DRUGS & ROCKnROLL AT THE HELM OF SOUTH AMERICA
(Constantly updated - Refresh your Browser!) No time to read and study in order to understand or to find an answer to the question: Why does the USA want to impose their kind of "democrazy" on Venezuela? - JUST WATCH 2:40 Minute CLIP
For earlier upates go to THE VENEZUELA FILES I
LISTEN WHILE READING: They Don't Care About Us !
Update SUN, 31. March 2019 (vf): The Venezuelan government announced Sunday that school activities will be suspended for a longer period of time across the country as a result of the recent attacks against the electric system that have caused another blackout. The Minister of Communications Jorge Rodríguez read a communique saying the government also established a half working day in all private and public institutions of the country, meaning that a work day would start with first daylight and finish at 2 p.m. local time. "The terrorist attacks, carried out by criminal hands who had announced their purpose in a bold way in various public alloctions, have produced considerable damage in the Transmission sector of the Hydroelectrtic Plant of Simon Bolivar in Guri," he added. The statement also said that the attacks had "caused significant levels of destruction of equipment and interupting processes required for the constant functioning of the service." "The Bolivarian Government managed to re-instore the service almost entirely in the past after similar attacks and will not rest until reaching a definitive balance so such an important service can be provided again."
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is under siege by imperialist policies implemented by the U.S.A. that also forced some U.S. allies and vassals to follow.
REMEMBER: ... shortly before his untimely death, which he blamed on disabling agents,
PROTUS Trump's Special Envoy Abrams was embarrassed when
@APDiploWriter Matt Lee makes him explain to the Associated Press why the Venezuelan coup attempt isn't a coup and points out that it has lost momentum. Lee: Still at 54 [countries recognizing Guaidó]? Abrams: Yessir. Lee: You haven't had any success in convincing anyone else to join? Abrams: That's right. Observers commented that even of those 54, who were initially coerced by Trump to follow his call, more and more countries and even the EU turn their backs on the imperialist U.S. policy and sek amcabl solutions or th real beneit o the Venezulan people. President Maduro secured that the International Red Cross can now start to help his blaguered people with a gigantic programme.
While electricity supply and internet connectivity had gradually been re-established during the day yesterday, another glitch hit the networks in the evening. Venezuelan authorities said the country's power system was attacked again after a new blackout hit the Latin American country on Sunday. "New simultaneous attacks on power grid took place, they occurred at the same time on Friday and Saturday," Venezuelan Information and Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez told the TeleSUR broadcaster. According to Rodriguez, there was "absolutely no coincidence" that the new attacks took place. The minister said as quoted by the presidential press service that the authorities would be able to restore equipment damaged by "the agents of the northern empire and its local lackeys." The power outage hit the Venezuelan capital at 7:10 p.m. local time (11:10 GMT) on Saturday and, according to social media users, in the majority of Venezuela's states.
Also Netblocks, a group monitoring internet censorship, said network data showed just 15 percent of Venezuela was online after the latest power cuts struck Sunday morning, while water supply, phone service and internet continued to be shaky and unreliable.
The Venezuelan President Maduro blamed the opposition for its attacks on the power grids as he announced a 30-day power rationing plan and said Sunday that the attacks on Venezuela's power grid are a part of the opposition's plan, that seeks to "sow violence and chaos." "On 25 March, a new wave of attacks began after we had restored service," Maduro said in his TV address. "This is the plan of the opposition's coup, which seeks to sow violence and chaos." “We must boost our security, as we are dealing with monsters that want to destroy Venezuela. These attacks are being carried out to make our country crazy. Their plan is to destroy Venezuela, push it into violence […] I believe in Venezuela, we must believe in our people,” the Venezuelan president added. In his official statement on Twitter, Maduro also blamed the power outages on "terrorist attacks, perpetrated by criminals who have already announced their intent so blatantly in various public speeches." "These were ‘electromagnetic attacks’ that damaged power transmission lines," Maduro said in a TV address. "These attacks, varied in nature, have caused a significant amount of equipment damage and interrupted processes necessary for the constant provision of power," the written statement reads. In order to mitigate the power issues that Venezuela continues to struggle with following the alleged attack on the Guri hydroelectric dam, Maduro has announced a power rationing scheme that will last 30 days. "I have approved a 30-day plan to enter a regime of [grid] load management, of a balance between [power] generation, secure transmission, maintenance and consumption throughout the country," he said in his TV address. Maduro said the plan will prioritise guaranteed water supply. He also ordered the suspension of school activities and a reduction of working hours, saying that public and private institutions would only operate until 2:00 p.m., adding that the government is continuing to make every effort to restore the power grid to its full capacity, as well as investigate possible "moles" within the electric service. "We are investigating infiltrator elements within the electric service that may serve as moles to cause damage from within," Maduro said in his TV address. Technical specialists warn that the power grid remains in a critical state and that more blackouts may happen. "This is going to continue, the situation is very serious, there will be more blackouts and rationing," Winton Cabas, president of the Venezuelan association of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, said, according to AFP. "The whole power grid is barely generating between 5,500 and 6,000 megawatts, when it has the capacity to generate 34,000 megawatts." In the meantime, Maduro praised the support of the people, who stood united in the face of challenges. "I congratulate our people, who have maintained monolithic unity, civil behaviour and solidarity — everything that makes us indestructible," he said in the statement. "We will win in this electric war," Maduro said in the statement. As the government restored power in the capital city of Caracas, opposition leader Juan Guaido initiated his "Operation Freedom" in the city's outskirts, where the power situation remains highly volatile.
The Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reported on Sunday night on the national radio and television network that the electricity service will be restored gradually, for which he approved “a 30-day plan for electricity administration regime (rationing)”, for the entire generation process, the secure and insured transmission processes, and the service and consumption processes throughout the country, with a fundamental emphasis on guaranteeing water service to our people “. In addition, he asked the population, social movements and popular organizations to fight to preserve peace and not allow violent demonstrations, known as “guarimbas”, which can lead to chaos. “It’s a battle where we must persevere!”, he emphasized.
From the Presidential Command Post at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, the Venezuelan President explained that “we have been managing a very serious situation, because the blow went directly to the generation system, and affected the generation capacity from the Guri to the rest of the country. We have managed to restore the service, in some places faster than others. We have achieved this in the east of the country, in the south, in Greater Caracas, in Miranda, in Vargas, in Aragua, Carabobo, Yaracuy, and we have arrived intermittently at the tail of the electric system, in Zulia, Falcón, Los Andes, doing technological and technical miracles”.
He thanked the efforts of the workers of Corpoelec, of the ministers, of the Vice President of the Republic Delcy Rodríguez, “who is there in Guyana personally.” He also thanked the Bolivarian National Armed Forces for “protecting and accompanying this process”.
He recalled that the water pumping service depends on electricity, and when it is sabotaged, the arrival of water to the communities is also affected. He asked his government team to improve the plan to bring water to the people, and called on the private operators that have trucks to join, to support.
Against the guarimbas
Maduro ordered the security processes to attune themselves around the Electric System, which is in the sights of “some monsters that want to destroy Venezuela”, in clear reference to the Venezuelan extremist opposition, and “try to take it to violence, as they try in some places with small groups, to create guarimbas and death “.
The Head of State called on the people of Venezuela to defend peace in every sector of the country, this before the attempts to create pockets of violence, which occurred this Sunday in some points of the city, such as “Fuerzas Armadas” Avenue, Cotiza and some sectors of Catia “They are not going to take away our peace! We are going to replenish and rebuild the electrical system from these imperialist attacks, but we can not let go of peace!” he emphasized.
Maduro instructed the social movements, the collectives, the peace crews and the UbCh’s to go, together with the militiamen, “to defend the peace of each neighborhood and each block. It will not be the criminals, the violent ones, the murderers, the ones who take the lead against the people to do more harm to them! ”
Back to work with part-time
He reiterated the decision to work a reduced shift Monday, until 2 in the afternoon. “We have to go to work!”, he emphasized. Public transport must be guaranteed throughout the country. “The pace of work must be maintained for everyone.” He is thinking about restoring the educational activities on Tuesday or Wednesday, so that “the country can continue its daily life”.
Damage to the electrical system
President Maduro recalled that since March 7 attacks on the National Electric System began, and so began operations to free the computer system and “restore the service as we did,” with specialists, engineers, scientists and hackers “that allowed us to freeing the brain of the national electrical system, which was penetrated with viruses and hacked from the north, from Houston and Chicago, as we explained and we showed it. ”
He also reiterated that electromagnetic attacks continued on the transmission lines, which completely cross the country. “We were replenishing the service, we were freeing from electromagnetic attacks and also from physical attacks, from fires ignited that are facilitated by the hard summer we are having, hot and very dry. We have seen whole lines here, in Caracas. We saw how they sabotage the mountain, the Waraira Repano, and they constructed with flammable liquids a route to try, on several occasions, to create very powerful fires around the transmission towers there and create a disturbance”.
Maduro said: when they had recovered the service, on 25 March, “we received the main fiercest attack, brutal, violent, an attack with bullets to the transformer equipment, transmission equipment of our power plant essential to the country: El Guri. They exploded during the night of Monday, March 25!” There began a new stage, explained Maduro.
He explained that several government spokesmen from Donald Trump had announced that “we would be without electricity”, but “we did not know or believe it would be such a criminal and so murderous, to attack directly and cause the explosion and the almost total destruction of that equipment.”
He indicated that the work of extinguishing the fire lasted several days. The country was informed that “we were in a serious situation. That we are going to administer a serious situation. ”
“Brutal attacks” on Friday and Saturday
“On Friday (March 29) at 7:28 pm, we suffered a brutal attack on the transmission lines, an attack that is being evaluated for its damage capacity.” He indicated that the attacks combined two elements:
- Electromagnetic elements that damaged the transmission lines, “so that the charges that were being produced will be returned to the Guri.”
- Elements “that we are investigating, of infiltration inside the electrical service, that could be serving as ‘moles’ to damage from within”. He indicated that an investigation is being carried out in real time.
Maduro explained that what happened on Friday was a “hard blow” that took almost 3 hours of diagnosis, recovery and replacement.
On Saturday, when the east and center of the country had been energized and the rest of Venezuela was stabilized, a brutal electromagnetic blow was received almost at 7 o’clock at night. “These are the blows of an electric war, to drive the country and the people crazy. And we will not allow it! ” (Source URL: Alba Ciudad - Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Freddy Bernal, political protector of Táchira, this weekend denounced the plan that aims to put into practice the so-called “Liberation of Venezuela Operation”, which aims to use Tachira territory as a space to destabilize and promote disruptions of public order. “We are not going to allow any public disturbance in the Tachiren entity and attempts to impose guarimbas on several roads will be neutralized,” he added. He stressed that a paramilitary incursion is being prepared from Colombia to commit criminal actions in order to disrupt the peace of the citizens. “In every aggression the conscience and fight for the peace of the Homeland prevails,” he added. Bernal questioned any action that incites hatred and violence. “We will not allow vandalism as a result of hate, against anyone, for any reason, or under any circumstances.” He confirmed the arrest of citizen Wilfredo Torres, alias “Neco Clip”, who is in the hands of the Venezuelan justice system to answer for acts committed on the Colombian-Venezuelan border. “We are going after the entire criminal structure of the irregular group called “Los Rastrojos”, exclaimed Bernal. (Source URL: Alba Cuidad - Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Famed former football player Diego Maradona dedicates Dorado victory to Maduro, jabs at Trump. As technical director of the Sinaloa Dorados soccer team in Mexico, world renowned former Argentine soccer play who brought his team to victory at the 1986 World Cup, Diego Maradona took a jab at ‘Yankee’ interventionism in Latin America and dedicated the win of his Mexican team to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. "I want to dedicate this triumph to Nicolas Maduro and to all Venezuelans who are suffering. The sheriffs of the world—who are these Yankees?” asked the FIFA Player of the 20th Century Sunday night to the press. “Just because they have the biggest bombs in the world they think are so much more advanced than us. No, they are not" Maradona declared at a press conference after a soccer match in Mexico that the Dorados de Sinaloa, the team Maradona is the technical director of since September 2018, won 3-2 over the Tampico Madero Sunday night. "We don’t buy that 'chirolita' they have as president," added Maradona referring to an Argentine vantriloquist puppet famous in the 1970s that resembles United States President Donald Trump and was famous for its rogue, childish personality. Since January the U.S.A. and its allies have tried unsuccessfully to replace President Maduro with the so-called 'interim president' Juan Guiado. President Donald Trump began his soft coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro after taking office in 2017, implementing a growing list of economic sanctions on Venezuela and its people that have cost the government billions. Named the best player in the history of the World Cups, Maradona called Maduro a “dear friend” and came out in defense of Maduro when the Venezuelan president faced an assassination attempt last August. The Argentine denounced the attack on Maduro over social media and that Venezuela "does not surrender." Maradona was a close friend of the deceased leftist presidents Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. When Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was declared victor of last July’s Mexican presidential elections, Marado said: “He finally won the elections in Mexico and the truth is he made us all very happy.”
Pope Francis said on Sunday that political leaders who want walls and other barriers to keep migrants out "will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build". The pope made his comments to reporters aboard the plane returning from Morocco in response to a question about migration in general and about U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico. Already on Saturday the leader of the Catholic Church said in Marocco that walls and fear-mongering won't stop people from seeking a better life elsewhere, while praising the country's refugee an migrant policy. "Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build," he said. Francis, who did not mention Trump in his response directly, has sparred with the U.S. president before over migration, which was a theme of several questions on the plane as well as during the trip to Morocco. Trump has declared a national emergency to justify redirecting money earmarked for the military to pay for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and threatened now to close the Mexico/USA border completely. "I realize that with this problem (of migration), a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it must be resolved differently, humanely, not with razor wire," the Argentine-born pope said on the plane. Addressing Moroccan leaders on Saturday, Francis said that problems of migration would never be resolved by physical barriers but instead required social justice and correcting the world's economic imbalances. "With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls," he said on Sunday. Besides the United States, migration has again risen to the fore of national political debates in a number of North African and European countries. He said wealthy countries should help eliminate the root causes of migration such as poverty, war and political instability. Migrants should be accepted, protected and integrated and if a country cannot handle the numbers, the migrants should be distributed among other countries, he said.
The foreign minister of Brazil, Ernesto Araújo, says that the Russian military must leave Venezuela, if its purpose is to maintain Nicolás Maduro in the government. In a telephone interview with the British news agency Reuters , Araújo has said he expects Russia to recognize that supporting Maduro will only deepen the collapse of Venezuela’s economy and society, and that the only way out of the crisis is to hold elections under an interim government, led by the opposition Juan Guaidó. “If his idea is to keep Maduro in power longer, that means more people will die of hunger and flee the country (…) Anything that contributes to the continuation of the suffering of the Venezuelan people must be eliminated,” he said. In the opinion of the head of the Brazilian Diplomacy, the presence of Russian soldiers in Venezuela is a sign of Maduro’s weakness.
Following the backlash, the far-right president "commemorate but to remember," which critics rejected as using a different word to express the same sentiment. Several social organizations of Brazil were organizing Sunday various marches in the main cities of the country in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro’s order to commemorate the military dictatorship (1964-1985) which came to power through a coup on March 31, 1964 against democratically elected President João Goulart. Under the slogan "Dictatorship Never Again," the demonstrations will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, the country's capital. Jair Bolsonaro said that military personnel were free to hold activities and parades in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the coup that paved the way to one of Latin America’s most brutal dictatorships that lasted more than two decades and saw five military president's rule the natio while cracking down on leftist and progressive dissidents in the country who called for democratic rule. The dictatorship left almost 500 murdered and disappeared, while thousands were tortured, according to the official figures, but rights organizations and official agencies say that the figures could be even higher due to the lack of records under the dictatorship specially when it came to Campesino and Indigenous victims. Days ahead of his visit to Israel, Bolsonaro asked that the coup anniversary be remembered with the "due celebrations", a call that was answered in some barracks and regiments during the past week, ahead of the date. Given the rejection aroused by a large part of the Brazilian population, the president went on to say that the idea was not to "commemorate but to remember," which critics rejected as using a different word to express the same sentiment. On Friday, the Order of Lawyers of Brazil and the Herzog Vladimir Institute sent a letter to the United Nations (UN in which they said that the president's order "does not take into account the atrocities" of the dictatorship, an attitude that “hurts human rights." On the same day Judge Ivani Silva da Luz said the planned celebration of the country’s 1964 coup Sunday was not "compatible with the process of democratic reconstruction" promoted by the 1988 constitution and that commemorative dates must be approved by Congress. A day later, a Brazilian appeals court reversed Silva da Luz the country’s democracy must support a “pluralism of ideas,” ruling to allow Sunday anniversary celebrations of the 1964 coup d'état. Brazilians took to social media earlier this week following the news calling out Bolsonaro for "celebrating" the military dictatorship and its coup using the hashtag #DitaduraNuncaMais (No More Dictatorship). "Hey world! While different countries around the world are ashamed of their authoritarian past, the president of Brazil, @jairbolsonaro chooses to celebrate the military dictatorship’s anniversary. (+) #DitaduraNuncaMais," a Brazilian said in a tweet using the hashtag. Let us remind the present president of Brazil Bolsonaro that Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao stated in an interview with Globo News Broadcaster, cited by Reuters, very clearly that Brazil will not allow the United States to intervene military in Venezuela from its territory. Speaking at the Lima group meeting in Bogota, Mourao, a retired general, said that Brazil will do all it can to avoid a conflict with neighboring Venezuela.
The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) announced Sunday that it has suspended dialogue with the government of President Ivan Duque until it receives a guarantee that it not be stigmatized and that its causes not be criminalized.
"The #MingaNacionalPorLaVida suspends dialogue with the National Government in La Delfina," ONIC said on Twitter adding, "if there are no guarantees of NO stigmatization, accusations or judicialization of the Minga people, we will not be able to advance in the discussion of the national list."
The People's Communication Agency of Colombia said in another Tweet, that "in the face of the latest statements by Ivan Duque and the defense minister, who refuse to recognize social protest as an inalienable right of peoples, the minga remain in resistance for a dignified life, peace, and territory."
The Indigenous and Campesino community of Cauca, in southwestern Colombia, began demonstrations last February. They want the Duque government to comply with a series of agreements signed with previous administrations.
Update SAT, 30. March 2019: (vf) Venezuela was holding a large mobilization Saturday, called "The Popular Operation in Defense of Freedom" in rejection of the neoliberal and far-right attacks led by the United States against the country and its elected government which have deepened in recent weeks. The Venezuelan government has said that the country's electric grid faced multiple attacks by right-wing groups aiming to cause chaos in the country in support of the U.S.-backed opposition. One of the meeting points of the march was in the capital's San Bernardino sector, where an act in solidarity was launched to support the workers of the National Electric Corporation (Corpoelec), the government body in charge of the restoration the electric service after repeated blackouts this month, which the government has said were sabotage acts by right-wing groups. The rallies then moved to the headquarters of the Public Ministry.
Political and social organizations together with members of the public signed and delivered a document to the ministry requesting the acceleration of "the investigative processes against those who have betrayed the country," said Vice President of Mobilization of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela ( PSUV ), Darío Vivas, who referred to the attacks against electricity. He also stated: "The International Federation of Red Cross is here because the [Venezuelan] government allowed it to come…" and added: "It’s ludicrous that they [opposition] claims the Red Cross [access] as their victory… when it only happened because the national government permitted an fostered it." Cabello spoke at a rally in Caracas. Diosdado Cabello, confirmed that the Venezuelan government met with the Venezuelan Red Cross and was the one who authorized them to deliver medical supplies to Venezuela. “It is being delivered because the Bolivarian government allows it. Because the Bolivarian government opened the doors, and that helps the peace in the country. If that helps so that the madness of those people (the opposition leadership) leaves their brains and they begin acting reasonably, very well! This is happening exclusively because the national government has allowed it, it has been like that, just because we are allowing it”, he said during a major demonstration in defense of peace in Venezuela this Saturday in Caracas.
Cabello indicated that, although it is not up to him to announce it because he is not part of the Executive, President Nicolas Maduro mentioned on Wednesday that meetings were being held with the Red Cross. The organization announced on Friday that they will deliver the medical supplies themselves to the population directly “without interference” from any political group.
On Friday, the Venezuelan government announced the delivery of 65 tons of medical supplies from China.
Meetings with the opposition are maintained
Cabello also pointed out that “there are meetings with the opposition every day, still! Because not all sectors of the opposition are crazy and this country needs a real opposition. And many of those who walk in those follies, divided from those same groups, also ask us to speak. ”
He indicated, questioned by a journalist, that there are also talks between the government and segments of Popular Will (Voluntad Popular).
