Guaido’s ‘envoy’ set to meet Pentagon officials to plan ways of bringing ‘democracy’ to Venezuela

A representative of the Venezuelan opposition leader in the US will meet members of the Southern Command next week to discuss strategy for regime change in the Latin American country, Juan Guaido has confirmed.

“The meeting will be held on Monday,” the self-proclaimed interim president said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I understand it will be at the State Department, and our ambassador will tell us what is the result of that meeting.”

El presidente encargado de Venezuela, , aseguró que la reunión con el Comando Sur está avanzando e informó que el próximo lunes se estarían dando resultados sobre la conversación. por:

Over the weekend, Guaido’s ‘envoy’ to the US, Carlos Vecchio, sent a letter addressed to US Adm. Craig S. Faller of SOUTHCOM requesting a “meeting with a technical delegation to advance in strategic and operational planning” in order to “restore democracy” in Venezuela.

: following instructions of Interim President , we officially requested the a meeting with a technical delegation to advance in strategic and operational planning with the priority goal of stopping our people's suffering and restoring democracy.

Just prior to the opposition’s call for US military assistance, Faller stated that he “looks forward” to discussing how the US can “support the future role” of dissidents to “restore constitutional order.”

When invited by & the legitimate gov't of , I look forward to discussing how we can support the future role of those leaders who make the right decision, put the Venezuela people first & restore constitutional order. We stand ready!

The government of Nicolas Maduro, which has long accused the US of stopping at nothing to bring about a regime change, slammed Guaido for his efforts to entice foreign troops into a breach of Venezuela’s sovereignty.

“We reject the letter by one of the coup leaders asking for military intervention in Venezuela, on behalf of a group of coup plotters who carry out terrorist activities to create confusion and destabilize our homeland,” Vice President Delcy Rodriguez noted earlier this week.

Also on rt.com Guaido asks US military for meeting to plan ‘restoring democracy’ in Venezuela...

The president of the National Assembly, which has no real power in Venezuela, challenged Maduro’s seat in January. Despite bold, flashy statements that Venezuelans are ready to rise up, the US-backed coup has so far failed to secure the support of the wider public and the military, who continue to stay loyal to the Bolivarian ideals. Yet Washington, which has repeatedly stated that “all options remain on the table,” is firmly committed to “restoring democracy” in Venezuela by bringing the opposition leader to power.

Also on rt.com Guaido tells supporters he wants ‘direct relationship’ with Pentagon

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Juan Guaido Risks Arrest As He Returns To Challenge Venezuelan President

Caracas: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido plans to run the risk of arrest by returning home on Monday, after he ignored a court-imposed travel ban and toured Latin American allies to boost support for his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido's return, details of which his team have kept under wraps, could become the next flashpoint in his duel with Maduro as he seeks to keep up momentum and spur his international backers to further isolate the socialist government.

His arrest could allow the opposition to highlight how the Maduro administration represses political foes and prompt the United States to impose even harsher sanctions. But it could also strip the opposition of a public figurehead who has brought unity after years of infighting.

Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela's legitimate head of state by most Western countries, said on Sunday he would undertake the "historic challenge" of returning in time to lead protests on Monday and Tuesday during the Carnival holiday period, an unusual time for demonstrations.

"If the regime dares, of course, to kidnap us, it will be the last mistake they make," Guaido said during a broadcast on Twitter, without disclosing his location. Guaido said they had prepared "the steps to follow" in case he was detained.

Guaido secretly left Venezuela for Colombia, in violation of a Supreme Court order, to coordinate efforts there on Feb 23 to send humanitarian aid into Venezuela to alleviate widespread shortages of food and medicine.

But troops loyal to Maduro blocked convoys of aid trucks sent from Colombia and Brazil, leading to clashes that killed at least six people along the Brazilian border, rights groups say.

From Colombia, he then traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay to shore up Latin American support for a transition government that would precede free and fair elections.

On Sunday, he departed by plane from the Ecuadorean coastal town of Salinas but has not appeared publicly since, beyond the Twitter broadcast. To arrive in Caracas by Monday morning, he could take commercial flights from Bogota or Panama City.

Maduro, who labels Guaido a coupmongering U.S. puppet, has said his arrest depends on the justice system.

"He can't just come and go. He will have to face justice, and justice prohibited him from leaving the country," he told ABC News last week.

