrounded by men in military uniforms, as well as another key opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Guaido says what he calls “the final phase” of a plan to oust President Nicolas Maduro has now begun. The government says it is confronting what it’s calling a small group of traitors.

John Bolton on the Warpath | The New Yorker

Dexter Filkins on Trump’s national-security adviser’s attempts to sell the isolationist President on military force.

Pompeo: Maduro loyalists looking for ‘golden ticket’ out of regime

Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro’s cronies are looking for a “golden ticket” out of the regime, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Venezuela coup: Juan Guaidó’s gamble could backfire on America | World | The Times

The violent clashes on the streets of Caracas have dramatically raised the stakes over the future of Venezuela. They will shape not just the fate of the Maduro regime but also of US and Russian influence over South America.Juan Guaidó, the self-declared president recognised by most western and Lati

Pompeo says Maduro’s inner circle looking for exit strategy in Venezuela | TheHill

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle is looking for an exit strategy, a sign that the embattled regime’s days may be numbered. “We see leaders ins

Venezuelan government denounces regional OAS forum | Fox News

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has staged a rally to celebrate its split with a key regional forum, the Organization of American States.

Russia Accuses U.S. Of Political ‘Blackmail’ After Sanctions Imposed On Venezuela FM

Russia has accused the United States of the “politics of blackmail” after Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza as part of efforts to force embattled Moscow ally…

US slaps sanctions on Venezuela’s foreign minister, judge | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera

Sanctions come as US seeks to increase pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

Treasury hits Venezuelan foreign minister with sanctions – POLITICO

The sanctions are part of an effort to punish Maduro’s administration, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said was illegitimate.

Venezuela’s Lopez leaves Chile diplomatic residence for Spain’s embassy: Chile foreign minister – Reuters

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez has left Chile’s diplomatic residence, which he entered on Tuesday, and moved to the Spanish embassy, Chile’s foreign minister Roberto Ampuero said on Twitter.

Top Venezuelan opposition leader claims asylum at Chilean embassy | TheHill

A top leader of Venezuela’s opposition took refuge Tuesday at the Chilean embassy in Caracas, amid an opposition-led uprising against embattled President Nicolás Maduro. Leopoldo López was granted asylum by the Chilean