“Today you can say with absolute seriousness that there are meetings with absolutely all political sectors. Everyone! And when they know there are meetings with a group, those who did not participate immediately begin to ask why we did not invite them.”
Diosdado Cabello explained that on Saturday there are demonstrations throughout the national territory. “The revolutionary forces are deployed in each state and each region, there are acts of swearing in the state political teams of the PSUV and all of them are accompanied by a mobilization march of the political teams of the parishes, the UBCh, the crews of defenders of peace”. He pointed out that popular mobilization is one of the factors that have prevented the right from achieving its objectives against the government of Nicolás Maduro.
On the threats of Juan Guaidó to make a “simulacrum” called Operation Freedom for April 6 and a “definitive march” on the 21st, he indicated that “he cheats his own people” by announcing military interventions and then not asking for them. “What we can assure you is that those who ask for military or political intervention, will be treated as enemies of the Homeland when events of that nature occur. They will see what they do, where they will go, but they will be treated that way because they are forces contrary to the interests of the nation.” He indicated that “we are going to defend the Homeland from whoever, wherever, whenever and however it is”.
“If we are not afraid of American imperialism, why should we be afraid of those who from here, from Venezuela, are trying to subvert order and change the decision of a people who voted on May 20 for Nicolás Maduro as President?”. He reiterated that the only Venezuelan President is Nicolás Maduro, and that nowhere in our Constitution does it say that the United States can designate one.
On the recent denunciations made by Freddy Bernal about the entry of paramilitaries into the country by the Tachira border, he indicated that it is not strange that in Colombia paramilitary actions are being tried, that they could enter the country, but “we will make their lives impossible so that they can not leave our homeland. ” He said that in 20 days there have been attacks on the National Electric System and the emotional stability of Venezuelans, “that have no water, electricity or services, and there is that people standing, ready to continue fighting.”
Peace Crews and Communal Organization
Cabello also pointed out, about the social movements that are being organized as crews of peace, that “we are preparing to defend ourselves against any enemy. It is the responsibility of every Venezuelan to defend our country. ”
Before the accusations by private media and journalists of being supposed paramilitary groups, it indicated: “I am the face (of those groups). And when someone covers their face, it is because they live in a community where there are people who have burned alive human beings, and the identity of those who are willing to defend the Homeland must be protected. Whose is it? Of those who burn living human beings, of those who put snipers to kill, of those who put metal wires so that those who ride on a motorcycle are killed. So that does not bother us. We are not going to fall into blackmail. We have the crews of peace advocates, the popular units of integral defense and the militias: We have 2,100,000 militiamen, organized. ”
He ironically said that he does not understand why they worry so much, if they say “they are two million one hundred thousand old people”, and recommended rather that they not underestimate us.
Regarding the case of Roberto Marrero, he indicated that there are arrests and denunciations, recordings and plans of attack, and “as a government we are obliged to have that investigation come to an end”.
(Source URL: Alba Ciudad - Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Popular street song:
El enemigo no es Maduro
El enemigo no es el que hace o hizo negocios con el gobierno
El enemigo no es Cuba, Russia o China
El enemigo es la AN
El enemigo es Juan Guaidó
El enemigo es Leopoldo
El enemigo es Capriles
El enemigo es AD, PJ, UNT i VP
El enemigo es la corrupción
A third large pro-Maduro ralley gathered to walk from the Plaza San Martín, paying tribute to the health servers that have been at the helm of the care centers taking care of the patients during the electric blackouts. Finally, the west of Caracas advanced from Plaza Sucre de Catia. All marches converged at O'Leary Square, just steps from the government Palace, Miraflores. President of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdados Cabello: "Those who ask for intervention are going to be treated as enemies of this Homeland."
At the same time, the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaido held small anti-government protests with rallies at different points in the outskirts of the capital. Some opposition demonstraters later became violent in one location and had to be contained by security forces using teargas. Venezuela's opposition figure Juan Guaidó had called on his supporters to take to the streets in protest at nationwide power cuts. He also told followers to prepare for a final push to try to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. The power cuts started on Monday and have hit hospitals, public transport, water and other services, worsening a national economic crisis. Mr Maduro blamed the blackouts on sabotage by the opposition and the USA. But the opposition argues that two decades of underinvestment and corruption by Venezuela's socialist government as the cause. "The time has come to agitate in every state, in every community, to get water back, get electricity back, get gas back," Mr Guaidó told a rally in the capital Caracas. "The light has gone out, we cannot remain as passive actors," he said.
In the central state of Carabobo, where demonstrators burned tires and blocked roads, according to witnesses. Rights group Penal Forum said that 12 people were arrested nationwide in protests against public services.
The regional office of the Vente Venezuela political movement, which is part of the opposition-run National Assembly, has reported about an explosion of a gas-cylinder at a repair shop in the country's northeast, which killed two people and left four others injured. Following the incident in San Jose de Guanipa municipality, three cars, including a vehicle belonging to the Venezuelan National Guard, were damaged, Vente Venezuela said on Twitter. The regional office did not mention the causes of the blast. Local media suggested that a gas leakage could have caused the blast. Local authorities have reportedly launched the investigation into the incident. Such "news" would usually not be reportd beyond the borders of a country, but the energy crisis in Venezuela has been caused, used and was then hi-jacked as a political tool by the small but powerful opposition of mostly white elitists from the far-right.
Allegedly Juan Guaido had organized "thousands" of protesters at some 100 rally points across the nation, Efecto Cocuyo reported Saturday - as mass protests on 30 March as a preparation for the 6 April active phase of what he dubbed "tactical actions" of his Operation Freedom, aimed at ousting the current president, Nicolas Maduro. But only few of his supporters turned up at his ralley points, while the streets were full of pro-government demonstrators. The outlaw, who gives the impression of linking his protests to power outages that have riddled Venezuela in March, once again used the electrical grid as a cornerstone for a Saturday rally at Los Teques, a city near Caracas. "This is a regime that wants to plunge us into darkness, wants our hearts to be filled with darkness and fear. It is evident who the culprit of the blackout is," Guaido said, adding that "we all know who is responsible for the crisis and tragedy that Venezuela suffers today." Guaido staged protests in Caracas as the capital struggled without power. After power in Caracas was restored, however, he shifted his attention to the outskirts, where the electrical grid remains unstable. On the way Guaido and his convoy were attacked once again by an angry mob of ordinary people. The Co-director of the PopularPresistance activist group Kevin Zeese, who visited Venezuela earlier in the month with an American delegation, stated that one of the delegates who remains in the Latin American country, was unable to find any reported protests called by US-backed self-styled "president", Juan Guaido. “One of our delegates is in Venezuela and she was trying to go to these protests, and couldn’t find them. They seem like no one is showing up for these protests. So, Guaido is loosing power as he embraces the United States, as he calls for US troops, as he is tied to this terrorism and the electrical grid attack, he is loosing power. And on the other side, [Venezuelan incumbent President Nicolas] Maduro is gaining power," Zeese said. Guaido had seen today's ralley as warm-up for "the sixth D-Day" Guaidó had promised last Wednesday in front of a small group of supporters gathered at the headquarters of the Democratic Action (AD) party in Caracas, that on April 6 the “first actions” of ‘Operation Freedom’, as he has called his plan to march to the Miraflores Palace, will unseat the national government. An angry mob formed of housewives, old people and all kind of Chavistas fed-up with the circus led by the US government using this despicable Venezuelan “politician” Guaido, tried to attack the caravan of Guaido and - as can be seen in the video - his security detail was pretty aggressive and threaten to use weapons. Disregarding the rage of the mob and also the aggressiveness of Guaido’s security, the law enforcement agency that manage to prevent a tragedy was the “Policia Nacional Bolivariana” (Bolivarian National Police), a law enforcement agency created by former President Hugo Chavez. “We the chavista people are getting fed of the submissive speech of Guaido and the arrogance of the US government pretending to dictate us what to do, but we have been told by our Revolutionary leadership to avoid violence and that is exactly what happened yesterday when the “Policia Nacional Bolivariana” protected Guaido’s caravan. But the truth is that the regular Venezuelan is getting tire of seeing him walking freely allover Venezuela when everyone knows he is a criminal and a cup plotter”, a chavista activist told Orinoco Tribune. MUST WATCH
After their coup attempt with foreign help failed already in 2002, Venezuela has been facing this acute political crisis since 5 January 2019, when one Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, an institution, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016 and which operates in contempt of a Supreme Court ruling. On 23 January 2019, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president" based on a U.S.-mastered script. Venezuelan President Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January 2019 after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington. At the time the Venezuelan election procss was not only reported as free and fair but its process also qualified as "gold-standard" by analysts. Unfortunately, the United States immediately recognized Guaido after his self-declaration, though only some 50 other countries followed the USA. In contrary Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Belarus, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria, Turkey and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government under constitutionally elected President Maduro. Two third of the world's states maintain the non-interference policy concerning the internal affairs of other states, that has to be observed by UN members, or support the Maduro govenment indirectly, while rejecting the U.S.-led coup attempts. Due to his illegal activities Juan Guaido has in the meantime been disqualified to hold public office, but he continues to agitate against the legit government o Venezuela while awaiting court proceedings on criminal and other charges.
The Internet has been affected in Venezuela also on this day of large demonstrations by opposing sides.
Whilst much of the country has been hit by another blackout ahead of a march over the continuing electricity crisis, the Red Cross (IFRC) says that it can begin distributing crucial aid supplies to crisis-hit Venezuela in two weeks. IFRC head Francesco Rocca said the group could initially help 650,000 suffering a lack of food and medicine. Speaking at a news conference in Caracas, Mr Rocca said: "We estimate that in a period of approximately 15 days we will be ready to offer help. We hope to help 650,000 people at first." Mr Rocca said the IFRC would need to be able to act with "impartiality, neutrality and independence" and no interference and that Venezuela had met the conditions for humanitarian work to be carried out.
The power cut-out in Venezuela had nothing to do with EARTH HOUR. This Saturday at 20h30 local time, cities, businesses and individuals across 180 countries and 7,000 cities will be turning off the lights to celebrate Earth Hour. Since 2007, Earth Hour has been a movement to bring awareness to climate change, while promoting action to preserve the climate and environment. "Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature," the Earth Hour website said. Earth Hour 2019 will focus on action specifically around conserving nature and biodiversity, which is declining at an "unprecedented rate."
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry called on the International Contact Group (ICG), which seeks to facilitate the settlement of the crisis in the South American country, to respect the authorities of Venezuela in the wake of the group's criticism of their decision to ban opposition leader Juan Guaido from holding public office. "The Venezuelan government calls on the International Contact Group to respect the public authorities of the country, … the judicial system of the Venezuelan state and not act beyond its functions", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. The statement noted that the Venezuelan authorities had given a warm welcome to the ICG delegation during its visit to Caracas. The ministry argued that despite that, the group had demonstrated its "biased and offensive" attitude to the Venezuelan government. The statement also expressed its protest to the recent statement of Mogherini, in which the EU top diplomat also condemned what she called an illegal and politically motivated decision by the Venezuelan Comptroller General Elvis Amoroso to ban Guaido from running for public office for 15 years. In turn, Amoroso explained on Thursday that his decision was based on irregularities on Guaido’s financial records, particularly his failure to detail the sources of $100,000 he used to pay for foreign trips he had taken. On Thursday, the ICG held its second meeting in Quito, co-chaired by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini. In its statement on the results of the talks, the group called for a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis and condemned the authorities’ decision to bar Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself Venezuela's "interim president" but is no a jobless, self-proclaimed Outlaw at best.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejected on Friday the terms contained in the ministerial declaration of the self-appointed International Contact Group of the European Union (EU), which among other decisions insists that the situation affecting the country can only have a solution “Through the holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections.” The group is led by Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security and Ecuador’s chancellor, José Valencia, who share the presidency of the Group.
After having met this Thursday in the city of Quito, Ecuador, “the International Contact Group took the reckless decision to interfere in matters pertaining to the operation of the Venezuelan State, going so far as to try to judge the operation of the Venezuelan institutions in the exercise of its powers and under the protection of its legal powers,” reads part of the official statement, released by the Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs.
Given the above, the Government presided over by Nicolás Maduro Moros maintains its irreducible commitment to dialogue, as the only way to find necessary agreements to guarantee peace, stability and development of the Nation and of the entire Latin American and Caribbean region.
The complete text:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the terms contained in the ministerial declaration of the self-appointed International Contact Group, which after having met yesterday in the city of Quito, Ecuador, has taken the reckless decision to interfere in matters pertaining to the functioning of the State Venezuelan, reaching the extreme of trying to measure the operation of Venezuelan institutions in the exercise of their powers and under the protection of their legal powers.
The Bolivarian Government demands that the members of the International Contact Group respect the institutions and the legal system of the Venezuelan State, while exhorting them not to overstep their duties, thus preserving their ability to provide an eventual contribution to a true understanding among national political actors, avoiding the unacceptable biases demonstrated in their recent declaration that seek to provoke conflicts rather than understandings between the parties in Venezuela.
So far, the delegations sent to Venezuela by the International Contact Group have been received by high authorities of the Venezuelan State and they have been treated cordially and respectfully, in view of their presumed willingness to facilitate dialogue between the parties. An attitude that differs from the biased and offensive treatment given to legitimate Venezuelan institutions in the terms of their most recent statement.
The Government of the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, maintains its irreducible commitment to dialogue as the only way to find necessary agreements to guarantee peace, stability and development of our Nation and of the entire Latin American region and Caribbean
Caracas, March 29, 2019
(Source URL: Alba CIudad - Translated by JRE/EF)
The US is projecting its own plans against Venezuela on Moscow, surmising about “military contingents” and “operations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Russian specialists have clear and open goals in the country. “It looks like Washington is judging by itself, trying to ascribe its own plans it has against this country to Moscow. Yet again, they arrogantly announce they have ‘all option on the table,’” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday. She added that Russian specialists in Venezuela are not “military contingent” which Moscow made clear from the very beginning. The US’ unsubstantiated alarm over an imaginary Russian “military contingent” deployed to Venezuela is an example of the utmost hypocrisy, given its own activities in South America. “It would be nice to know, what the numerous American military instructors are doing in Venezuela’s neighbor – Columbia?” Zakharova wondered. “And why is the White House eagerly calling its other neighbor – Brazil – to NATO, in violation of the charter and very name of the North Atlantic treaty?” Angry reaction and “nervousness” of Washington is perfectly understandable, Zakharova explained, since the US has seen its plans of rapid regime change in Venezuela fail and now it has to deal with the consequences of it. “With its self-confidence, Washington only ‘set up’ those in Latin America and Western Europe who hastily hurried to recognize an unelected impostor as the head of Venezuela. Thus, they deprived themselves of space for diplomatic manoeuvres,” Zakharova said. The rhetoric about Russia ‘invading’ the Western hemisphere, supposed to be Washington’s backyard – aside from belonging straight to the colonial era – is not even factually accurate, Zakharova noted in a quite ironic remark. “I would like to draw the attention of Washington politicians to a geographical map. Part of the territory of the Russian Federation – the Chukotka Peninsula – is located right in the Western Hemisphere. So for Russia, the American continent is a close neighbor,” the spokeswoman said. Washington remained mum on these remarks.
Large demostrations took to the streets in the USA today at Washington and many other cities to call for an end to sanctions against Venezula imposed by the U.S. government. Thousands marched also in Washington and spoke with one voice to end the imperialist U.S. policies and to end NATO. The America people realize that "Make America Great Again!" can not work while their President tries to make other nations to suffer and oppressed. Many slogans referred to the continued US pressure on Venezuela, where Washington supports self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido, who seeks to depose the elected leader, Nicolas Maduro. The slogans read: “Hands off Venezuela,” “No war on Venezuela,” and “US Sanctions Caused Venezuela’s Crisis.” The meeting of NATO foreign affairs ministers is scheduled for April 3 and 4. It marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance.
In response to new EU and American sanctions, Russia will most likely sanction, indirectly, EU and American car manufacturers by banning sales of palladium to EU and American countries. Russia is the largest supplier of Palladium in the world. 80% of produced palladium is used by car manufacturers in catalytic converters. The move is aggravated by the fact that EU does not have any palladium recycling facilities anymore.
Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, praised India for its collaboration in increasing Washington’s efforts to restrict Venezuelan oil exports to the global energy market. “I would say that we have had contacts with Indian companies and with the Government of India and that we have found there to be a very considerable amount of cooperation, which we are very happy to see,” Abrams said. The statement came after several Indian companies decided to suspend Venezuela’s oil imports, fearing threats from Washington’s sanctions against international oil refineries that insisted on partnering with Caracas. Reuters quoted anonymous sources as saying the United States is particularly interested in cutting the supply of gasoline and by-products used to dilute heavy Venezuelan oil and make it fit for export.
People standing up against extreme right-wing, christian-funamentalist terror circles, especially if and where they can form governments, live more and more dangerous: Mexican Missing Persons Advocate Murdered in Own Home: Police
Update FRI, 29. March 2019: (vf) A renewed power blackout in 21 of 23 states in Venezuela developed at the eve of a major showndown pitching demostrations of goverment and opposition supporters. This evening around 19:05 local time (23:05 UTC) a new electric power failure has also affected several parts of Caracas the day before the march called by the Bolivarian Revolution leadership, “Operation Defense of Freedom” and that called by rivals dubbed "Operation Freedom." Pictures, which made it through the likewise affected internet, however, show a resilient and peaceful situation. With incidents like this the anti-imperialistic spirit rises to unimaginable levels because it becomes now more than evident that this is a sabotage/terrorist event promoted by the White House and their white supremacist stooges in Venezuela and elsewhere.
The authorities of Venezuela’s second populous state of Miranda, located in the north of the country next to the capital of Caracas, have boosted police patrols in the region due to the large blackout in the country, regional governor Hector Rodriguez said. "I have instructed the police of the Miranda state to strengthen city patrols […] We receive messages about power failures across the state", Rodriguez wrote on Twitter on Friday.
The people’s mobilization of the Operation in Defense of Freedom this Saturday in Caracas will have four points of departure to the central “Plaza O’Leary”. This was explained by Darío Vivas, vice president of Mobilization of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), this Friday in the TV show “Al Aire”, by Venezolana de Televisión.
The points are:
- The Andrés Bello avenue, at the height of the Guaicaipuro market. There will be an act in solidarity with the workers of Corpoelec (Corporación Eléctrica Nacional).
- The headquarters of the Public Ministry in “Parque Carabobo”, where they will present a proposal asking to speed-up to the investigative processes against those who have betrayed the country.
- The Plaza San Martín, from where they will pay tribute to health workers for their work in the midst of the circumstances generated by the new sabotage to the national electricity system (SEN).
- The Sucre de Catia square, where inhabitants of Caracas from the west of the capital will meet.
A Venezuelan court has remanded Roberto Marrero, an aide to the country's self-proclaimed interim "president", Juan Guaido, into custody for the period of the investigation, Marrero's lawyer Joel Garcia said on Friday. "He will be deprived of liberty. We will have to wait for 45 days, which the law provides to the prosecutor's office and defence for investigation", Garcia said, as quoted by the newspaper Nacional. The lawyer clarified that the warrant for Marrero's arrest lists the crimes of treason, conspiracy, and usurpation of authority. Earlier on last Thursday, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service of Venezuela detained Marrero and Sergio Vergara, another close associate of Guaido. Two rifles and a grenade were subsequently found in Marrero's house. Vergara was released later the same day. Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol has previously said that Marrero is accused of organising criminal terrorist groups that could have hired mercenaries from Colombia or Central America to attempt to assassinate political leaders, military personnel, judges, as well as to carry out "acts of sabotage". Addressing the case, US National Security Adviser John Bolton called the arrest a "big mistake" and threated to respond harshly.
Venezuela's Comptroller General Elvis Amoroso had announced Thursday that the opposition politician Juan Guaido has been barred from holding public office for 15 years over irregularities in his financial activities. He explained today:
This decision was taken "considering that the deputy Juan Guaido has refused to present his sworn statement (...) has systematically violated our Constitution (...) has usurped public functions and has performed actions with foreign governments which have harmed Venezuela's People," the Comptroller General said explaining his agency's decision.
The sanction against the U.S.-backed opposition politician stems from violations of the Organic Law of the Comptroller General, all of which could not be dismissed because the lawmaker refused to justify his income sources. More specifically, it is the consequence of a "fiscal fraud," that is, the legally unjustified use of more than US$100,000 to fund more than 91 trips inside and outside Venezuela. Besides acting against the Venezuela's Constitution, the U.S.-backed politician received funds from irregular sources and lied about it.
In compliance with his public functions, the Venezuelan State Comptroller initiated an audit of Guaido's financial activities in February. Amoroso's authority and capabilities are defined by the Organic Law of the Comptroller General and the National System of Fiscal Control, whose Article 78 defines that the state Comptroller may request affidavits of assets from any public official.