The United States has warned Maduro of the consequences of arresting Guaido and the Treasury imposed new sanctions on Friday targeting Venezuelan military officials.

"If Maduro took that step, I think it would just hasten the day that he leaves," U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News on Sunday.

After the military blocked the aid convoys, Guaido proposed that "all options be kept open" to topple Maduro, but foreign military intervention is seen as unlikely and his international backers are instead using a mix of sanctions and diplomacy.

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US plans to buy arms incl mortars in E. Europe, send them close to Venezuela border – Moscow

Washington plans to buy weapons including mortars and portable air-defense systems in an Eastern European country and send them close to Venezuela’s border, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said citing internal sources.

It looks like the US is considering a military intervention in Venezuela, Moscow’s top diplomat said during a press conference with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Friday. In this scenario, Washington would be buying arms in Eastern Europe and sending them via cargo plane to locations near Venezuela’s borders.

According to the information that we have, in the upcoming future the US is planning to buy light weapons, mortars, air-defense systems and other arms in one of the Eastern European countries and send it close to Venezuela using an airline from one of the Post-Soviet states absolutely loyal to Washington.

On Thursday, Washington proposed a UNSC draft resolution blaming President Nicolas Maduro for causing an “economic collapse” in the country and calling for new elections. The bid was vetoed by Russia and China who accused the US of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. A rival Russian draft also failed.

Also on rt.com Russian, US resolutions on Venezuela fail at UN Security Council...

The US has openly supported Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido who proclaimed himself interim president in January following violent clashes on the streets of Caracas.

Venezuela’s opposition is also backed by US’ Latin American allies as well as many European countries including the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and a number of other countries stand by Maduro who was re-elected in 2018. Supporters of both the president and the opposition leader rallied in Caracas over the past weeks.

Also on rt.com US amasses special ops in Puerto Rico, army in Colombia to oust Maduro – Russian Security Council..

In February, US president Donald Trump confirmed that military intervention in the conflict-torn country is “an option.” In response, Maduro said that his country is prepared for the “David against Goliath” fight and hinted that the military adventure could become the next Vietnam for Washington.

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Maduro orders European HQ of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA to be moved to Moscow

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the European headquarters of state oil company PDVSA be relocated to Russia, Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has said.

“President Maduro ordered to close the Lisbon office of PDVSA and move it to Moscow,” Rodriguez said on Friday at the joint news conference with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during her visit to the Russian capital.

The decision comes as Venezuela expands energy cooperation with Russia’s oil and gas giants Gazprom and Rosneft, according to the official.

“It’s the perfect time, as we are reshaping our relations,” said Rodriguez.

Also on rt.com US imports of ‘sanctioned’ Venezuelan oil surge fivefold...

Over recent months, there has been a battle over Venezuela’s oil industry, which contributes greatly to the country’s budget. The United States has sanctioned PDVSA in an attempt to cut off funds to the Maduro-led government while giving support to the opposition led by Juan Guaido. President Maduro broke diplomatic ties with the US after President Trump recognized Guaido as interim president.

In late January, the US froze $7 billion of assets belonging to PDVSA and its US subsidiary Citgo. Guaido pledged to appoint an alternative board of directors for both PDVSA itself and Citgo as well.

According to Vice President Rodriguez, Venezuela is planning to broaden the country’s trading opportunities.

We will purchase food and medicines necessary for our people from Russia,” she said, quoting the words of the Venezuelan President.

Also on rt.com US sanctions help India become No.1 buyer of Venezuelan crude...

Caracas will continue attracting investments into the Venezuelan economy with the help of the Russian government, said Rodriguez, stressing that Russia is an important strategic partner.

Russia and Venezuela have agreed to increase trade and investment in industries and finance as part of agreements signed in December during President Maduro’s visit to Moscow, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia will further help the Venezuelan government to solve social and economic problems, which includes lending support via legitimate humanitarian aid,” added Lavrov.

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Trump confirms use of US military in Venezuela among ‘options’ on table

The option of sending the US military to Venezuela is on the table, while talking to President Nicolas Maduro is not, President Donald Trump said in an interview on Sunday.

While talking to CBS' Face the Nation, Trump would not expand on the prospects of military involvement in the crisis in the Latin America country besides replying that "it's an option."