The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Venezuela is the institution that monitors and controls the nation's income, expenses, public goods and assets. According to lawyer Ana Cristina Bracho, Guaido as a congressman is a public official who has specific functions, rights and obligations as well as prohibitions.
"Upon assuming his term, he vowed to respect the country's laws and institutions," Bracho said and added that "he also vowed to respect the absolute prohibition of accepting honors, charges and rewards from foreign countries."
Article 187 of the Constitution of Venezuela states that members of Congress are obliged to perform tasks for the benefit of the Venezuelan people and cannot receive additional income, or hold positions other than their parliamentary functions.
Guaido was out of the country for a total of eight months. So far, however, he has not explained the origin of the money used to finance his international political tour, which was not authorized by the government.
Summing up, the U.S.-backed opposition politician has been disqualified from holding public office for the following reasons:
1. Guaido hid and falsified data at his affidavit of patrimony. He received money from natural or legal persons, either national and international. These resources were not declared or justified before the Comptroller's Office.
2. Guaido did not respect legal and constitutional standards which specify that the congressmen must comply with law-defined tasks and cannot perform other jobs or receive other income.
3. Guaido usurped functions, performed actions backed by foreign governments against the Venezuelan people and accepted honors or rewards from foreign governments.
The Venezuelan military's refusal to throw its support behind Juan Guaido, the opposition leader turned self-appointed US-backed "interim president," is clearly a thorn in Bolton's side.
"We call on the Venezuelan military to uphold its constitutional duty to protect the citizens of Venezuela," Bolton tweeted in a statement in which he also "cautioned" "actors external to the Western Hemisphere" – i.e. Russia, mostly – to cease their "provocative actions" lest the US be forced to "defend and protect" its interests."Mr. Bolton, I tell you that we are doing the right thing," Padrino responded in a televised address. "Doing the right thing is doing what's written in the constitution... Doing the right thing is respecting the will of the people."
Padrino does not seem interested in Bolton's love letters, however, denouncing Guaido as "a self-proclaimed outlaw."
"We, the soldiers of the Motherland and do not accept this "president" imposed in the shadow of dark interests," he said. As Defence Minister of Venezuela Vladimir Padrino Lopez underscored also on Friday: “It is no secret to anyone that our country has been maintaining military and technical collaboration with Russia since 2001, but when they [Russia’s representatives] paid a visit to Venezuela, a scandal occurred. No one should worry about our bilateral cooperation,” Lopez was quoted by the Venezuelan Defence Ministry as saying. In this context, he pointed out that no one is expressing concern about the ever-increasing activity of the US military near the Venezuelan border. “There is no scandal when US military aircraft land in Cucuta [Colombia] or when electronic surveillance of the US Air Force around our territory increases 800 percent. Nobody speaks out when there are attempts to undermine Venezuela’s sovereignty,” General Pedrino Lopez noted. The remarks come weeks after U.S. planes were sighted at a military air base near Bogota. Also detected was a U.S. Army EO-5C reconnaissance aircraft, a specialized airplane used to intercept communications, as well as several U.S. surveillance planes violating the EEZ and territorial waters of Venezuela off it coast.
"I have the full conviction that we will be stronger than ever in the battle that is now being presented to us. We will defeat aggressions with the force steeming from the anti-imperialist spirit of Comandante Chavez. The fate of just causes will always be victory!" Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tweeted.
The Red Cross said Friday it had received permission from Venezuela’s government and opposition to roll out one of the organization’s biggest global relief campaigns, signaling a possible easing in the dire humanitarian emergency gripping the country. In scale and ambition, the relief effort could become an “operation very similar to what is happening in Syria,” said Francesco Rocca, the president of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to reporters in Caracas on Friday. “It obviously will not and cannot solve the country’s problems, but it’s a necessary step to save lives.” The Red Cross said a diplomatic waiver granted by Mr. Maduro would allow it to begin delivery of medical supplies as soon as mid-April. The organization’s local affiliate runs hospitals in Venezuela, but until now the organization has not been allowed to operate a national humanitarian aid-delivery campaign. Its Panama warehouse has already began procurement for the Venezuelan mission, the organization said. Now, the Red Cross will double its budget for Venezuela to an equivalent of at least $60 million this year, hoping to reach about 650,000 Venezuelans and stimulate a new wave of donations that would finance a further expansion of the campaign later in the year. “We’re open to all the donors,” said Mr. Rocca. “We’re ready to negotiate with everyone.” The Red Cross said its relief in Venezuela will not be linked to any political parties. To maintain impartiality, the Red Cross said supplies such as surgical kits and basic medication will initially be delivered directly to the eight hospitals that the organization owns in Venezuela, bypassing the government’s distribution networks. The organization also aims to equip all Venezuelan hospitals with power generators to reduce the number of deaths caused by the rolling blackouts affecting the country. Mr. Rocca said the organizations would also consider distributing medical donations collected by the opposition in Cúcuta, Colombia, if they met their standards. Multilateral organizations, including those affiliated with the United Nations and the Catholic Church, have been quietly ramping up their operations in Venezuela in recent months with unspoken agreement from the government. The deal reached by the Red Cross allows it to become the first global relief organization to launch an official campaign inside Venezuela. The Red Cross announcement also presents a challenge for the opposition, which has sought to present itself as the solution to the country’s humanitarian needs.
Safeguards have to be taken that the Red Cross operations can not be twisted into another fake USaid insurgency.
MUST READ AND GET PREPARED: Guaido Set to Enact Uprising Rooted in US Regime-Change Operations Manual
US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams announced on 29 March that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would soon come up with a response to last week's arrival of Russian military planes in Venezuela. "We have a very nice options paper of the various things that can be done in US-Russia relations. There is a lot of things that are on the list. So, The Russians will pay a price for this," he said. Abrams doubled down on assurances that the Maduro "regime" would be toppled once members of his government or the military can be convinced to remove him. Speaking to CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Abrams was asked to outline how the Venezuelan crisis will end, with Zakaria pointing out that "so far, there hasn't been much military defection," while US sanctions "have only caused the regime to hunker down in a kind of siege mentality." Abrams said: "Well, first I would say, you know we applied sanctions about two months ago, and some of them were suspended for 90 days or 180 days. So we are in this at a very early point. And I have been cautioning people both from the diplomatic community and the press [that] it was never our view that this was a four week phenomenon and then Maduro would be gone."
In turn, the US president's National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned countries "external to the Western Hemisphere" against deploying military forces in Venezuela or "elsewhere in the Hemisphere" in a statement made on 29 March. He further underscored that the US would consider such military deployments to be provocations and "a direct threat to international peace and security in the region". "We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations", he said. He also accused Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro of trying to remain in power by using "Russian military personnel and equipment". Bolton further said that the US vows to continue protecting its interests in the Western Hemisphere.
Belated, now also the Canadian Foreign Ministry on twitter has slammed the arrival of Russian military planes in Venezuela like their U.S. masters earlier, claiming that it "threatens peace and security" in the country and allegedly hinders finding "peaceful solution to restore democracy".
A new helicopter training center has been built in Venezuela, the Russian state arms exporter said, pledging to deepen cooperation with Caracas. The news comes amid US threats of sanctions over Russia’s presence in the country. The training center, built by Russia’s arms exporter, was unveiled on Friday, according to press service Rosoboronexport. The center is designed to train Venezuelan pilots to use such Russia-made hardware as Mi-17 and Mi-26 transport, Mi-35 attack helicopters and others. “Rosoboronexport and other Russian organizations partaking in the Russian-Venezuelan military-technical cooperation, remain committed to deepening partnership with the defense ministry and other government bodies of Venezuela,” the press service said. The cooperation focuses on training military personnel and servicing the supplied hardware. While military ties between Moscow and Caracas go a long way back, this statement might signal Russia’s unwavering intent to stand by Nicolas Maduro’s government, to which the Venezuelan Army has remained loyal despite the massive US-backed protests gripping the country. The new training facility was opened at a time when Washington is openly supporting a coup led by the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself as interim president, while branding the legitimately elected president a usurper. Officials in Donald Trump’s administration saw red when planes carrying Russian military specialists landed in Caracas on Saturday. Moscow later confirmed that the arrival was linked to the military-technical cooperation deal sealed in 2001, stressing it does not need any further approval, including by the opposition-controlled parliament. Since then, President Trump himself has demanded that Russia “get out” of Venezuela, his National Security Advisor John Bolton said that they “won’t tolerate” a different foreign power meddling in the Western Hemisphere, while the US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, has outright threatened sanctions on Russia for the move. “We have a list of options we have given the secretary [of State Mike Pompeo]. There are a lot of things we can do in economic terms, in terms of sanctions,” Abrams told reporters Friday, adding that “it would be a mistake for the Russians to think they have a free hand.” Speaking outside the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters that he might discuss the Venezuela crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We will probably be talking at some point," he said.The opening of a helicopter flight training centre in Venezuela will allow Caracas to offer pilot training programs to other countries that operate Russian-made Mi-family helicopters, the Venezuelan Defence Ministry said. "Venezuela will be the only country on the continent possessing these latest generation technologies in the field of aeronautics, which will allow us to offer training programs to other countries that operate Mi helicopters," the ministry said.
The center will give Venezuelan pilots an opportunity to train the use of Mi17V-5, Mi-35M and Mi-26T helicopters. “At present, Russian helicopters supplied to Venezuela not only take part in operations against smugglers, but also successfully perform aerial survey of wildfires, take part in rescue and evacuation missions in areas hit by natural disasters and deliver humanitarian cargo to remote regions of the country,” Rosoboronexport said. A source in Venezuela’s Army Aviation said the center would simplify the training process and make it more efficient, allowing to train more helicopter crews. Russian-made Mi-35M helicopters are actively used in operations targeting illicit drug production and trafficking in Venezuela, the source said. “At present, Mi-35M2 helicopters play an active role in fighting drug trafficking in the states of Barinas, Apure and Amazonas. As a rule, those aircraft are used for detecting and destroying drug-trafficking convoys travelling by land and rivers,” he said. According to the source, Mi-35M are also particularly efficient in operations to destroy drug production facilities located in hard-to-reach areas. “One Mi-35M2 helicopter is capable of delivering a special group of five or six officers, providing fire support if necessary and evacuating the team after the task is fulfilled,” he said, according to Orinoco Tribune. According to the Venezuelan Defense Ministry, the Army Aviation unit uses the “tropical” version of Russia’s Mi-35M aircraft, known as Mi-35M2 Caribe. The army aviation’s multipurpose helicopter battalion operates 31 Russian-made helicopters, including 18 Mi17V-5 transport helicopters, 10 Mi-35M2 attack helicopters and three Mi-26T2 heavy-lift transport helicopters.
The Minister of the People’s Power for Water Care, Evelyn Vásquez, reported this Friday at noon that, since Thursday night, the water pumping system in Venezuela has been restored, due to the restoration of the electric service after the attack against the Guri facilities last Monday. “We have at this moment an 84% advance othe restoration of the systems of catchment, distribution and potabilization of all the water service in the national territory”. Vásquez indicated, in a telephone contact with VTV, (a restoration) which will continue to advance in the coming hours to reach all households, “first in the low sectors, then the middle and upper sectors.” “In the Capital Region, since last night the big production systems have been started: Tuy I, Tuy II and Tuy III, and we have water entering the city of Caracas, we are receiving service in the lower parts of Petare, La Urbina, El Llanito and in the next hours we will advance to the center of the city”. There are reflections of service in the low areas of Guarenas and Guatire, and it is expected that, when starting the Taguaza system, it will reach the medium height sectors. “In the morning today we began to start service to the high Mirandinos,” she said. The minister indicated that “in the areas of Puerto La Cruz, Lechería, Guanta and Barcelona” service is already being offered, as in the southern state of Carabobo. In the afternoon today there is expected to be service to Maracay. There are also service reports in points of Falcón, the south of Maracaibo and San Francisco in Zulia. Vásquez said that they worked on the maintenance of the pumping systems, verifying the electromechanical components to ensure that, at the time when there was an electrical charge to start the systems, everything was ready to restore water potable service. (Source URL: Alba Ciudad - Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Bolivian President Evo Morales confirmed on Friday that a new natural gas reserve was found by the country’s state enterprise Bolivian Fiscal Oil Fields (YPFB). Since the country’s natural resources, such as gas, have been nationalized, profits from the new gas reserve will remain in the country.
Update THU, 28. March 2019: (vf) Opposition deputy Juan Guaido has received the maximum punishment allowable by law in the Latin American country over a discrepancy in his personal financial disclosures, as well as a spending record that failed to match his level of income, state comptroller Elvis Amoroso explained. The state comptroller Elvis Amoroso has stated that Guaido is to be barred from holding public office for 15 years. Amoroso specified that the reason behind the ban is inconsistencies in his personal financial disclosures and a spending record that does not match his level of income. According to the comptroller, Guaido has made more than 91 trips out of the country spending some 520 million bolivars. The punishment follows a review of Guaido’s declaration of property that was initiated by the Venezuelan Comptroller General’s Office in February. The probe was carried out in connection with suspicions that the opposition leader, who proclaimed himself president of Venezuela in January, had concealed or forged the data contained in it, and also received money from international and national structures without providing any justification. Guaido has reportedly rejected the government’s order stripping him of office. Earlier in March, Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez lashed out at the opposition deputy for pocketing a billion dollars in government funds held in US banks. In addition to this, Guaido has violated a travel ban imposed on him by the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The opposition leader arrived in neighbouring Colombia on 22 February in order to help forcefully deliver US-sponsored humanitarian aid to Venezuela, in a move that was not authorised by Caracas. Other cases against Guaido will have to concentrate on high treason, conspiracy to overthrow a legitimate government, instigation and support to defections of armed forces, incitement to violence causing grave bodily harm, conspiracy to destroy live-saving infrastructure and other charges. Since Guaidó can't find friends at home, he seems to have resorted to buying them abroad with privatization promises that would dish out the property of the Venezuelan people to foreigners. Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented extensive evidence last Saturday that Guaidó and his associates have been organizing the hiring of mercenary soldiers from Colombia and Central America and smuggled them into Venezula to carry out sabotage and targeted killings in Venezuela. Guaidó's chief-of-staff, Roberto Marrero, was arrested on Thursday, and key evidence of the conspiracy was obtained from his apartment.
In response Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who had declared himself an "interim president," refused to detail the sources of $100,000 he used to pay for foreign trips he had taken. He also opposed the authorities’ decision to ban him from holding public office for 15 years, El Nacional newspaper has reported. "[Amoroso] is not a state comptroller. And the Constituent Assembly does not exist […] The legitimate parliament is the only structure mandated to appoint a state comptroller", Guaido said in a speech in front of his supporters on Thursday. The restrictions were imposed on Guaido on Thursday. Venezuelan State Comptroller Elvis Amoroso said they had been based on irregularities on Guaido's financial records, including the fact that the opposition leader had carried out over 90 foreign trips, paying around 300 million bolivars (around $100,000) for them. Amoroso noted that the sources of these funds were unclear. Reality is different: The Constitutional Assembly of the Maduro government is legit, while the lower chamber, the Parliamentary Assembly, of which Guaido is a deputy, is already in contempt of a Supreme Court court ruling which declared it unconstitutional.
The International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela has reiterated in a declaration on the results of its second ministerial meeting that the ongoing crisis in the South American country could only be resolved through a peaceful democratic process, excluding the use of force.
"The ICG reaffirms that the multiple crisis affecting Venezuela can only have a political, peaceful, democratic and Venezuelan-owned solution, excluding the use of force, through the holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections as soon as possible", the ministerial declaration, published by European Union External Action on Thursday, read. This second meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela is held in Quito. The group continued by reiterating its commitment to assisting the mobilization of humanitarian aid to Venezuela. It also praised the UN-led efforts to deliver aid to Venezuela and measures taken by regional states to accommodate Venezuelan migrants. In addition, the ICG hailed the European Union for providing 50 million euros ($56 million) in assistance to Venezuelans. "The group notes steps taken to facilitate the work of humanitarian organisations and calls for further actions to enable the establishment of additional humanitarian organisations and ensuring the unfettered access to vulnerable groups and areas around the country", the declaration pointed out. Moreover, the ICG suggested that Venezuelan parties should reach an agreement on the basis of a road map for holding a new presidential election in order to resolve the current crisis. "The solution to the crisis lies in giving the voice back to the people in democratic elections, in line with international standards. According to the findings and conclusions of the working group on electoral process, the conduct of such electoral process towards new presidential elections should include an agreement amongst all relevant actors on the basis of an agreed roadmap", the group said in a ministerial declaration on the results of its meeting in Quito on Thursday. In parcticular, the ICG suggested that the plan should enable re-institutionalization of "key state institutions", giving guarantees to all politicians and parties that they would be allowed to run in the elections; voter register update; and changing electoral legislation to allow international observers monitor the process. "The ICG, if requested, is ready to assist in a future electoral process through confidenc-building measures such as the deployment of and support to election observation missions, international auditing of the electoral ICT systems and/or a revised voter register, and any other support actions that would be deemed necessary to implement an agreement leading to free, credible and transparent elections", the declaration argued. The ICG comprises eight EU member states and four Latin American nations. It was formed in order to facilitate the settlement of the political and economic crises in Venezuela and held its first meeting in Montevideo on 7 February. Tensions in Venezuela escalated on 23 January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself an "interim president", disputing President Nicolas Maduro's re-election last year. While the United States has openly backed Guaido, the European Union did not issue a joint statement following suit because the motion was vetoed by Italy, according to a diplomatic source. Despite this, however, many European countries have individually voiced their support for the Venezuelan opposition leader. Russia, China, Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for constitutionally elected Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating an attempted coup with Guaido's help. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores were holding a joint press conference in Quito after the second meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela. Representatives of Germany, Bolivia, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Uruguay and Costa Rica have also attended the meeting. The group says it seeks to establish a common understanding of the situation in Venezuela and work with national and international actors to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Thursday that he discussed with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio the possibility of US-Italian cooperation on the Venezuelan crisis. "Met Italy's Deputy PM Di Maio this afternoon to discuss US-Italian cooperation on the crisis in Venezuela", Bolton said via Twitter. Italy is one of a few countries in the European Union that has declined to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela. Italy is currently participating in a ministerial-level meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela that is being held in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.
The United States has asked European and other countries to increase the pressure and impose additional sanctions on the Maduro government in Venezuela, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said on Thursday. "We have asked governments in Europe and other places to review this question and to impose more sanctions," Abrams said.
"In some cases, to look also at visas for representatives of the Maduro regime. And I hope more governments will pursue that line of activity." However, the US official noted that Washington has never established a timetable for ousting Nicolas Maduro from power in Venezuela. "No one has a timetable for this… no one can predict exactly when Maduro will be gone and the United States had no timetable," Abrams said. Abrams pointed out there is no evidence that negotiating with Maduro will be productive, adding that the United States will continue to support the National Assembly and Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido for as long as it takes. The US side has slapped Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as well as some members of his administration, with several rounds of punitive measures, including, among the recent ones, the revocation of the visas of over 250 Venezuelan government officials and their family members for their support for the president. Another batch of American sanctions is based on banning the purchase of oil from the crisis-torn country: thus, in January, Washington blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the US-imposed restrictions were tantamount to an illegal seizure of assets. In one of US National Security Advisor John Bolton's latest statements, he vowed that the "toughest sanctions against Venezuela are yet to come".
US Vice President Mike Pence previously slammed the arrival of Russian military planes to the Latin American country as an "unwelcomed provocation" and urged Moscow to cut support for legitimate President Nicolas Maduro and back self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido. Jose Rafael Torrealba Perez, Venezuela's military attaché in Moscow has stated that a group of Russian experts, who recently arrived in Venezuela, went there only to discuss matters regarding defence industry cooperation. "As for the presence of Russian specialists, we are talking about cooperation, defence industry cooperation. I want to stress the word ‘defence industry'. In no way are we talking about Russia's military presence to conduct military operations", he said.
The Brazilian foreign minister has stated that the Russian military should leave Venezuela if they were "propping up" President Nicolas Maduro. When responding to US President Donald Trump's statement, saying that Russia "needed to get out of Venezuela," Moscow has emphasised that Russian military personnel is implementing bilateral defence agreements in the Latin American state and will stay there as long as both sides deem necessary. In an interview with Reuters, Brazilian top diplomat Ernesto Arauijo said he hoped Moscow would recognise that supporting Maduro would "only deepen the collapse of Venezuela's economy and society and that the only way out of the crisis was to hold elections under an interim government led by opposition leader Juan Guaido." Brazil's top diplomat's remarks followed demands voiced by US President Donald Trump calling on Russia to "get out" of Venezuela. In addition to this, US Vice President Mike Pence stated that Washington considers the arrival of Russian military aircraft in the crisis-hit Latin American state as an "unwelcomed provocation." In its turn, Moscow has emphasised that the arrival of its military personnel in Venezuela is guided by the legitimate defence agreement between Russia and the legitimate Venezuelan authorities. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Russia is in no way interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela, while Moscow hopes that "third countries will follow our [Russia's] example and allow Venezuelans to decide their own fate." Commenting on the matter, military attache of Venezuela's Embassy in Moscow Jose Rafael Torrealba Perez told reporters earlier in the day that "we are in no way talking about Russia's military presence to conduct military operations." On Saturday, a group of Russian military personnel arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas to take part in consultations with country's officials on defence industry cooperation. According to media reports, some 100 Russian military staff arrived in Caracas on board two planes, which also delivered 35 tonnes of relief cargo. Explaining the presence of the Russian military staff in the Latin American country, the aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the deployment had been carried out within the framework of Moscow's relations with the legitimate government. At the same time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman refuted claims about Moscow's plans to establish a military base in the country.
US-backed Venezuelan opposition deputy Juan Guaido has announced "tactical actions" by his supporters will begin next week after a nationwide protest, part of his "Operation Freedom" designed to topple President Nicolas Maduro. The ominously vague "tactical action" relies on the organization of so-called "Aid and Freedom Committees," according to a tweet from Guaido which scheduled the event for April 6. The committees, planned civilian "freedom cells" he set up across Venezuela with the help of opposition lawmakers in recent weeks, will supposedly rise up when he gives the signal, ultimately marching on the Miraflores presidential palace – where President Maduro has remained despite Guaido's self-coronation in January. Guaido officially announced "Operation Freedom" earlier this month, advertising it as a "full-fledged revolution in all states of Venezuela simultaneously." After the freedom and aid committees come "labor and sectoral committees" in the public and private sectors, to be followed by "constitutional forces" within the Venezuelan army – which with its continued loyalty to Maduro remains the primary thorn in Guaido's side. Impatient with the military's failure to join his coup, Guaido has hinted he is open to foreign military intervention. Meanwhile, for the US, "all options remain on the table."
Guaido also called for a nationwide protest on Saturday, though it's unclear how much popular support he actually enjoys among rank-and-file Venezuelans. His motorcade was ambushed on Tuesday in an act the US was quick to blame on Maduro.
Venezuelan regime-change dog-whistling has ramped up steeply in the past few weeks, as the country is repeatedly plunged into darkness by blackouts Maduro blames on outside interference. While Washington dismisses the accusations and says the fault lies with neglected infrastructure, using power outages as a tool to foster rebellion is something straight out of the playbook of a US-funded regime-change organization.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has hinted the worst is yet to come, tweeting that Venezuela will soon "enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history."
Maduro arrested Guaido's chief of staff Roberto Marrero last week and charged the opposition with contracting Guatemalan and Colombian paramilitaries in order to carry out assassinations, sabotage, and acts of terrorism. He blamed the US, calling Marrero's group an "armed terrorist cell."
Remember: "This Saturday we are going to have a nationwide mobilization, ‘Operation Defense of Freedom’. This won’t be a drill this will be an Operation”, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Maduro, said already last Monday. Saturday will be an interesting day with Maduro's ‘Operation Defense of Freedom’ pitched against Guaido's "Operation Freedom".
Reuters published an exclusive on Thursday, March 28, that the US government warned and threatened oil trading houses and refineries around the world “to further reduce the dealings with Venezuela or face sanctions”, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The move by Washington is to pressure the exit of the government of Nicolás Maduro from the Venezuelan executive, in support of the fabricated figure of Juan Guaidó and his “interim power”. Threats of sanctions against oil companies and refiners doing business with Venezuela have two dimensions:
- On the one hand, since Mike Pompeo got the post of Secretary of State, he and his team have been working to shape an international policy related to oil: as the journalist Thierry Meyssan explains , Washington no longer seeks to take over hydrocarbons, that you do not need, “but to determine who will have access to them for developme and who will not.” Venezuela would be disposed in the US plans as a stable provider of “alliances around objectives of economic growth based on the guarantee of access to energy sources”, in a relationship of continued dependence on the oil industry as intended by the “opening plan” of Guaidó. Within its plans, the US threats fit perfectly into the blockade of Venezuela (and Iran) in the oil markets, whose consequences translate into a slowdown in economic stability in the country.
- On the other side, the warning concerns companies and states that have not stopped supplying the Venezuelan oil market in Eurasia, the Indian subcontinent and some European sectors. China and Russia, the largest trans-oceanic allies of Venezuela, continue to do business with the government of Nicolás Maduro. These are the main “global competitors” of the United States in terms of the global economy and the military sector. Venezuela, today, is at the center of the unipolar / multipolar conflict; Washington with its policy again marks the dividing line of “you are with us or you are with them”, and therefore there will be sanctioning consequences according to the positions and actions of each one.
In this way, the United States tries to exert its power to control the oil distribution channels via finance, while facing Russia and China in the geopolitical theater and press for a change of regime in Venezuela. Meanwhile
The Trump administration should make good on its own promise to pull troops out of Syria before telling others where they should or shouldn't be, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in reply to Washington's threat yesterday over Venezuela. "Before they have their say in the lawful interests of other nations, I would advise the US administration to fulfill the promises that it had given to the international community," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, referring to US President Donald Trump's pledge to get American troops out of Syria. The US is behaving like a "cowboy in the Louvre," undermining international order with its "chaotic moves and unpredictable behavior," Zakharova said. The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that two of its military planes arrived in Venezuela as part of a 2001 military cooperation deal that does not require further approval by the Venezuelan National Assembly, which has been taken over by the opposition and the self-proclaimed 'interim president' Juan Guaido. "The Russian side has not violated anything, neither international agreements, nor Venezuela's domestic legislation. Russia does not change the balance of forces in the region and does not threaten anyone, as those in Washington do", Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted, adding that the Russian troops had arrived in the country for defence cooperation. She also said that Moscow is not planning to establish a military base in the country. "It's the first time that I hear about bases in Venezuela… Where have you seen such discussions? On the Telegram messenger? I have never seen any discussions on the topic of our bases", Zakharova stressed. The Russian military experts will remain in Venezuela as long as the republic’s government needs it, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at Thursday’s briefing. "How long? As long as they need it, and as long as the Venezuelan government needs them. It all is being done based on bilateral agreements," the diplomat said in response to a question. "There are international and bilateral legal frameworks for it." The setup of foreign military bases runs counter to Venezuela’s laws, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Echo Moskvy (or Echo of Moscow) radio station on Thursday, commenting on media reports about alleged plans to establish a Russian military base in Venezuela. The planes carrying up to 100 Russian military specialists and humanitarian cargo landed outside Caracas on Saturday, prompting wild guesses in the media. Washington was incensed over the arrival of the Russian troops and denounced it as "unnecessary provocation." Trump upped the ante by warning Russia that "all options are open" when it comes to kicking Russia out. The threat of American military intervention has been looming over Venezuela for months, ever since Washington backed Guaido's claim to power and announced that it deemed the elected President Nicolas Maduro "illegitimate.
"Let the United States fulfil its obligations in Syria, but they shouldn't worry about it. This [deployment] is done within the framework of our normal relations with the legitimate government", Yuri Ushakov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists on Thursday, commenting on the visit of the Russian military to Caracas. Later in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Washington aims to derail the situation in the Latin American country by supporting self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido. The military attache of Venezuela's Embassy in Moscow Jose Rafael Torrealba Perez also confirmed that the Russian experts are in Venezuela for defence cooperation only. "As for the presence of Russian specialists, we are talking about cooperation, defence industry cooperation. And in no way are we talking about Russia's military presence to conduct military operations", he said. Meanwhile, Trump has been promising to pull US troops out of Syria "very soon" for a year now. The withdrawal plans have stalled and it was only in December last year that the White House announced that the troops began going home. However, what was expected to become a complete pullout of some 2,000 US servicemen stationed in Syria, has since been revised to a draw-down. After much media speculation about the size of the contingent to stay in the war-ravaged country, Trump confirmed last week that 400 US soldiers would remain in Syria – 200 in the north and 200 in the Al-Tanf area, a 55km zone in southern Syria occupied by the US. The area hosts a US military base and the infamous Rukban refugee camp. Russian President Putin commended Trump's decision to withdraw the US troops, saying last month that he hopes Washington would not backpedal on its original intention.
In this context the Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Samuel Moncada denounced Thursday the terrorist attacks against the National Electric System before the U.N. Security Council. "Terrorist activities against Venezuela are planned, instigated, executed and financed, with resources that have been stolen from the nation as part of a campaign of aggression that supported by foreign powers, whose policies and practices represent a threat to world peace and security," said Moncada in an open debate of the Security Council on preventing and combating the financing of terrorism. There is no good terrorism. In Venezuela there is terrorism promoted and protected by foreign powers, today we denounce these criminal actions before the Security Council and we demand the effective action of the organism responsible for international peace and security. The first sabotage happened on March 7, when a major cyber attack to the country’s electrical system resulted in a six-day nation-wide blackout, which according to the national government was executed by the United States. An account that Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, on behalf of her government, backed, explaining that "it was an attempt to remotely influence control systems at major electrical substations." The second attack happened on Monday, March 25, as El Guri Hydroelectric plant was targeted wice on the same day. Vice President of Communication, Tourism and Culture Jorge Rodriguez gave a press conference Wednesday showing evidence related to the recent attacks, which he stated were intended to cause chaos by leaving the Venezuelan people without electricity for weeks. "In the last two years, the Venezuelan fascist opposition has perpetrated more than 250 attacks on the National Electric System," said Rodriguez adding that such attempts have been foiled by the Venezuelan government on different occasions. Because of this Moncada asked the U.N. Security Council to categorically reject the use of terrorist practices against government institutions, adding that the attacks on the electrical system are a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions.
Meanwhile, engineers from a range of state run industries have joined forces with state electricity company CORPOELEC workers in Bolivar State to repair the fire damage. From the Guri Dam, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez explained that workers from oil corporation PDVSA, steel corporation SIDOR and basic industries umbrella corporation the CVG were all present.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday welcomed Facebook's move to curb support for white nationalism on its platforms but said more needed to be done in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, which many doubt to have happened in the way a livestreamed video suggests. Ardern's government banned the video and arrested activist distributing and discussing the video amidst allegations that it actually is proof for a false flag operation. The social media giant has unveiled tougher guidelines on hate speech for Facebook and Instagram, ruling that white nationalism and white separatism are both linked to organised hate groups and will be banned. When making the announcement, the California-based company did not specifically reference the March 15 Christchurch atrocity that allegedly claimed 50 lives when a self-avowed white supremacist targeting Muslims opened fire in two mosques. Ardern obviously jumped on the ban-bandwagon to make her Nobel-peace-prize bid more plausible, but failed to address white supremacist twitter-utterances originated by and ranging from Donald Trump to Marco Rubio - which in the Venezuela case meet the hate-speech standards now alied to facebook. New-Zealand is part of the 5-eyes-alliance - with others being the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia - an intelligence-gathering and -sharing club often dubbed the "white-man's 5 eyes and 10 ears". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country's highest form of investigation, a royal commission of inquiry, was appropriate for "matters of the gravest public importance." Her Cabinet had previously agreed on holding an inquiry, but had not decided what kind of investigation would be held. She said the Cabinet agreed Monday a royal commission of inquiry "will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack." But Ardern made it clear she believed it was a direct response to the criticism that has since been levelled at Facebook, which the accused gunman used to livestream the attack."Arguably these categories should always have fallen within (Facebook's) community guidelines on hate speech," she told reporters. She added "there's more work to do" and said New Zealand would play an active role in the debate. Ardern said the goal was to limit harmful content "while preserving a free, open and secure internet". Noting that countries including Australia, Ireland and Germany were all wrestling with the issue of dealing with extremist material on social media, Ardern said a global approach was needed. "We can all promote good rules locally, but these platforms are global and I believe, therefore, that the solutions will need to be too," she said. "I think there would be a benefit for there being a globally coordinated response, that is what New Zealand will be looking for." On Tuesday Australia warned social media executives they could be jailed for failing to quickly take down extremist material.
The United States has got cart blanche from The Netherlands to use the Curacao island (which is part of the kingdom) as a springboard for aggressive intervention in Venezuela, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday. "We’ve taken note of the agreement signed between the Netherlands and the United States on using the infrastructures of the Curacao island for humanitarian supplies to Venezuela," she said. "At first sight this agreement merely opens access for US officials to Curacao’s infrastructures exclusively for providing humanitarian aid, but, as it has turned out, this deal does not rule out the possibility of using not only civilian but other means of delivery. Of what type? Clearly, military ones." "In the context of the current realities The Hague has in fact given the Americans a free hand to use its former colony as a springboard for aggressive intervention in Venezuela’s affairs under the cover of humanitarian slogans," Zakharova stated. "We hope that the Curacao authorities will not allow the island’s territory to be used as a springboard for another Western adventure capable of destabilizing the situation in the region."
In the context of the Syria an Venezuela discussion it is interesting to not that the Syrian crisis can be solved only with Russia’s assistance provided that Moscow wishes to take part in searching for political levers, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview published by Welt Am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday. "Russia is trying to compensate its insufficient economic influence in the world by military influence. For example, in Syria. If we want to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict, we won’t manage to do this without Russia. Russia will get a chance to show that it can take part in conflicts not only militarily and that it can search for political solutions," Maas said. The search for solutions in these conflicts as a rule is "very and very long," the minister said, noting that at this stage he does not see any preconditions for returning Syrian refugees home because there they will face "repressions and tortures." "Until this changes, no one wants to come back home and we won’t deport anyone who is facing this threat," Maas stated. Human rights will play a vital role on the path towards free elections in Syria, which should involve all social groups, he said.
Mo Brooks, a Republican congressman from Alabama, who cited Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf on the House floor Monday to slam Democrats and the media for their "big lie" about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia probe, appeared on WVNN's "The Dale Jackson Show" on Thursday to clarify his earlier remarks. The congressman's speech came after Special Counsel Robert Mueller notified the Justice Department last week that he had concluded his investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election. "The first 'Big Lie' was for two and a half years the Democrats propagating the unsubstantiated argument that there was collusion between President Trump and the Russians with respect to the election", he said, adding that the "big lie" is not stopping even after the election is over, but in fact "they've doubled down on it". He then lamented that the "Big Lie" is working, and "that’s the danger of it and why we have to combat it". Brooks took to the House floor this week to blast the media and Democrats over the results of Mueller's investigation. "For more than two years, socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies – CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Washington Post and countless others — have perpetrated the biggest political lie, con, scam and fraud in American history", said Brooks, saying that accusations of the president's collusion with Moscow were "nothing but a big lie". The "Big Lie" strategy is also used against the lgitimate government and the people of Venezuela. After the political crisis broke out in Venezuela in late January, the United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Venezuelan officials and entities and blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA. Venezuelan President Maduro has denounced the sanctions as an illegal attempt to seize Venezuela’s sovereign assets. The Venezuelan government has also decided to relocate PDVSA office from Lisbon to Moscow and open a subsidiary in Russia.
Venezuela's power grid has been subjected to four massive attacks since March 7, Popular Power for Communication and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Thursday. "Since 7 March, four massive attacks on the national power grid have been carried out", Rodriguez said, speaking in the Miraflores Palace, the official workplace of the Venezuelan President in Caracas. According to the minister, the attacks took place on 7, 9, 11 and 25 March, which ultimately led to the second nationwide power outage in a month. Rodriguez noted: "We can say that by now the electricity has returned to homes of the overwhelming majority of Venezuelan population, but we should understand that our struggle continues", he stressed.
The Venezuelan government has received the first Chinese cargo plane delivering important aid to the South American country. Chinese military personnel arrived along with the 65 tons of medicine and supplies delivered to Venezuela Thursday March 28th as a result of a strategic cooperation between the two countries. The delivery of aid is one of many, according to government officials. Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s Minister of Industry and National Production stressed the importance of the delivery as an exercise of sovereignty and added that “the aggression Venezuela has experienced, the terrorist acts, the blockade and the financial persecution are unprecedented anywhere in the world.” The Chinese Ambassador to Venezuela also reiterated the South American nation as an “integral strategic partner and friend,” stressing his conviction “that the Venezuelan people are capable of keeping the peace.” The statement came shortly after the U.S. has repeatedly threatened the Russiand Federation and other nations over their military support for Venezuela. The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela and the Chinese People’s Republic are long standing allies and strategic partners. Relations between the two countries have significantly increased under former President Hugo Chavez. Before the year 1999, Sino-Venezuelan trade was estimated at US$500 million, while in 2016, trade amounted to US$7.42 billion. The two countries have strong cooperation agreements in the energy and military sectors and President Nicolas Maduro has been seeking help from their eastern partner to develope the countries medical sector, following harsh economic and financial sanctions that prevent the Bolivarian government from importing important medical and surgical supplies.
President Maduro announced the revamping of the public-sector pharmaceutical industry as the government looks to overcome severe shortages in the country’s medical sector. Maduro had previously identified the pharmaceutical industry as playing a key role in any solution to the current economic crisis. He spoke at the Jipana automated pharmacological warehouse. Jipana is the largest of five warehouses built with Chinese assistance that help supply the Barrio Adentro health program, public hospitals, dental clinics and pharmacies. The other four are located in Barinas, Lara, Aragua and Anzoátegui States. As part of his plans to stimulate the industry, Maduro announced the creation of a public-private workgroup which will look to fix consumer prices and cost structures, as well as iron out distributive and productive bottlenecks in the sector, hinting at the expansion of a subsidy program based on the Homeland Card program for “those who need it.” Likewise, the president once again urged the Venezuelan pharmaceutical industry to work towards replacing imports with nationally produced goods. Venezuela’s medical industry is heavily dependent on imports, especially of raw materials and active principles used in medicine production. Access to the global financial system has been hindered by US-led sanctions limiting the country’s ability to pay for imported medicine and exasperating pre-existing shortages in the industry. In this context, Maduro highlighted international support and trade deals in supplying Venezuelan hospitals and pharmacies, particularly from Cuba, China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Belarus, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Venezuelan leader told the nation that “various” tonnes of medicine to supply the public sector medical network are due to arrive next week from Russia as part of the new bilateral agreements. In late February, 7.5 tonnes of medicine arrived from Moscow with the support of the WHO and the Pan-American Health Organisation, while weeks before over 900 tonnes of medicine from Cuba and China also arrived at Venezuelan ports.
In this context, Chancellor Arreaza denounced the interventionist policy maintained by the United States government against Venezuela. Simultaneously, he stressed the importance of his visit to the African nation in order to expand bilateral ties. “With our visit to Namibia a new chapter opens up in our cooperation, to take it to a higher level. Our experience in Venezuela is at your disposal and we know that we have the support of the people of Namibia”, said the diplomat.
He added that Commander Hugo Chávez declared in 2004 that “the Bolivarian Revolution is anti-imperialist and was the first president of Latin America to criticize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the United States never forgave him”. The deputy minister for Africa of the Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs, Yuri Pimentel, evoked – for his part – a fragment of the letter addressed by Commander Hugo Chávez to the III South America-Africa Summit (ASA), which took place in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in 2013. “I say this from the depths of my conscience: South America and Africa are the same people. It is only possible to understand the depth of the social and political reality of our continent, in the bowels of the immense African territory, where, I am sure , humanity was born. From it come the codes and elements that make up the cultural, musical and religious syncretism of our America, creating a unity that is not only purely racial among our peoples, but even more spiritual “, quoted Deputy Minister Pimentel.
During his visit to Namibia, the Venezuelan delegation headed by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza held important meetings with the president and vice president of that country, Hage G. Geingob and Nangolo Mbumba, respectively.
Sputnik: How seriously should we take Trump’s words that Russia should get out of Venezuela – is it simply bombastic rhetoric or in fact a direct threat?
George Szamuely: Well I think we should take it very seriously because every US President takes upon himself as a special project to topple some government somewhere so now Trump is obviously very committed to destroying the government of Venezuela.
What is extraordinary is the extent to which Donald Trump has completely gone back on all the things he promised during his election campaign, because this is about nothing.
He can’t even, as in the case of say North Korea, say that it poses some sort of vague threat to the US or its neighbours; Venezuela poses no threat to anybody, least of all the United States, so this is entirely about regime change – the very thing he was attacking during the campaign.
Sputnik: Do you think Trump is pretty much at the mercy of the hawks around him who are driving this foreign policy?
George Szamuely: Particularly John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, probably, yes, they told Trump: ‘Look, this guy’s a socialist, he wants to expropriate big capitalists like you’ and once they told him, ‘Hey, there is something called the Monroe doctrine, you know Latin America is supposed to be America’s backyard’ and ‘Maduro’s sitting on this huge gold mine, oil reserves, they should belong to America’ – that’s the way to get on to Trump’s wavelength and obviously Bolton and Pompeo know how to play Trump.