He also confirmed that he refused to talk to President Maduro when he suggested a meeting a few months ago. According to Trump, there is no point in talking to Venezuela's elected president because "we're very far along in the process" and there are "horrible things happening" in the country, such as "poverty," "anguish," and "crime."

"You have a young and energetic gentleman but you have other people within that same group that have been very, very – if you talk about democracy – it's really democracy in action," Trump said.

Washington jumped in with its support of Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, who declared himself "interim president" almost two weeks ago. While US allies on the continent and in Europe have backed Guaido, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, and a number of other countries urged dialogue and little international involvement in Venezuela's internal affairs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the political crisis in the country was caused by a “destructive external interference that grossly violates the most basic norms of the international law.”

Speculation about the US sending troops to deal with the situation in Venezuela peaked after US National Security Advisor John Bolton was photographed holding a yellow legal notebook during a press briefing that said “5,000 troops to Colombia.” The White House would not expand on the matter, while Bogota said it had no clue what it meant and that it would act only “politically and diplomatically” with its neighbor. US spy planes, however, were noticed flying over Colombia last week. 

 
Besides supporting Guaido in the international arena, the US also promised $20 million in humanitarian aid to Guaido’s fledgling government, and gave the opposition leader access to Venezuelan assets held in US banks. Bolton also said that Maduro’s government should get out of the way as the US delivers this aid. Washington slapped sanctions on the state oil company. Venezuela, which saw hyperinflation last year, is dependent on oil revenues, and the collapse of the price of oil along with the government’s mismanagement put the country in a dire financial situation with over 3 million people fleeing.
 

Any military action against Caracas will have a destructive impact not only on Venezuela itself, but the whole region, former UN Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas believes.

“I’m concerned, that if there’s an attack – from Colombia and Brazil, coordinated and with the logistical or other support from Washington – that there will be a civil war and tens of thousands of deaths,” de Zayas told RT, adding that as “the United States is threatening with the use of force,” which is illegal under international law, Washington’s behavior should be immediately addressed by top UN officials.

At the same time, the US is seemingly aiming at fueling dissent within the country – and its military in particular – hoping it will drift under the banner of the self-proclaimed “president.”

“I think that the United States is betting that the military will eventually switch over to Guaido, that they will not remain loyal to Maduro. That, of course, would be a massive defeat for the principle of national sovereignty, for the principle of democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, but it would avoid, of course, the shedding of blood,” de Zayas said.



 

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Violent Opposition Protest Burns Hugo Chavez's Childhood Home

A day of heated protests in the western Venezuelan city of Barinas took aim symbols of the socialist Bolivarian Revolution.

Opposition protesters in Venezuela attacked the childhood home of former President Hugo Chavez and destroyed five statues commemorating the late leader in a day of increasingly hostile anti-government demonstrations that spilled over into violence and led to the death of at least one person.

RELATED: Most Victims of Fatalities in Recent Venezuela Violence Weren't Protesters: Government

Demonstrators set ablaze Monday the house in the western Venezuelan city of Barinas where Chavez, a native of the neighboring town of Sabaneta spent his teenage years.

Anti-government protesters, who have been in the streets for more than 50 days of protests aimed at forcing the government of President Nicolas Maduro out of office, also set fire to public buildings, including the National Electoral Council, lawmaker Pedro Luis Castillo reported. Five statues commemorating Chavez and the headquarters of the Regional Housing Institute were also vandalized. There were also reports of looting in parts of the city.

Amid the hostile protests, 19-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed. The Venezuelan Attorney General's office ordered an investigation into the deaths of two people during the protests and promised to prosecute those responsible for the attacks. 

According to Venezuelan authorities, the death brings the total of fatalities to at least 60 since large opposition protests against the Maduro government began in early April.

RELATED: Here’s Your Guide to Understanding Protest Deaths in Venezuela

The opposition called for a strike by health workers in Barinas in the southwestern part of the country, and several main roads in the city were blocked in the morning.

Ernesto Villegas, Minister of Communication and Information, criticized the opposition for attempting to blame the dozens of deaths on the government, arguing that the right-wing leadership "uses the pain of relatives to plant a truth that can not be reversed."

The government has also condemned a series of violent acts by the opposition, including burning down public transport units, attacks on public and private property and looting, and has called for a "Great March for Peace, Life and Coexistence" in Caracas.

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