Sputnik: Given the fact that neither side appears willing to back down on this issue, what further escalation of the crisis could we expect?
George Szamuely: Well, I think that the Americans will try to apply as much economic pressure as possible, they will also apply all kinds of subversion, cyber warfare, propaganda opportunities, any way in order to demoralize the public in Venezuela, demoralize the army, in the hope that they will eventually turn on Maduro.
As Venezuela's self-appointed interim president, Juan Guaido has named diplomats to 10 EU countries. The German government considers Guaido Venezuela's president, but it hasn't confirmed Otto Gebauer as ambassador. In a video posted online dated March 16 and shot in Cologne, Otto Gebauer criticizes the government of acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, discusses the details of a recent conversation with Marian Schuegraf, the German Foreign Ministry's commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, and emphasizes the urgency of working with the industrial manufacturer Siemens to reduce power outages back in Venezuela. The on-screen text refers to Gebauer as "Venezuela's ambassador to Germany." He holds no such title.
The German government will not recognize Gebauer as ambassador. For the purposes of conducting official talks, on March 13 the government described him as the "personal representative of interim President Juan Guaido" and, in a request for clarification from the opposition Left party, added that "further steps are not currently planned."
"I believe that this decision is comprehensive, pragmatic and proportionate to the situation," said Helge Lindh, a Social Democrat and member of the Bundestag's parliamentary group for the Andean nations. "Given the difficult situation in Venezuela, there is simply no perfect solution. It is not something inconsequential, but rather diplomacy in the narrowest sense of the word."
Spain has lobbied its fellow European Union members to not grant Guaido's emissaries diplomatic status. "Recognizing Guaido was a political decision and a signal," Lindh said. "But, in the current situation, it doesn't make sense to confirm Guaido's shadow ambassadors, as that ignores the fact that the power remains with Maduro and his system."
The fact that interim presidents have a maximum term of 30 days under Venezuelan law has also become increasingly problematic for the German government and Guaido's other international supporters. That period expired in February. Elections are not yet an option. "In the view of the federal government, the political parameters have not been fulfilled," according to Germany's Foreign Ministry.
The situation has become paradoxical: Venezuela has simultaneous ambassadors in Germany, but the government will not carry out official talks with either of them. "This cannot be a long-term situation in which we continue like this for years," Lindh said.
At a minimum, the Left party has praised the decision not to recognize Gebauer as Venezuela's ambassador. "The government's decision is correct as dispatching of new representatives for Venezuela is based on the recognition of self-appointed President Juan Guaido in violation of international law," said Heike Hänsel, the member of the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee who lodged the official request for clarification on Gebauer's status. She had previously criticized the government's decision to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's president.
A Bundestag inquiry concluded that recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's president was questionable at best in the eyes of international law. The decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador could be seen as a matter of course correction. "This proves the absurdity of Germany's Venezuela policy," Hänsel said. "Recognizing Guaido maneuvered out of the bounds of international law and this rows it back again." The shift in EU foreign policy "contrary to the line of the Trump administration, which had unfortunately been supported by the Foreign Ministry," is overall positive, Hänsel said. "Even the federal government is very slowly acknowledging that the contradictions are becoming ever larger and is now attempting damage control." She said the decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador was "a first step toward the observance of international law" and added that Germany's government must now reorient its policy toward finding a political solution in deeply split Venezuela.
'Unfortunate' foreign policy
Hans-Joachim Heintze, a jurist and professor at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at the Ruhr University Bochum, describes the Foreign Ministry's policies toward Venezuela so far as "unfortunate." Heintze said Germany's government had recognized Guaido "prematurely and thereby robbed itself of certain possibilities."Heintze believes that Germany made the right decision in not confirming Gebauer.The US' disastrous Venezuela policy ought to have served as a warning for Germany's government, Heintze said: "The United States has always very prematurely and very intensely interfered in Latin America. Ask yourself what kind of reputation the US has in Latin America nowadays. Germany should have operated more cautiously."
Heintze said the decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador represented a sort of caving by Germany's government. "External efforts to influence states' internal policies are always unfavorable," he said. Germany has only managed to cultivate relationships with and build channels to opposition figures, Heintze said, "and now Berlin sees that the situation in Venezuela will not be so quickly clarified."
Ultimately, Germany's government may have done Guaido a favor. Gebauer is an incendiary figure in Venezuela. He was imprisoned for six years, three months and 25 days for his direct role in the effort to overthrow Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's previously democratically elected president, in 2002.
Gebauer, a former military captain, was a member of the commando unit that took Chavez to La Orchila island and held him prisoner. "I Saw Him Cry" is the book Gebauer wrote after holding the president in custody.
You don't have to oppose Guaido to wonder whether he might not have been able to come up with a more diplomatic figure. "Gebauer doesn't conform to our ideal image of an unblemished democrat," Lindh said. Anyway, he added, "the federal government would not have recognized anyone else as Venezuela's ambassador either."
Update WED, 27. March 2019: (vf) Germany does not recognize Guaido's envoy as ambassador of Venezuela. A German government's written response leaked Wednesday states that the European country will not recognize the envoy sent by opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido to Berlin as Venezuela's ambassador despite having earlier and mistakenly recognized Guaidó as "interim president" of the country following his self-declaration. The local media Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ), which gained access to the government's response reported that Germany will not accredit Otto Gebauer as ambassador. Instead, he could be recognized as Guaido's personal representative and "no further steps are foreseen." The German Foreign Affairs Ministry stresses that "political conditions" to recognize the Guaido’s envoy "are not met" given that the 30-day maximum period he had to call elections has expired. The NOZ also published that Berlin is responding to a request of Spain's government, which has asked its European partners not to grant diplomatic status to Guaido's representatives. The argument is that Guaidó is politically recognized but without any legal effects since European countries seem unwilling to ignore the fact that President Nicolas Maduro and his government continue to hold control over most of Venezuela's institutions. Nevertheless, the legitimate Venezuelan authorities have stressed that the U.S.-backed coup d'état has already failed and warned that those countries that recognized Guaidó "will at some point have to review their decisions," as HispanTV reported. In February, Antonio Ecarri, another Guaidó envoy, was not recognized as the Venezuelan ambassador in Spain either. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez administration accepted him as the Venezueln lawmaker's personal representative but without granting him any diplomatic rank. According to the Elcano Real Institute researcher, Calros Malamud, the Spanish government's refusal is based on an "obvious" fact, namely, that President Maduro is the person who is really exercising authority over the Venezuelan state. "Today Maduro is the one who controls the institutions of state power. From the perspective of international relations, it would be totally utopian for the Spanish government, or for any European government, to decide that it does not know that the control of the Venezuelan state is still in Maduro's hands," Malamud told the local media Alnavio and added that if Spain recognized Guaido's envoy as the legitimate Venezuelan ambassador, "Spanish interests would be left unprotected." Currently, Spanish multinationals such as Repsol, Telefonica, BBVA and Mapfre are working in Venezuela, a country where about 180,000 Spaniards reside too.
Meanwhile U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela and warned that "all options" were open to make that happen. "Russia has to get out," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he met with Fabiana Rosales, the wife of Venezuelan opposition deputy Juan Guaidó. “We really haven't done the really tough sanctions yet,” Trump had said earlier while speaking at a joint press conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the White House Rose Garden. “We can do the tough sanctions and all options are open, so we may be doing that. Two Russian air force planes landed outside Caracas on Saturday carrying nearly 100 Russian troops. The U.S. government believes the troops include special forces and cybersecurity personnel. Asked how he would make Russian forces leave, Trump said: "We'll see. All options are open." Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Rosales to express support for her husband, who invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency in January, saying President Nicolas Maduro's re-election was not legitimate. "The United States views Russia's arrival of military planes this weekend as an unwelcome provocation," Pence told reporters earlier. "We call on Russia today to cease all support of the Maduro regime and stand with Juan Guaidó and stand with nations across this hemisphere and across the world until freedom is restored," Pence stated today. It is thereby clear that Trump and Pence, Pompeo and Bolton as well as Abrams - the five apocalyptic riders in the Venezuelan nightmare - would not hesitate to go to war with Venezuela, despite the fact that the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff as well as the largest U.S. veterans assoiation openly declared that the USA will NOT militarily engage Venezuela. These differences will most likely also cause that Donald Trump will not be re-elected in the 2020 round of U.S. elections. However, and as seen in the past also a democrat a POTUS will not support world-peace, as the USA has no intention of taking no-first-use nuclear stance – as stated by a Pentagon official. The USA is still the only country that actually used nuclear weapons to mass-kill people. North-America of the United States and Canada would have to first re-invent itself before peaceful nations can befriend them again.
Donald Trump seems to be taking the “running the country as a business” shtick pretty seriously. Why else would he refer to Venezuela, a country his administration targeted for its latest regime change op, as a “company”? The slip of tongue, which some would call Freudian, came on Wednesday, as the US leader was meeting the wife of self-declared ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido, reports Alexandre Antonov. “Venezuela was one of the richest companies, certainly, and now it’s one of the poorest comp… countries or the world,” the host declared. When described in corporate terms, Washington’s Venezuela policy makes a lot of sense, one could argue. Think of it as a hostile takeover, aimed at creating a subsidiary out of a firm in financial trouble, which also happens to own potentially very profitable oil assets. America Inc. has spent years aggressively undermining Venezuela by scaring other companies out of doing business with it. Of course, it didn’t stop purchases of Venezuelan products needed by the US. But lately Washington declared it will no longer pay for the oil supplies, because the management in Caracas is bad and cannot be trusted to handle the profits. But don’t worry; it’s nothing a few executive changes can’t fix. "They’ve got a lot of pressure right now. They have no money, they have no oil, they have no nothing. They’ve got plenty of pressure right now. They have no electricity," Trump said. "Other than military, you can’t get any more pressure than they have... All options are open," he added. In January, the attack started in earnest under the control of Elliot Abrams, a fixer with decades of experience of arranging things in Latin America. The guy, who ran guns to Nicaraguan militants and lied to US Congress about it, knows a thing or two about doing the kind of business Washington runs in Venezuela now. Juan Guaido, a little-known low-level manager with all the right connections, appointed himself as acting CEO of Venezuela and started offering future lucrative contracts. The claim didn’t even require a vote in Venezuela itself to win unwavering support from the big bosses in DC. There is also PR guru Marco Rubio, who may not be part of the current board in the White House, but certainly is on board with its Venezuela plans. He has been busy telling everyone how sending goons to seize someone’s property is totally fine, as long as you call the victim socialist. It’s not highway robbery, just how capitalism is supposed to work, putting the most efficient people in charge! Of course the last thing you want to see in a situation like this is the security personnel of a competitor firm arriving at your target’s HQ. Hence Trump’s not-so-veiled threat to send his own security to kick out the Russians, which he uttered at the Wednesday meeting. However and as resident Putin stated recently: "Working with people who confuse Austria & Australia is hard’ – Putin on US establishment."
According to POTUS, actions by previous administrations have led to the current crisis in the South American country. Speaking to Fabiana Rosales de Guaido, the wife of Venezuelan opposition deputy Juan Guaido, and Romy Moreno Molina, the wife of Guaido's chief of staff Roberto Marrero, who is currently detained in Venezuela on terrorism charges, US President Donald Trump promised to "fix" the country's ongoing crisis. During the meeting, Trump reportedly lamented the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. He blamed previous administrations for what is happening in the country, saying that previous presidents and their teams should have been "more forward thinking." "These are things that should never have been allowed to happen," Trump said. "But I'll fix it." Trying to reassure Rosales, Trump said that things would "all work out," McClatchy reports. Rosales thanked Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as well as National Security Adviser John Bolton. Speaking to the US officials, she described the situation in Venezuela as "a terrible crisis," saying children and elderly people had died as a result. She also said she is afraid for Guaido's life. (Guaido's car was attacked by angry citizens on 26 March.) "What they don't know is when they do that, they're pushing us forward," Rosales said. "We will not rest. We are here to save lives and to give back freedom. We want to save our children; we want to save our elderly who are the ones who are suffering. This is what Venezuela is going through." The meeting was reportedly an attempt by the Trump administration to "keep US attention on the crisis [in Venezuela]" and increase pressure on Venezuela's elected President Nicolas Maduro, who maintains control over the country and its military, despite Guaido's attempts to spark a coup. Rosales also met with members of US Congress, including Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez and Rick Scott, and Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Albio Sires, as well as Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Michael McCaul and Francis Rooney. Diaz-Balart, in particular, has spoken out on the issue, calling the Venezuelan crisis a threat to US national security. "This is more dangerous for our national security than a lot of things in the Middle East that have gotten more attention in recent years," he said, according to McClatchy.
Even Melania Trump offered a photo-op with the wife of Venezuela's outlaw. Though full of sympathy for the young wife, the First Lady of the USA got immediately a few lessons to hear: 'Are You a Monster Too?' Melania Trump Slammed Over Photo Op With Guaido's Wife
Guaido also announced his next big attempt to claim the Venezuela board room on April 6. It may have no power by that time, considering how blackouts started to affect the country one after another. It’s almost like the infrastructure follows a script on how one could take over penned by Guaido’s former teachers a few years ago. Sara Flounders, who heads the anti-corporate group International Action Centre, said Trump’s policies vis-a-vis Venezuela are exactly what can be expected from a man, “representing the capitalist class in the US.” “Trump has absolutely no interest in the lives of the average person in Venezuela,” she told RT. “He is interested in business and in money and in maximizing profit.”
MUST READ: The Siege of Venezuela -- Enter “Venezuela” in the search box for the US treasury Department’s list of sanctions sorted by country and your computer reports this “MORE THAN 1000 MATCHES.”
Images of burned-out electricity generation equipment at Venezuela's biggest hydroelectric power plant were posted by the country's
communications minister on Twitter, as Caracas blamed arsonists for a crippling power blackout. A large-scale blackout hit Caracas and nearly a dozen Venezuelan states on Monday afternoon, bringing public transport to a near-standstill. People attempted to cram into overcrowded buses to get home before dusk, as the subway system was also disrupted by the outage. The blackout was reminiscent of the outage that affected over 30 million citizens on March 7 and saw the Latin American country plunged into darkness.The Venezuelan government's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez posted a series of photos showing the debilitating impact the blaze that he claimed had caused the outage had on the transmission equipment inside the Guri hydroelectric plant. The first power outage that day was restored in no time, only to be hit by a second attack at the 765 KVA power station at Guri dam - leaving the country in the dark.
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Venezuelan President Maduro ordered a 24-hour suspension of all work and education on Wednesday, so the government could fix the energy supply. The Venezuelan president accused home-grown perpetrators and their masters in Washington for carrying out the attack. "An event of this nature had never taken place in the history of Venezuelan electricity system, and it shows clearly the absence of limits of these terrorists protected by their warmongering domes that make up the military, financial and media network of supremacists," Maduro stated. Nicolas Maduro issued a statement, blaming unidentified "criminals" for the fire at the plant that has affected three autotransformers and transmission lines.
Both attacks against the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, known as the Guri Dam, affected as many as 16 of Venezuela’s 23 states. The recent attack on Venezuela’s Simon BolIvar Hydroelectric Plant was likely triggered by a sniper rifle, said Bolivarian President Nicolas Maduro during a televised notice on Wednesday. "We've never seen a terrorist attack like this, it was carried out with arms, in a vital area for the transmission of electricity," the president said. "They shot [at the electrical system] with a long distance rifle, whoever ordered the attack knew what they were doing. This is a total war," he said, noting that shot sparked a fire which burned down a section of the electric system. A quick recovery wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts of CORPOLEC, the Venezuelan state energy company, and from the security forces reconstructing the smoldering remnants of the attack, Maduro said. This new aggression happens almost 20 days after a major cyberattack to the country’s electrical system resulted in a six-day nation-wide blackout, which according to the national government was executed by the United States. "Donald Trump is obsessed with Venezuela, for our riches. He's found internal allies who are so diabolic that they can do so much damage to our country," the Bolivarian President said. President @NicolasMaduro on the perpetrators of the attack on the electrical system: "These people are bandits, there are no other words."
The electrical service in Venezuela was gradually recovering Wednesday in several regions of Venezuela after Monday’s attack to the Guri’s transmission plant. Communication and Culture Minister Jorge Rodriguez reported Wednesday by telephone about the details of the latest events linked to two terrorist attacks, performed last Monday, to the electricity transformers at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Power Plant, located in Guri, at the State of Bolivar. "The intention of the terrorist criminals who physically attacked the electronic equipment -on which the generation and distribution of most of the country’s electricity is based on- was to disable the Guri, Caruachi and Macagua hydroelectric plants, which are synchronized with each other, to generate chaos across the national territory," the Venezuelan minister denounced.
A third blackout occurred early Wednesday as a result of the system's operational instability and damages which were initially prompted by the attack to the Guri transformers. “Today, at 5 in the morning, a fault destabilized the system and caused a loss of electricity in a part of the national territory," Rodriguez informed and added that "we are investigating the reasons for the failure, repairing equipment and distributing electricity.” Meanwhile, Venezuelans were performing their daily activities in the most usual way possible, although the government decreed a suspension of work and school activities across the national territory.
The Venezuelan Public Ministry (MP) announced today the arrest of six alleged perpetrators of an incendiary sabotage in the yard of electricity transmission lines of the Guri Hydroelectric Complex, in the southern Bolívar state, which caused a new service interruption the day before.
The authorities initiated a criminal investigation with the appointment of a prosecutor with national competence and two prosecutors from the Bolívar state, to clarify what they described as “criminal attacks” registered on Monday.
The information was offered by the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab, on his Twitter account, in which he indicated that the suspects were identified as César Valencillo, Judith Lara, Venetza Leonett, José Herrera, Melvin Romero and Julio Ruiz.
The day before, there were two new acts of sabotage against the National Electric Service (SEN) at the El Guri Hydroelectric Complex in the state of Bolivar, which left most of the country without electricity, he recalled on Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).
The large fire, that affected two transformers, caused a subsequent blackout that lasted for more than 15 hours.
Minister of Communication and Tourism Jorge Rodríguez gave a press conference Wednesday showing evidence related to the recent attacks on the national electricity system (SEN) which he said were intended to cause chaos by leaving the Venezuelan people without electricity for weeks.As the electricity service returns to the country, the government is working on "the phase of total resizing of the National Electric System." "In the last two years, the Venezuelan fascist opposition has perpetrated more than 250 attacks on the National Electric System," said Rodríguez adding that such attacks have been foiled by the Venezuelan government on different occasions. While the attack intended to leave the country with no electricity for weeks, the minister said that his government has managed to resolve the issue within days. "In almost all the national territory, at this moment, there is electricity, let's take care of it! Help us help them! Save electricity!" He further urged the Venezuelan people to "save electricity and keep our willingness and decision to be free, to be sovereign, to be independent." As the electricity service returns to the country, the government is working on "the phase of total resizing of the National Electric System."
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A legal battle between the Venezuelan state-owned energy giant and its Paraguayan counterpart over a $300-million-debt had started in 2016. The settlement is now being delayed indefinitely, because an international organisation has decided to recognise self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido and refuse to deal with legitimate president Nicolas Maduro. The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (CCI), has decided to put legal proceedings against Petróleos Paraguayos (Petropar), induced by Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) over a $300-million-debt on hold, Ultima Hora reports. Petropar’s President Patricia Samudio confirmed that the ICA has ruled to temporarily suspend any type of negotiations between her company and the Venezuelan oil giant while Nicolas Maduro’s government stays in power. Samudio explained that the ICC tribunal had decided to recognise the authorities picked by self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido and to ignore Maduro’s appointees, according to the outlet. She expressed the company’s happiness over the decision. According to Petropar’s legal team, the international organisation’s ruling establishes a temporary pause, but the trial would continue after a transfer of power to Guaido and Venezuela’s political issues are resolved. The company’s lawyer explained that the first step following the transition of power would be to initiate talks and suspend any progress reached in negotiations with Maduro’s administration. He confirmed that Petropar is ready to pay interest on its debt to PDVSA, which exceeds $300 million but added that the parties should first agree on terms. Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president Guaido earlier claimed it would be correct for Paraguay not to pay the debt to the Venezuelan oil company because Nicolas Maduro would not use the money properly. PDVSA's claim against Petropar for the aforementioned debt originated during Nicanor Duarte Frutos' and Fernando Lugo’s presidencies in Paraguay about 10 years ago. Subsequent negotiations over payment did not reach an agreement, so, several years ago in 2016, the Venezuelan company filed a lawsuit with the ICC Court of Arbitration. Venezuela has been dealing with a severe political crisis since January, when the leader of the country's opposition, Juan Guaido, illegally proclaimed himself interim president, contesting the re-election of Maduro last year. The self-proclaimed head of the government immediately received support from the United States, who has also denounced Maduro's re-election, along with several other countries. China, Cuba, Russia, and a number of other countries have endorsed the constitutionally elected Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president. Since then, the state-run PDVSA and several high-profile banks in the country have faced severe sanctions. The US has imposed several rounds of measures against Venezuelan officials and entities and blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as an illegal attempt to seize Venezuela’s sovereign assets.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that a high-profile Venezuela-Russia intergovernmental meeting will be held this April, adding that the sides plan to sign nearly 20 agreements in the spheres of the economy, energy, trade and education. "A high-level working session on intergovernmental cooperation between Russia and Venezuela will be held in April. We will sign more than 20 documents on cooperation in the field of economy, trade, energy and education", Maduro said in an interview broadcast by Channel One Russia on Tuesday. Maduro added that Caracas awaits another delivery of humanitarian aid from Moscow. On 22 February, Caracas received around 7.5 tonnes of humanitarian cargo from Russia, including medicines, medical equipment and consumables, under programs of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization. On 24. March Venezuela received another 35 tonnes of medical supplies from Russia.
The revolutionary multi-party alliance that ended Apartheid supports the Venezuelan government and people. The Gauteng Province Secretary of the African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Khawe, welcomed Wednesday Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to “the Solidarity Assembly with Venezuela” and condemned the U.S. President Donald Trump’ sanctions against the Latin American country. "The fight for freedom must go on until it is won," Khawe said quoting Oliver Tambo, a late revolutionary who served as ANC President from 1967 to 1991, a period in which the anti-apartheid leader and former President Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner. During his speech, the Venezuelan Minister expressed his happiness and gratitude for the affection expressions that the South African government and people showed for his country. "The battle for Venezuela's sovereignty is also taking place at the international level, and the support of the governments and Peoples across the World allows us to face the threats," Arreaza said and commented that "we have held several meetings with government officials and... we feel support wherever we go." The solidarity event was held in Gauteng and organized by the Tripartite Alliance, a revolutionary force which brough together the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the early 1990s. Besides conveying support messages, this international meeting was conducive to the exchange of experiences and the analysis of the global political situation. The participants agreed that the U.S. blockade against Venezuela, which has no basis in international law, is a real crime against humanity. "In the past, you were able to stand up thanks to international solidarity. Now it's time to help Venezuela. The U.S. is preventing our economy from functioning. We work with Russia, China, Turkey, and India. Sometimes we send them oil and we buy goods to import them to Venezuela. This is something we could do with South Africa," Arreaza said as reported by RFI, an African media. South Africa stood behind President Nicolas Maduro at the United Nations Security Council meeting held on Feb. 28, where it voted against the U.S. request of new elections in the Latin American country. On that occasion, the South African government stated that it “could not support the U.S. resolution as it reflected a serious bias... which goes against South Africa’s Constitution and foreign policy, as well as the letter and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations,” as the Daily Maverick recalled.
Detailing an increasingly desperate situation in Venezuela, the United Nations made a confidential plea on Wednesday to the country’s two rivals, Maduro and Guaido, to end a political battle over humanitarian aid that has blocked shipments of food and medicine. A copy of the report delivered to representatives of both sides, was obtained by The New York Times. The reports casts no specific blame on either side, but it suggests that President Maduro’s antagonist, Juan Guaidó, the self-styled opposition leader, had seized on aid deliveries to try to gain the upper hand. The use of the human suffering as a political weapon by both sides is the greatest impediment to improving conditions for Venezuelans, the report said. A quarter of Venezuela’s population are now in need of humanitarian assistance in a country that was once one of the world’s wealthiest, while Millions are without regular access to water, food and medicine. Almost four million people suffer from undernourishment. Crime and disease are flourishing. Women and older people, indigenous populations and people in rural areas are the most at risk. For many, the only solution is to flee. The three-month standoff between Mr. Maduro and Mr. Guaidó over who will lead Venezuela each day more closely resembles the proxy conflicts of the Cold War. The 45-page report was compiled by a consortium of United Nations agencies and local nongovernmental organizations with the UN seeking donations of $109 million from member states to augment humanitarian assistance programs in Venezuela.
Seven years ago, a New York court claimed there was evidence to show that Iran provided “material support and resources” to al-Qaeda militants that carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks, calling on Iran to compensate victims. That court awarded the plaintiffs damages of over $7 billion. However, the Luxembourg court on Wednesday rejected the US request, stressing, “The rule on which the US court had relied to remove jurisdictional immunity is not in accordance with public international law and cannot be applied in the context of the Luxembourg case”. The court also said the plaintiffs could not continue their legal case to seize Iranian assets in the country. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Wednesday hailed the court decision as an “independent” approach, saying that Washington should come to realize that it cannot steal Iranian properties and wealth by raising such groundless accusations and lies. “Mr. Trump should learn that Iran and its great and smart people are totally different from other countries that openly offer the US their country and nation’s wealth in order to enjoy the privilege of rented security and support,” the spokesman stressed. Iran has denied any links to al-Qaeda or any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. “The era of Washington’s unilateralism and bullying behavior toward other countries is over,” he said.
Update TUE, 26. March 2019: (vf) BREAKING: Another terrorist attack on the Venezuelan electric power grid. Venezuela experienced a renewed electric sabotage in two parts, the first at 13h30 and the second and most lengthy at 21h55 local time. With the second attack Venezuela was then for 90 precent without power, which was worst then fir first attack at the beginning of March. After getting hit by another cyberattack that did not do nearly as much as the original blackout, the engineers rapidly restored 70 percent of power, only to now have it crash down to 10 percent or less due to an additional act of sabotage and arson. It is obvious that the U.S. is behind that. Considering Venezuela knows it is a cyberattack and to then have it take all power down to below 10 percent, when they already had experience handling this, shows the scoundrels are not giving up to destroy the infrastructure of Venezuela, which could mean a hot phase of the conflict has started. Countercheck
At 4 o’clock in the morning, the vice-president of Communication informed the public, in a telephone contact with the State radio stations (Radio Nacional de Venezuela), that the National Electric System “suffered two devious terrorist attacks at the hands of the violent forces” in order to install anxiety into the population. By Tuesday evening, power had been restored to most of the metropolitan area around Caracas and to some other locations around the country, including parts of the western state of Merida, although with service not yet stabilized.
A national prosecutor and two from Bolívar state will be in charge of the investigation of the second attack on the Venezuelan electricity system. Venezuela's Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, reported on Tuesday that a criminal investigation was initiated into the new sabotage of the country's electricity system, which left a large portion of the population without service. For the investigation, a prosecutor with national jurisdiction and two prosecutors from the state of Bolívar (south of the country) were appointed, where the Guri dam, whose computer system was the object of the attack. On Monday, March 25, a new attack on the electricity system left Caracas and several cities in the country without service. The authorities have achieved a progressive recovery, but in the meantime work and academic activities were suspended until Wednesday. The Venezuelan government denounced that the national right together with US officials direct attacks against El Guri, which provides 80 percent of the country's electricity. The objective would be to generate anxiety in the population and destabilization to advance the coup agenda.
At present the administration of president Maduro is only having limited success protecting Venezuela's grid, and there have been many successful attacks lately, which began after the arrest of Guiado's chief of staff and now with the arrival of Russian specialists. Recovery from the attacks seems to be happening via re-distribution of power from parts of the grid that stay up, but that can only last for so long, the system as a whole appears to have been degraded by about 7 percent on a long term basis from the recent attacks alone. Most of the water and internet services are affected by the lack of electricity and Venezuelans move around Caracas looking for the right spot to get mobil data coverage. These acts of sabotage are taking the form of guerilla-type ground attacks. Venezuela's communications minister Rodriguez said that "criminals" set fire to the installations inside the plant, which is Venezuela's largest source of hydroelectric power, at 9:50pm on Monday. "Criminals generated a fire in the 765 KVA yard of Guri, with malicious intent to damage the generation and transmission of the load," he tweeted. The minister said the "terrorists" succeeded, ultimately causing a blackout. Rodriguez said that firefighters were battling the blaze throughout the night and finally managed to put out the fire at 8:45am local time on Tuesday. Rodriquez called the alleged arson an "assault on the whole people" of Venezuela. He stressed that “an event of this nature had never been attempted in the history of the Venezuelan Electric System, and proofs the absence of any limits of the warmongers and the military, financial and media framework of the supremacists that today is exercised by the power of the United States of America and aspire to hegemonize the world’s geopolitical dominion.” In his statements, he also reported that academic and work activities were suspended for 24 hours while recovering the electrical system. So far there have been no reports of casualties in hospitals. The Caracas municipality and the Miranda governorship activated contingency plans for people to be able to return to the suburban metropolitan areas, but many residents were still left to walk miles to get back home.
The latest crippling blackout that hit Venezuela was orchestrated from the outside, Vice President Delcy Rodrigues stated, singling out the masterminds of the attack. Power went out in most of Caracas and nearly a dozen states in the afternoon on Monday, hitting local businesses and public places. The outage has also affected Venezuela’s main airport and Caracas’ metro system, spreading across 20 states of the country. Shortly after electricity was restored, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez made a televised statement, claiming that the “fascist right” and their “imperial masters” in the US had attacked key transmission lines, thus plunging the country into darkness. Rodriguez pinned blame firmly on “the trio of misfortune, perversity and criminality” – namely US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio. “What was the objective of this new attack? It was to deprive Venezuela’s people of electricity as happened so terribly just two weeks ago,” the top official stated, saying the outage was dealt with in “record time” in most parts of the country. Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez earlier said the country’s lines transmitting power to the west of Venezuela were “attacked using EMP equipment.”
Members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament are set to demand the withdrawal of Russian military from the country, lawmaker Sirit Eliezer told a parliamentary session on Tuesday. "We join lawmaker Marquina’s demand that Juan Guaido [who declared himself Venezuela’s acting president] as a commander in chief order those people, who trespassed on Venezuela’s territory, to leave immediately," he said, adding that only the National Assembly (parliament) had the exclusive authority to invite foreign armed forces to the country’s territory.
A car escorting Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president Guaidó was blocked by a group of displeased citizens, a short clip appears to show. The 10-second video, published by local television channel VPI TV, shows a car belonging to Juan Guaido’s escort sitting at a traffic light, when suddenly a man rushes to the automobile and attempts to open the driver-side door. The door was locked, but there was more in store for Guaido’s convoy: a group of bystanders began to pelt the car with stones and other projectiles. A cloud of smoke – perhaps from some sort of incendiary device – can be seen at the end of the video, as the car speeds away to avoid the angry people.
Opposition leader and self-proclaimed "president" of Venezuela Juan Guaidó earlier in the day had called on citizens to put maximum pressure on the Venezuelan authorities and force the government of Nicolas Maduro to resign. The people instead seem to think Guaidó shall stop to just produce shenanigans. It appears that the people of Venezuela are getting fed up with the games Juan Guaidó plays in and with their lives. Although the attackers have yet to be identified, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly released a statement pinning the blame on President Nicolas Maduro.
U.S. sanctions and opposition from the Inter-American Development Bank have derailed the regime’s plans to woo an Argentine turbine maker to activate two units at a hydroelectric plant that would provide a modicum of relief, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, reports Bloomberg. Venezuela’s state-run power company Corpoelec met in December with representatives of Mendoza, Argentina-based Impsa SA to revive an old contract for the Tocoma power plant in the southeastern state of Bolivar. The project, which has been halted since 2014 and whose price ballooned to nearly $9 billion, would relieve a strained grid that’s collapsing amid a lack of investment and maintenance. But during the meeting, Impsa told the officials that the company needed $30 million to complete the installation of two turbines. It never got a firm reply from Venezuela. A month and a half later, National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself the legitimate leader and was immediately recognized by the U.S., Argentina and dozens of other countries. The IDB, a multilateral lender based in Washington, voted to recognize Guaido instead of Nicolas Maduro on March 15, further complicating any work on Tocoma. Not only is the IDB a lender to Venezuela, but it’s an indirect stakeholder in Impsa after a debt-for-equity swap in April to save the company from bankruptcy. Even if the IDB approved a deal, it could be hampered by opposition from Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s government and restrictions on using the U.S. financial system for business with Venezuela. The Venezuelan Information Ministry and an Impsa spokesman declined to comment. The IDB said it doesn’t participate in the administration or management of the company and added that it’s just “an economic beneficiary of a trust of shares.”
On Tuesday afternoon the Lima Group of Latin American countries said in a statement it was concerned about the arrival of military airplanes in Venezuela. “We reiterate our condemnation of any military provocation or deployment that threatens peace and security in the region,” said the group formed in 2017 to pressure Maduro, which includes Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Peru.
Guaidó had been elected on January 5, president of the National Assembly (unicameral parliament), in contempt since 2016, a designation that was annulled by the Supreme Court of Justice on January 21. President Maduro, who assumed his second term on January 10 after elections that the opposition boycotted, called Guaidó’s declaration as a coup attempt and blamed the United States for having orchestrated it. Guaidó was immediately recognized as interim president by neighbouring Colombia and the United States, then joined in this by some 50 countries, while Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran and Turkey, among others, maintain support for the Maduro Government. Mexico and Uruguay, for their part, refuse to recognize Guaidó, declared themselves neutral and propose a dialogue between the parties to overcome the crisis.
This Tuesday begins the transfer of Venezuelan military deserters to Chile. Uribismo, through President Iván Duque, and as a good foreman of the interests and orders of the White House, undertook to maintain and host the hundreds of Venezuelan military personnel who defected from the Bolivarian Armed Forces on 23, after the failed operation golpista led by Juan Guaidó on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, report sAndrés Figueroa Cornejo. The deserters remain half abandoned in three border departments: Norte de Santander, Arauca and La Guajira. While the misrule of Duque-Uribe responds with repression to the social demands of peasants, professors, students, Afro-descendants, indigenous and workers of Colombia, it has the luxury of diverting fiscal resources to the maintenance of military personnel who have betrayed their own country, Venezuela. In the convergence of six government administrations of extreme right of Latin America called PROSUR, and made at the request of the Pentagon in Santiago de Chile, between March 21 and 23, President Iván Duque of Colombia and President Sebastián Piñera of Chile agreed that the country of Pablo Neruda and Salvador Allende would receive the military traitors who wished to go to that country to settle down. The Colombian authorities indicated that on Tuesday, March 26, the logistical aspects will be ready so that the deserter soldiers -627 in total- can leave Colombia for Chile. The promise of the extreme right-wing president of the Andean country, Sebastián Piñera, was left to the Congress and the judiciary. For the rest, only this weekend, in the Chilean capital there was a massive demonstration of support and solidarity with the constitutional government of Venezuela led by Nicolás Maduro. Likewise, due to Piñera’s antipopular policies, the president elected by only 27% of people qualified to vote, is falling vertically in opinion polls. For the Chileans, there will be a huge surprise of the arrival, not of Venezuelan migrants, but of military deserters from the Caribbean country. It would be interesting to know the opinion of the high ranking officers of the Chilean Armed Forces and the Army in particular who, totally different from the Chavez Armed Forces, boasts of a brutal classism, have a “Prussian” imprint, and display a racism and xenophobia famous on the continent. (OPAL Prensa / Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Moscow is angry that the leadership of the Organization of American States (OAS) decided to support Washington's "colonizer ambitions" and groundlessly accuse Russia of interference in Venezuela's affairs and even military intervention. The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on Tuesday: "We regret that the OAS leadership imprudently helps to strengthen Washington's colonizer ambitions as if it does not understand that any of the regional states can be placed under US pressure next." Zakharova was quoted by the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry. She added that Moscow was not surprised with the "politically motivated" and groundless claim by the OAS General Secretariat that Russia, which backs the legitimate government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, conducted a military intervention in Venezuela, thus breaching its sovereignty. On the electric power situation Zakharova pointed outL "It was an attempt to remotely influence control systems at major electrical substations where Canadian-made equipment is installed," an added: "Clearly, those who carried out this act of aggression were well aware of its operation algorithms and vulnerabilities. It is them who are to blame for the loss of human life, including in hospitals that were left without power." Zakharova also noted that Western countries were increasingly using such harmful methods, aimed at affecting infrastructure facilities, as part of the so-called hybrid war.
According to a report published by Orlando Avendaño “the figure of interim president to which Juan Guaidó subsequently proclaimed himself, was born a meeting at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS).” Avendaño says that in this OAS meeting on 14. December 2018, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, Julio Borges, Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado, and Antonio Ledezma stated that the anti-Chavez opposition’s best move would be to promote a “transitional government”, supported by the U.S. of America. Modern analysts see it as a return to medieval strategies and practices, when for example Don Fernando de Guzman proclaimed himself, “by the grace of God, Prince of Terra Firma and Peru,” ignoring his allegiance to King Phillip of Spain, because Guzman was not willing to share the riches of the mythical Dorado with any king across the Atlantic; or England, during the second half of the 15th century, which was plunged into a chaos of intrigue and shifting alliances, because two irreconcilable sides, the Yorks and the Lancasters, fought to the death for the throne. The self-proclaimed kings were many, as ambitious men and women competed ruthlessly for the crown. In Venezuela today, such ideas and strategies have no more room and not any backing by the educated people of the country.
Members of the European Parliament (EP) are even too dumb to vote. A vote to consider amendments to the very controversial Articles 11 and Article 13 of the European copyright law has failed in the European Parliament by a margin of five votes. However, enough MEPs to flip the result now say they mis-clicked. A total of 13 MEPs have issued corrections to their voting on Tuesday, when the European Parliament narrowly rejected debating amendments that might have watered down or even completely erased Articles 11 and 13 from the updated EU copyright rules. Instead, the lawmakers voted to bypass additional debate on the highly contentious provisions by 317 votes against 312, and proceeded to pass the entire legislation by 348 votes to 274. According to European Parliament voting guidelines, MEPs can register corrections to their votes, but without changing the actual result, which is done and dusted once the voting is finished. Marietje Schaake, MEP from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, drew attention to the fateful mistake on Twitter as soon as corrections were published by the European Parliament. A total of 13 MEPs said that they did not intend to vote the way they did. Of these, 10 said they wanted to vote for amendments, but instead voted against them; while two MEPs had it the other way around. One MEP claimed that he wanted to abstain from the vote altogether. Schaake noted that the new count would have allowed the debate to be reopened which, potentially, could have paved the way for Articles 11 and 13 to be revised or repealed. Though it is not uncommon that MEPs do not even show up for the sessions of the EP and waste taxpayers money elsewhere or usually just cast votes just based on what their party tells them, these specific MEPs should loose their mandate immediately, because they do not even have the brains to press the right button. How can such people be entrusted to decide over the life circumstances of European citizensor in terms of foreign policy to opt for or against weapons sales, sanctions, regime change and other nation's affairs, as they do concerning Venezuela? If the MEPs do not even have the brains and guts to annull their own wrong doings, the European Parliament should be dissolved. Looking at the BREXIT mess and the EP disasters it becomes once again clear that citizens are more intelligent than their so-called representatives. High time to abolish representative "democracy" and to revert to open, transparent referenda achieving prior informed consent. This comes as a new alarming report claims American Christian conservative groups funneled millions to fund “shocking” meddling in European politics. The report released by the UK-based political website openDemocracy this week spares no black paint to produce a picture of gross interference in European affairs. The perpetrators are conservative Christian charities, which, the records show, pumped at least $50 million into European countries. The dumb vote-stooges of the EP even get foreign slush&hush-money in addition to their undeserved lavish remunerations.
The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York invites trade unionists, workers, journalists, analysts and other activists to know the movement of Venezuelan revolutionary workers during the celebrations of May First who sympathize with the Bolivarian Revolution to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming May. Witness: the struggle of the Venezuelan people in the framework of one of the most critical time for the survival of the Bolivarian revolution and in the midst of an economic warfare and multiple economic sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’ administration. come and see for yourselves the reality of the country learn that there is no humanitarian crisis but an economic war led by the United States and its allies in the region.
Come see by yourself communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization community-run art, media, education, union leaders, health and nutrition efforts alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.
Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela—as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat—we are hope!”
- When: April 26 -May 5 2018
- Tentative itinerary: Start and end in Caracas; visits to the states of Miranda and Aragua.
- Cost for activities: $900. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, 2 meals per day, qualified trip leaders, and Spanish-English interpretation. Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal. Airfare not included. Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York.
- For more information: cbalbertolovera [at] gmail.com.
Update MON, 25. March 2019: (vf) Electric power grid restored for most areas. Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez confirmed that electricity supplies have been restored almost throughout the entire country. "Electricity has already been restored almost everywhere throughout the national territory," Rodriguez said Monday without elaborating further. Venezuela suffered earlier another major blackout on Monday, with disruption of electricity grids having been observed in at least 16 of Venezuela's 23 states and the capital region, according to several sources incl. AFP, Reuters et al.
The power outage was registered at 13h30 local time (17:30 GMT). National electricity supplier Corpoelec reported that the blackout was the result of sabotage at the major Guri hydroelectric power plant in the country's east. Power was out in much of eastern Caracas as well as downtown, where the Miraflores presidential palace and most government ministries are located. Authorities said the Caracas subway was shutting down due to the lack of power. Several western states had no power, according to Reuters witnesses, though it remained on in the southern city of Puerto Ordaz and in parts of Valencia, the country’s third-largest city. President Maduro has pinned the blame for the crisis firmly on the United States of America, while Washington has denied having a role in the blackouts. Sabotage as a U.S.-instigated counter-action to the Russian support coming to Venezuela has so far also not been ruled out this time.
A visit of Russian military personnel to Venezuela is in no way connected to the statements of the United States on potential intervention in Venezuela, a diplomatic source in Caracas told Rusian state-owned media outlet Sputnik on Monday. According to earlier reports, planes with high-ranking Russian military personnel and 99 troopers had arrived in Caracas on Saturday, while a diplomatic source told Sputnik the visit was linked to the contracts, including defense ones. "No, these things are in no way connected. This [visit] is about discussing contracts that had been concluded long before the crisis in Venezuela," the source said, when asked about a potential link. Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, arrived with the contingent in Venezuela.The source further said that Russia and Venezuela had not signed contracts for the supply of S-300 air defence missile systems to Caracas recently, the systems were delivered to Venezuela in 2013. "Contracts for the supply to Venezuela of S-300 air defense missile systems have not been signed recently. Russia delivered these systems to Caracas already in 2013," the source said. It, however, seems likely that Russian cyber-security specialists, power-grid experts as well as defence-system specialists are among the team and tasked to stabilize the infrastructure as well as to ready defence systems.
“The United States condemns Russia’s deployment of military aircraft and personnel to Caracas, which is another contradiction of both Nicolas Maduro’s and Russia’s calls for non-intervention in Venezuela and is a reckless escalation of the situation,” a State Department spokesman said on condition of anonymity. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a phone call on Monday that Washington would “not stand idly by” as Russia backed Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic collapse of a once-bustling economy. However, Pompeo did not say what the United States would do in response to Russian troops.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday that he believed the United States of America had tried to organize a coup in Venezuela and this violated the United Nations Charter, the foreign ministry said. Earlier on Monday, the State Department said Pompeo had called on Russia to cease what he called its “unconstructive behavior” by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and condemned Russian military support for his government.
In turn, Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, affirmed on Monday on Twitter that Washington is trying to “interfere in the technical-military cooperation programs between Russia and Venezuela, ”while at the same time the United States has a large number of military bases around the world – “a good part” of which is located in Latin America – and “a growing military budget of more than $ 700 billion.” Arreaza described this behaviour of the U.S. authorities as “cynicism”.
US sanctions don’t work, make human rights situation worse – UN sanctions rapporteur
All in all, at least 25 percent of the world’s population lives under unilateral US sanctions, their livelihoods impacted by geopolitical decisions made half a world away.
“Those sanctions are considered to be illegitimate according to international law. Those sanctions are not the result of a decision of the [UN] Security Council,” UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Coercive Measures Idriss Jazairy told RT.
The US’ sanctions on Iran, Jazairy continued, are “the most constraining ones in the world.” The Islamic Republic’s aviation, banking, energy, shipping and military sectors are all affected, while third parties are forbidden from doing business with Tehran. While Trump pulled out of the Iran deal on the grounds that Tehran was violating its conditions, the US’ intelligence agencies “do not believe” that Iran was then or is now pursuing a nuclear weapon, according to their yearly report.
“That means that the people of Iran are going to be submitted to a terrible pressure, and enormous sufferings. I don’t think this is fair. It’s okay if you have a disagreement with a political leadership to try and sort it out or negotiate a solution, but to make the people pay is not fair.”
Squeezing a nation’s people to achieve a political goal is a risky move too. When the US extended its embargo on Cuba to almost all of the country’s exports in 1962, its intention was to destabilize the Castro regime and force its collapse. Over four decades later, Cuba’s socialist government is still in power. Cubans rallied around the flag, and resisted el bloqueo, as the economic blockade is called there.
If you want to change a political system in a country, the last thing you should do is to apply sanctions. You’ll consolidate the system you’re trying to change.
The current situation in Venezuela is a similar one. The country’s destitute economy has been further hit by US sanctions, the latest round targeting the socialist country’s development bank after Maduro’s government arrested an aide to Juan Guaidó, opposition leader and self-declared ‘interim president.’
Washington’s punitive pressure campaign on Caracas has been decried by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who warned they “may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis” and have “repercussions on people’s basic rights and wellbeing.”
Now that the European Union has joined in the sanctions effort on Venezuela, Jazairy is doubly concerned, calling on all the capitals to “carry out a human impact assessment review” first.
By applying sanctions which will deprive people of food, medication, humanitarian supplies, we are in fact exacerbating the human rights impact that we criticize of the country targeted.
Over $30 billion of Venezuela’s assets stolen on ‘Trump’s orders’ – official. More than US$30 billion were illegally diverted from Venezuela in two months, the country’s communications and information minister has revealed, accusing the US of orchestrating the operation. Around $1 billion of the stolen funds from national assets in international banks was transferred to the personal accounts of opposition leaders, according to Communications and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez. The money is meant to finance “terrorist cells against the country,” he added.
“They have resorted to stealing the assets that Venezuela holds in different banks. This money is being confiscated at the request of the [US President Donald] Trump administration. Over $30 billion has been stolen in the past couple of months,” Rodriguez said on Saturday as cited by VTV state television.
The scheme was allegedly coordinated by US-backed opposition leader and self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó, as well as his key aids – Leopoldo Lopez, and the recently detained Roberto Marrero, among others. Information gathered from Marrero’s cell phone indicates that Venezuelan lawyer Juan Planchart received some part of the stolen money, according to the minister. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused “the devil’s puppet” Guaidó of plotting his assassination. Earlier in March, he accused Washington of stealing $5 billion in Venezuelan funds allocated for buying substances necessary for medicine production and their delivery to hospitals and pharmacies.
The US has been tightening sanctions and economic pressure on Maduro’s government and openly calling for regime change, while pledging support to Guaidó. Last week, the Treasury Department slapped the country with sanctions on state-run mining company Minerven and its head, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata. Other restrictions target the Venezuelan oil sector, which is crucial for the country to keep the economy afloat, as oil revenues account for about 98 percent of its export earnings.
No doubt, the timing of the S-300 redeployment is purposeful, meant to send a strong message to Washington, though it remains unclear just how active the Russian military will be in Venezuela. The professional monitoring service Image Satellite International (or Image Sat) had published satellite imagery it analyzed, showing additional S-300 missiles that have been deployed to the Captain Manuel Rios Airbase in the Guarico state of Venezuela (see on 20th March). Image Sat commented on the new images: "The deployment includes five launchers and a 9S32ME multi-channel missile guidance radar (MMGR). Venezuela increases its operational readiness due to regional tension." All of these developments signalling closer Russian-Venezuelan military-to-military cooperation in the face of Washington saber rattling come after three months ago the two allies held military exercises on Venezuelan soil, which the US at the time had condemned as Russia encroachment in the region. One of those warnings delivered directly by Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov to US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow, Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden reports. And just a day following the contingency of Russia troops landing in Caracas, Maduro's National Bolivarian Armed Forces have reportedly activated S-300 missiles after completing military drills that previously took place in February.
Interestingly President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to study the risks of an electromagnetic pulse that could potentially disrupt or damage technology and critical U.S. infrastructure. Some lawmakers and scientists have long worried that a rogue nation or terrorist group with the technological know-how might attack the U.S. electric grid with an EMP generated by a nuclear detonation miles above the Earth. It’s not clear why the White House considers the risk of an EMP urgent enough for Trump’s action. Trump’s order is intended to increase public- and private-sector planning for an EMP, whether it’s produced by a bomb or a cosmic event, administration officials said in a conference call. The officials said the order was driven by concern about the general risks of an EMP, not a specific threat. Did he learn something from th strategists planning to totally disrupt the Venezuelan power-grid, which could also in turn be used against U.S. installations?
President Nicolas Maduro made a phone call to the Diosdado Cabello’s TV show, “Con el Mazo Dando” and informed them about the most recent sabotage events on the Guri Dam affecting, in a second round, the electric systems nationwide. The head of state informed them that the electric service has been restored in 85% of the country, and that there was infrastructure completely destroyed but also infrastructure damaged. “We have Corpoelec workers doing shifts of 12 hours”, said the President. He also mentioned that he expects to offer better news in the coming hours but that for now the system is unstable. He also extended the no-school day and non-working day until Thursday. “We know our people wonder why a new attack like this happened in locations secured by law enforcement agencies,” he said. The President mentioned that the investigation into the incident is advancing and highlighted that they are certain that the attack on the dam’s transformers yard was made by a sniper with an excellent understanding of the most vulnerable places. “We are in a situation of war and from today the Revolution will coordinate with communes, communal councils and CLAPs the creation of a Peace Crew to deter the formation of Guarimbas,” said Maduro. “This Saturday we are going to have a nationwide mobilization, ‘Operation Defense of Freedom’. This won’t be a drill this will be an Operation”, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution said. He also referred to the Executive Order just signed by Donald Trump today on the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). The Venezuelan government, since the first attack on the Guri Dam, has mentioned that the transmisión lines have also been sabotaged by the US using this technology.
MUST READ: Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Criticizes Trump's Failed Bid to Isolate Venezuela whilst the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Allen Chastanet; President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina; Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness; Haitian President, Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Minnis met with the U.S. President.
In a short video posted to Twitter, the famed English rock star and activist expressed disgust with those who supported Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó and his attempt to push President Nicolas Maduro out of office. “We were right about #RUSSIAGATE we’re right about VENEZUELA,” he wrote in a message accompanying the video clip, likely in reference to Robert Mueller’s special investigation finding no “collusion” between US President Donald Trump and the Kremlin.
A message to VENEZUELA from SWITZERLAND via CHILE#HANDSOFFVENEZUELA,
We were right about #RUSSIAGATE we’re right about VENEZUELA.
Watch full video: https://t.co/l6XGCacGrv#ElDerechoDeVivirEnPazpic.twitter.com/uvuJqFAk1j
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) March 24, 2019
To see a great experiment in Bolivarian socialism taking place in a great country like Venezuela, and to watch the evil empire destroy it, is sickening. It’s failed. The coup failed. Guaido can go back to being a thug on the street, or whatever it was that he did.He mocked the Western assertion that Maduro was a coldhearted dictator, noting that in a real totalitarian state, Guaidó would have been detained and executed. Instead, he’s allowed to travel freely between Venezuela and Colombia.
See: ‘Nothing to do with aid or democracy’: Roger Waters slams ‘humanitarian’ concert for Venezuela “Maybe Maduro needs to take lessons in evil dictatorship from some of the people supported by the United States of America,” the rock star joked.
He ended his video, in which he also addressed "this prick Richard Branson", with a short message to his fans:
We are strong, and we are many, and we will win this battle in the end. Stop the evil empire. VIDEO
Roger Waters referred to "Sir" Richard Branson, the "Humanitarian" Anglo-Saxon", whose flopped BandAid surrogate was supposed to deliver th backdropped to the failed coup attempt on 23. February 2019 at the Venezuelan border to Clombia. His great grandfather was James Henry Arthur Branson, senior acting magistrate in Calcutta, India. There in the year 1943 more than three million people died in a little over a year, but not at the hands of Adolf Hitler, rather under supervision of respectable British gentlemen who deprived the Indians of food. Ten years earlier the Soviet government did the same to the Ukrainians, where up to 7.5 million died. If left unchecked, supremacists always have caused mass-death of "the other."
RealitySatire: Thousands of poisonous Bufo toads have infested the Florida suburb of Palm Beach Gardens, U.S.A., where usually right-wing Venezuelan and Cuban dissidents gather. The brown toads can be highly poisonous. They were first introduced to Florida in 1955. Observers wonder if the extremely poisonous Bufo Rubio is also on the loose again. According to the University of Florida Wildlife Extension website, when the "species is threatened or handled, it secretes a highly toxic milky substance from its large parotoid glands (external skin glands) at the back of its head, behind the ears where others have brains. This secretion can burn your eyes, may irritate your skin and can kill mammals, if they ingest the secretion." It is not known if Toad Busters, a toad removal service in South Florida, has caught the U.S. senator Marco Rubio, a fanatic fundmentalist Christian of the extreme-far-right, in their sweep. "They're not safe," Mark Holladay, a lead technician with Toad Busters, told WPTV. "Right now, it's the season for them," Amy Kight, executive director of the Busch (or Bush?) Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida, added in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.
Update SUN, 24. March 2019: (vf) The president of Venezuela has accused Juan Guaidó of plotting to kill him, after the opposition leader’s aide was arrested as an alleged terrorist and charged with recruiting foreign mercenaries to carry out attacks and sabotage.
“American imperialists want to kill me. We just exposed the plan that the devil's puppet [Juan Guaidó] personally directed to kill me,” President Nicolas Maduro told his supporters on Saturday, claiming his government has “evidence” on the opposition’s alleged criminal activities.
Roberto Marrero, chief of staff to the US-backed opposition leader Guaidó, conspired with his boss to finance terrorist acts in Venezuela, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez told the nation on Saturday, accusing the arrested members of the opposition of trafficking hitmen from Central America.
“Assassins and paramilitaries have been recruited using large amounts of money so that they can be sent to Colombia to receive training,” he said. “Marrero was involved in contracting people from Guatemala and Colombia to comply with the recruitment and training plan for assassins.”
Information gathered from Marrero’s cell phone indicates that the opposition was planning to put together eight to 10 hit teams, each comprising at least eight mercenaries, to carry out assassinations, sabotage and acts of terrorism against government institutions in Venezuela.
At least 60 people had received special paramilitary training in Colombia and half of them have allegedly already infiltrated Venezuela, following the failed attempt to bring in the so-called humanitarian convoys from the US on February 23.
“At least 30 paramilitaries hired from El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala –trained in Colombia– entered Venezuela. We are looking for them. We have already identified some,” he said on state television, showing screenshots from Marrero’s phone as proof and accusing the US of running the operation.
Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material. An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24. The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site. In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed in Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.
The existing deal was ratified by both Russia and Venezuela, and it “doesn’t require any additional approval from the National Assembly of Venezuela,” she pointed out.
President Maduro had already last Wednesday announced Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela. That cargo arrived now.
Update SAT, 23. March 2019: (vf) The economic blockade imposed on Venezuela by the government of the United States is “a perverse method without any guarantee of victory,” the president of the right-wing party Solutions for Venezuela, Claudio Fermín, said last Monday, as reported by Orinoco Times today..
“Here is a strategy of economic suffocation under the premise that economically suffocating Venezuela (Nicolás) Maduro sinks (…) and the country gets rid of him,” said the opposition leader in the show “Vladimir a la 1” , broadcast by Globovisión.
The former head of the presidential campaign of Henri Falcón in the elections of May 2018 added that these sanctions only seek to plunge the country into poverty so that it is an exhausted people who “push out” the constitutionally elected government, while denouncing that “the worst thing is that there are opposition comrades who have warned us that more pressures are coming”.
He also said he did not agree with the violence, deception and economic blockade as a measure of pressure on the National Government, for which reason he repudiated that various opposition political leaders even celebrate an armed invasion in Venezuela.
“I want to protest, I want to call for sanity. One thing is the appetite for power, another thing is the desire for power, another thing is the need for changes we have and another thing is to lose everything in a game of dice, we want change for the better, we want change to give life to Venezuela. We do not want the change to be all of us watching over our dead in thousands and thousands of funeral homes because there is a civil war, “he said.
He defended the need for an understanding between both political sectors and to establish a dialogue in the country, assuring that it is precisely the disagreement of the right with the management of the government of Nicolás Maduro, that is the main reason to negotiate.
“We should never exhaust the time to negotiate, never (…) those of us who live here have to live together and those of us who have presented ourselves as promoters of democracy should never forget that democracy is coexistence,” he said.
On the other hand, he said that two months have passed since the president of the National Assembly in contempt, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself president in charge of Venezuela, “but I still do not see what is the exercise of his interim presidency.”
He also said that if the case arises that Juan Guaidó runs for president in an electoral process, he could not vote for him because he is someone who promotes and supports the country’s economic blockade. (Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Back in 2009, Russia agreed to lend Venezuela over $2 billion to purchase 92 tanks and an S-300 missile system that can shoot down fighter jets and cruise missiles. Two battalions of S-300VM "Antey-2500" were delivered in May 2012. Venezuelan Armed Forces had put the S-300s into operational readiness after holding military drills in February.
Update FRI, 22. March 2019: (vf) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not recognize the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó as “president interim” of Venezuela due to lack of consensus in the organization.
The IMF said that “there is still no clarity” among its member countries about the possible recognition of Juan Guaidó, said Gerry Rice , spokesperson for the institution at a press conference, while noting that there is no expected vote on the issue in the Executive Directory.
Indebting Venezuela is the goal of Guaidó
Indebting Venezuela and placing it at the feet of international banking is one of the plans contemplated by the Country Plan presented in February this year by the president of the National Assembly in contempt, Juan Guaidó.
According to the “plan” one of the objectives is “to access multilateral banking to request the financing required under preferential conditions and international economic aid.” In other words, the right tries to apply the same recipe of Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1989, resorting to the IMF, the same body that does not recognize Guaidó.
Already in January of this year, members of the “team” of Guaidó showed that the right-wing sought to resort to the IMF to “raise resources”, said on that occasion the Mexican portal Expansion. (VLN - Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Twenty-three countries voted to in favor of the measure, with eight opposing it. Another 15 countries abstained, while one was absent. The countries that voted against adopting the report were Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Hungary, Togo and Ukraine. Shame on them!!!, but the abstainers are not much better.
Update THU, 21. March 2019: (vf) “Today, Roberto Marrero has been arrested by SEBIN (Venezuela's intelligence agency),” reported REUTERS the opposition legislator Sergio Vergara as having stated. Vergara, whose own residence was raided early on Thursday, was speaking in comments broadcast via Instagram. His bodyguard, Luis Paez, faces similar charges.
This Thursday afternoon, March 21, Minister Néstor Reverol announced the reasons why Roberto Marrero (Self-proclaimed’s chief of staff) was arrested and his house searched: This is in relation to the involvement of the operator close to Juan Guaidó in the structuring and financing of criminal groups whose objectives would have been the selective assassination of chavista officials and leaders.
At a press conference, Reverol said that Marrero was seized with weapons of war and money (hard currency) in cash, at the same time the intelligence and security services of the State dismantled a terrorist cell that planned to make a series of selective attacks and in this plot the opposition would have hired Colombian and Central American mercenaries.
Likewise, Luis Páez Salazar, who serves as Marrero’s escort, was also arrested. The state actions were made in conjunction with the Public Ministry and all due process steps were followed.
When Marrero was apprehended, the local and international antichavismo vented the height of its frustration in accusations of kidnapping and violation of parliamentary immunity, however, the former mayor of Baruta is not a deputy since the CNE in 2015 did not admit his registration to replace Carlos Vecchio on the Monagas list, so he did not legally obtain the benefits of the parliamentarian immunity.
President Maduro is only having limited success protecting Venezuela's grid, and there have been many successful attacks lately, which began again after the arrest of self-proclaimed Guiado's chief of staff. Recovery from the attacks seems to be happening via re-distribution of power from parts of the grid that stay up, but that can only last for so long, the system as a whole appears to have been degraded by about 7 percent on a long term basis from the recent attacks alone. These are taking the form of guerilla type ground attacks waged by circles trying to overthrow the government, which face a magnificent resistance waged by government and operators as well as a heroic resiliance of the people.
Update WED, 20. March 2019: (vf) The US economic pressure only contributes to Venezuela’s woes and will likely further affect the people’s “basic rights,” the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has warned, as the US threatens even tougher sanctions. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stepped up her criticism of the US policies against crisis-ridden Venezuela, saying that Washington’s approach only makes the situation there worse. Bachelet in particular expressed her concern over the sanctions targeting Venezuela’s oil trade, as these “may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis” and have “repercussions on people’s basic rights and wellbeing.” It is not the first time the UN human rights chief has scolded Washington over its pressure against the Latin American country, which suffers from hyperinflation and other economic problems. On March 6, Bachelet said that the sanctions had fueled the crisis, which had reached an “alarming” state. In Washington’s universe, however, all its actions are only helping Venezuelans. Even though President Donald Trump recently admitted that “something terrible is going on down there” – he assumed that it was only because the US was not tough enough. Caracas slammed Washington’s policies and rhetoric, with Venezuela’s representative to the UN office in Geneva, Jorge Valero Briceno, blaming the “baseless international media campaign” for totally distorting the reality there.
The United States government has been pillaging our economic resources and denying Venezuela the possibility of acquiring the necessary food and medicines for our people,
Valero said, adding that the real situation on the ground has been “distorted by the baseless international media campaign.”
Today the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, presented a first, quite controversial report on the Venezuelan scenario in which she, however, proposed to find a political solution.
Here are some of the phrases that emerge from the preliminary report (Source URL: La IguanaTV - Translated by JRE)::
-I am extremely concerned about the magnitude and seriousness of the impact of the crisis on human rights.
-It is essential that the (UN) team has full and unrestricted access, and that no retaliation against any person who has been interviewed or attempted to be interview by them.
- Since June 2018 – Last time we published a report on Venezuela – the exercise of social and economic rights has continued to deteriorate continuously.
-The authorities have refused to recognize the size and severity of the crisis.
-The recent interruption of the electricity supply that affected the entire country has aggravated this situation, by further reducing the population’s access to food, water and medicines, and has also seriously affected hospitals.
-The health care system continues to deteriorate.
-According to a recent survey, more than one million children have stopped attending school, mostly because their parents can not provide them with breakfast.
-Although this devastating social and economic crisis began before the imposition of the first economic sanctions in 2017, I am concerned that the recent sanctions on financial transfers derived from the sale of Venezuelan oil to the US may contribute to aggravating the economic situation.
- I am deeply concerned about the reduction of the democratic space, in particular the continuous criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent.
-My office documented numerous violations and human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces and armed groups.
So far the preliminary report. It is hoped that the final report will go much more into the details and points out the real causes of the present crisis in Venezuela, which is embattled by the U.S.A.
Pasqualina Curcio responded and addressed Human Rights Commissioner Mme. Michelle Bachelet with the following words: In 1972, at the UN, Allende said: “It is so much more painful to have to come to this rostrum to denounce that my country is a victim of serious aggression. Imperialism and its cruelty have a long and ominous history in Latin America , we are victims of a new manifestation of imperialism. More subtle, more artful, and terribly effective, to prevent the exercise of our sovereign State rights. This financial asphyxia of brutal projections has resulted in a severe limitation of our supply possibilities”.
Few listened to him.
A year later, 1973, they bombed La Moneda. Pinochet assumed the presidency. He initiated the most bloody of dictatorships.
Two years later, in 1975, senators from the US Congress demonstrated that the CIA participated in the coup d’ état. They concluded that it overthrew a democratic government to establish a dictatorship.
Half a century later, 2019, it is all the more painful to have to denounce that my country, Venezuela, is a victim of the same serious aggression.
We live in an economic and political situation, which without becoming a humanitarian crisis, is characterized by the difficulty to acquire medicines and some foods, as well as the accelerated increase in prices. The causes are the unilateral and illegal coercive measures of imperialism and the attacks on our currency that to date have caused us losses of more than 110 billion dollars, equivalent to 30 years of food and medicine for our people.
As in Chile , we have been victims of fascist and terrorist acts. Recently we suffered a criminal blackout that left 30 million Venezuelans without electricity, water, fuel and communication for 4 days. A blackout similar to that suffered by the Chilean people on August 14, 1973. It is no coincidence.
Mrs. High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN , Venezuelans do not need humanitarian aid. We demand that imperialism lift the financial and commercial blockade, stop the attack on our currency and stop the terrorist acts against our people.
We demand justice.
Recognizing that these actions and manifestations of imperialism are crimes against humanity would be an important step for world stability and peace.
In respect to that, the UN has had, for decades, a great debt.
(Source URL: Con el Mazo Dando / Translated by JRE/EF-OT)
Some 155 Venezuelan doctors will conclude their specialty training in Cuba in 2020, a great opportunity for the country considering the strengths of Cuban medical education, according to Yanet Torrealba Cordero, deputy director of the Health Ministry’s Research and Education Directorate, who, noted some key characteristics of the Cuban system, saying, “Their experience in the missions, their experience in the Revolution, in a different system of equity and equality, not mercantilist, but social.” She is also responsible for the Specialist Training Project within the Comprehensive Cuba-Venezuela Cooperation Agreement, adding that this step means strengthening the system with the required talent, a demand initiated by President Chávez. “Our brothers in Cuba have been strategic allies for our health network, both in the medical training of General Practitioners (MGI) and these specialists,” she added. Dr. Fernando González Isla, head of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela, said that in recent years more than 24,000 community doctors have been trained in Venezuela, now working alongside 21,000 Cuban doctors, contributing to the construction of an ideal health care system. Since the beginning of Cuban medical solidarity in Venezuela, more than 140,000 health care professionals have participated.
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced on Wednesday that a shipment of medicines and active ingredients for the manufacture of medicines from Russia will arrive in his country. “Next week, the Government of Russia will start delivery of several tons of medicines and assets to Venezuela, and this is going to continue for several weeks, ” the president said on national television. Earlier this month, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez told a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the medicines and food needed by Caracas will be purchased from Moscow. “President Nicolás Maduro has also given very clear instructions that the food the people of Venezuela need, medicines needed by the people of Venezuela shall be acquired in Russia and that we’ll also establish industrial investment for the production of these in our country. jointly”, said the vice president. Already in February tons of medicines had arrived to meet the needs of the Venezuelan population in coordination with the Russian government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). In addition Venezuela’s Health Ministry reported that 64 containers, amounting to 933-tons of medicine and medical aid arrived in Venezuela, mostly from China and Cuba. Also, in February the Red Cross increased its budget in Venezuela to $18 million.
Operation Miracle, the free Cuban-Venezuelan eyecare program has brought back sight to more than 700,000 Bolivians in the last 12 years. The program offers 100 percent free optometry consultations, exams, surgeries and medications to low-income people. “In recent years 707,737 Bolivians recovered their sight again, and all these patients did not pay a peso, it was all free,” the Bolivian Minister of Health, Gabriela Montaño, said Friday on a official statement. The program was launched in 2004 by late revolutionary leaders, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez. During its first year, only Venezuelan patients were treated but in 2005 it was extended to other Caribbean, Central and South American countries. Initially, patients had to travel to Cuba to for treatment, but in 2006 the program set up ophthalmology centers in several nations, including Bolivia. The program offers 100 percent free optometry consultations, exams, surgeries and medications to low-income people, which in Bolivia are treated in five specialized ophthalmology centers. These establishments are located in the municipalities of El Alto, Guayaramerín, Yacuiba, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz. In the last 12 years, as the Bolivian Ministry of Health stated, Operation Miracle performed 505,663 pterygium surgeries (growth of tissue in the eye due to high exposure to wind and sun) and 86,396 cataract surgeries (the natural process of aging of the lens), the first cause of reversible blindness. “Thanks to President Evo Morales and Cuban doctors, we see now with no problem and we can carry out all our daily activities,” a 63-year-old couple, Rogelio Velazquez and Angelica Rosse told Prensa Latina. According to the Cuban Ophthalmology Institute, by 2017 there are 65 ophthalmology centers, equipped with 93 operating theaters, in 18 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, providing treatment to people in 34 nations.
Update TUE, 19. March 2019: (vf) BREAKING: Veterans For Peace (VFP) calls on all members of the U.S. military to refuse illegal orders to intervene in Venezuela. Furthermore, VFP urges all U.S. military leaders to inform the U.S. president that they will order their units to stand down from preparations to invade Venezuela.
A group of military deserters of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) based now in Cúcuta, Colombia, is willing to make videos and audios public with information about meetings between some leaders of the Venezuelan opposition with the Colombian military, where the actions to bomb the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, which connects both nations, is mentioned and are detailed.
“We are no longer welcomed here (in Cucuta), they give us food once a day, they don’t want to take care of the sick; there is a lot of internal dispute between us and there are already several of us who want to go back the Venezuelan and present themselves to the Venezuelan justice system and negotiate a pardon by providing videos and audios where they try to bomb the Simón Bolívar bridge”, a military official affirmed in a conversation via WhatsApp with the deputy of the National Assembly in contempt, Gabriela Arellano (opposition). The defectors also urged Arellano to attend to their requests or “we will continue giving statements and we will say everything. They promised us and now they do not keep the promises and have abandoned us in a hotel”. The disgruntled defectors hold her responsible – jointly with the deputy José Manuel Olivares – for everything that happens to them. The spokesperson of the run-away soldiers stated that they are no longer welcome in Colombia and are treated as “delinquents” by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The former officers are tired of having been abandoned after false promises were given by the self-proclaimed “president in charge” of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. They demand that he fulfills the agreement made in the days prior to the 23 of February, when Guaidó was trying to force proclaimed but not permitted humanitarian "aid" of US origin into Venezuela in attempt t stage a coup d'etat. She was a co-conspirator on 23rd February 2019 on the Bolivar bridge when defecting army soldiers in 2 stolen APCs rammed into the barriers and injured innocent travellers seriously. For this and the other crimes Arellanao must face a court of law and can no longer be tolerated as a deputy. It is important to highlight that the group of defectors is made up not only of Army officials and troops but from different law enforcement agencies and that some of them were previously dismissed for misconduct from those agencies and the Army.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Trump and Brazil’s President Bolsonaro discussed cooperation over Venezuela, where both want to oust socialist President Maduro and Trump stated bluntly in front of reporters: “as you know we have yet to impose the toughest sanctions” on Venezuela. Bolsonaro, who visited the CIA headquarters before the meeting with Trump, is a former army captain who styled his 2018 campaign after Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Bolsonaro declared himself an unabashed admirer of the U.S. president, his politics, and the “American way of life”. On several occasions Bolsonaro openly praised former dictators of Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay as well as the ‘Chicago Boys.’ Trump in turn pondered about a possible NATO membership of Brazil. In 2018, Colombia became the only Latin American nation to join NATO, as a “global partner”, but that triggered several movements in European nations to finally opt out of NATO and the US-American bullying into military spenings.
The global partner category was created to allow alliances beyond the North Atlantic region, which covers the US, Europe and Canada, and does not necessarily imply participation in military operations, but cooperation in areas of mutual interest in terms of security. Also in this category are Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
Venezuela considers statements on the country’s future by the US and Brazilian presidents dangerous and is determined to further work to ensure peace in the region, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Venezuelan government expresses its strong rejection of dangerous statements by US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made on March 19… The Venezuelan government will continue to work in compliance with international law in order to ensure the creation of a zone of peace in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the statement said. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro held talks, following which they reiterated their support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. When asked about the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela, Trump said that “all options are open”. Venezuela has been in a state of political crisis since January, when Guaidó, the head of the opposition-run National Assembly, illegally declared himself interim president. He was immediately recognized by the United States, which froze $7 billion in the country’s oil assets and called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down immediately. Only a quarter of UN nations have since endorsed Guaidó, while Russia, China and numerous others have reaffirmed their full support for Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.
Like the former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela also his colleague in Germany behaves in a neo-colonial fashion. Throughout 2018, Richard Grenell hit a nerve with German politicians on numerous occasions, including his threat to sanction local firms taking part in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, a demand to break trade ties with Iran, and an appeal to help Washington put pressure on Moscow. Berlin seems to be losing patience with the US ambassador who didn’t mince his words over German defense spending. Grenell was earlier a long-serving spokesman for the United States at the United Nations during former President George W. Bush's administration and an openly gay television and foreign affairs commentator on Fox News Channel, when he became U.S. president Donald Trump's choice for the post in Germany. A high-ranking German MP demanded now that the envoy be sent home because he acts “like an occupation commissioner.” Wolfgang Kubicki, vice speaker of the German parliament, called for Richard Grenell to be declared persona non grata immediately, local media reported. The emotive remark wasn’t limited to what Berlin should do in relation to the American ambassador. “If a US diplomat acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power, he will have to learn that our tolerance has its limits,” Kubicki said angrily. Grenell had crossed the line again and interfered “in political affairs of the sovereign Federal Republic,” the senior MP argued. Earlier, the official Twitter account of the US embassy in Berlin quoted Grenell as saying: “Reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO allies.”
Ambassador Grenell in @AP on #Germany’s defense #budget plans: “reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 #NATO allies.” https://t.co/MzLpaI6Bme— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) March 18, 2019
Grenell was sworn in as US ambassador to Germany back in May 2018, after being considered for the posts of the ambassador to NATO and the UN. He ignited a scandal within hours of taking office in Berlin when he demanded that German companies doing business in Iran should “wind down operations immediately.” Already back then former German Chancellor Schroeder suggested to have him removed by declaring Richard Grenell persona non grata. The former German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Kriener, who fronted for agitator Juan Guaidó and tried to emulate the arrogant and ignorant US-American behaviour, was declared on 06. March 2019 persona non-grata and called back by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is now tasked to finally kick out U.S. ambassador Richard Grenell from Germany.
The Germans seem also in other aspects to be the total U.S. vassals and can serve as an example to Venezuelans what would become of their sovreignty under U.S. intervention and rule: "The German government must ensure any support provided by a U.S. military base in Germany for U.S. drone strikes in Yemen complies with international law", a German court ruled on Tuesday, whereby the administrative appeals court in Muenster upheld an earlier ruling that had bluntly rejected a request by relatives of Yemenis killed in drone strikes that Germany should ban any participation by the US-American Ramstein Air Base in any drone strikes in Yemen. However, the German government's finding "that there were no indications of violations of German or international law by the U.S. caused by their activities in Germany is based on an insufficient assessment of the facts and is not legally sustainable," the court said in its obviously biased ruling. The German Defense Ministry, which represented Berlin before the court, said it would wait to study the full ruling before deciding about a possible appeal, which makes it clear that the present governance of Germany as well its Americanized military has lost the plot and does no longer adhere to their own Basic Law (Germany has no constitution) and its Supreme Court's rulings, which stipulate that any aggressive military action from German ground is criminal and any military action on foreign soil needs Parliament's approval. Washington has its military base at Ramstein since 1948. 75 years after D-Day you really can’t blame Germans – and indeed other Europeans – asking the question: “Is it time to liberate ourselves from our liberators?”
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, rejected Tuesday the U.S. media accusations regarding the political activities supposedly carried out by Cuban doctors, who have been working in the Venezuelan Barrio Adentro Mission since 2003. According to an article published by the New York Times on March 17, Cuban doctors allegedly pressured their patients to vote in favor of Nicolas Maduro in exchange for medical attention, professional misconduct which allegedly was performed just a few days before the 2018 presidential elections.
“The truth is this: we, the Cuban doctors, do not propagate ideology. Our example does it for us.” The photo caption says: “Our doctors will not get involved in internal politics at all… They do not have as mission to propagate ideology.” The Cuban President rejected the U.S. media accusations about the Cuban doctors’ activities in Venezuela. “Cuban doctors can never be defamed. Their extraordinary human work carried out those lands which the Empire calls ‘the world’s dark corners’ belies the NYT and its reporter Casey,” President Diaz-Canel said on Twitter and pointed out that “feeding Marco Rubio’s hatred war against Cuba and Venezuela is a crime. We are Cuba.”
Concerning these U.S. media accusations, the Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Angel Portal recalled what Fidel Castro, Cuban former president and revolutionary leader, said about the Cuban doctors’ work: “The [Cuban] medical personnel, who departs to save lives anywhere, even at the risk of losing theirs, is the greatest example of solidarity that humankind can offer.
The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, has asked to strengthen the coup leader Juan Guaidó in the Organization of American States (OAS). “We are going to an OAS General Assembly, where the presence of President Guaidó has to be consolidated,” Varela said on Tuesday, expressing his support for the president of the National Assembly (AN) of Venezuela – an opposition majority and in contempt since 2016 – that last January proclaimed himself “president in charge” of the Caribbean country. In statements to the press after a meeting with his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, in Bogotá (Colombian capital), Varela alleged that, with such measures, Panama “seeks a peaceful and democratic solution” to the Venezuelan crisis. For his part, Duque stressed that the situation in Venezuela has allowed a uniting of the governments of Panama and Colombia through the Lima Group and the diplomatic siege that has been laid against the Administration of Nicolás Maduro. Despite international accusations against measures by the Venezuelan opposition against Maduro, legitimately elected by the Venezuelan people last May, Panama also recognized on Monday the “ambassador” appointed by Guaidó. Maduro, who, according to several surveys, continues to count on the support of his people, has accused Guaidó of serving US interests and the regime of Israel in the region, and that he “sooner or later” will have to answer to Justice for its coup attempts. The next meeting of the OAS, that as organization so far had recognized Guaidó as interim president, will be held in the Colombian city of Medellín between June 26 and 28. Caracas for its part denounces the U.S. hijacking of the hemispheric body to put pressure on Venezuela. Despite the efforts of Washington – which even threatens a military intervention against the Bolivarian country – and some of its allies in the Latin American region to discourage Venezuelans, support for President Maduro by the majority has been unwavering, including the Armed Forces, which have expressed their support for the Government of the legitimate president, before an after the imperialist coup attempt.
Venezuela’s oil minister and president of state-run oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, told a meeting of OPEC and other oil ministers in Azerbaijan on Monday that Caracas is going to diversify its crude shipping routes. Reuters reported that Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and China were seen as the destinations after the country halted its crude supplies to India.
“Russia and China are seen as the main destinations because of the suspension of oil exports to India,” the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry said in a statement citing the minister.
India used to be the leading buyer of Venezuelan crude during the first half of February before facing US pressure for continuing to deal with the Latin American country after Washington slapped Caracas with heavy sanctions.
The US restrictions targeted the Venezuelan oil sector, which is crucial for Venezuela to keep the economy afloat as oil revenues account for about 98 percent of its export earnings.
Last week, Mike Pompeo accused Russia’s Rosneft of defying US sanctions against Caracas by continuing to buy oil from PDVSA. The Russian oil giant rebuffed the allegations, saying that the contracts for the purchases of Venezuelan crude were signed long before the sanctions were enforced. The company added that it does not want to engage in politics and merely carries out commercial activities in the interests of all its shareholders.
While some Western countries led by the US pledged support for Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó, Moscow has refused to follow suit.
Russia has several joint projects with the Latin American country, including in the energy, agricultural and defense sectors, among others and has vowed to defend its interests in the country in line with international law using “all available mechanisms.”
Earlier this month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the relocation of PDVSA’s European headquarters from Lisbon to Moscow in an attempt to diminish risks for the company amid US sanctions. The new office is set to open in April when Quevedo visits the Russian capital.
On March 19, the leader of Voluntad Popular, Carlos Vecchio, affirmed during the forced seizure of the Venezuelan Consulate in New York that an eventual detention of Juan Guaidó would have “a positive impact” and “accelerate” a change of government in Venezuela. Vecchio’s harsh statements also coincide with the prophecy that senator Marco Rubio launched on Thursday, March 4, regarding the detention of Guaidó’s chief of staff, deputy Roberto Marrero, which could mean “the beginning of the efforts of the regime “to stop the self-proclaimed”. On other occasions, such as when Guaidó returned to Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Security Council’s director, John Bolton, said that it would have important consequences if the National Assembly’s president were to be held in contempt. So that only flirtation of Marco Rubio with this possibility portends how interesting the idea is for them. Thus, about three days after the statements, deputies of the National Assembly like Sergio Vergara of Voluntad Popular pointed out that the arrest of Marrero represents an “effort to intimidate Juan Guaidó”. In a context of the disappearance of the international agenda, this type of event seeks again to revive the angry call of the opposition for the new “D Day”, renamed as “Operation Freedom.” Guaido would serve them more as prisoner than free. These kinds of statements show how as the irrelevance of Guaidó grows in the public arena, the demands for the “Maduro regime” to imprison him escalate in a contrary manner. In this false public debate, of course, the deliberate crimes committed by Guaidó are not taken into account (yet) when they ignore the Venezuelan constitutional order.
Update MON, 18. March 2019: (vf) The Venezuelan government does not rule out that in the near future the United States might attempt to carry out new attacks on civil infrastructure in the Bolivarian republic, including schools, hospitals and subways, the President of the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello said on Monday. Cabello blamed the recent disruption in the work of the country's Guri hydroelectric power plant on a "terrorist attack" orchestrated by Washington. "What is going on in Venezuela is happening for a reason… [The United States] has already attempted to carry out… a number of selective attacks in a bid to cause damage to our country. The United States does not care about victims, it can openly attempt to launch terrorist attacks in the subway, schools and hospitals," Cabello said at a press conference in Caracas.
Just hours after this statement a massive power outage occurred again in various parts of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas and nearby localities, eyewitnesses reported from East Caracas, namely the districts of Altamira, La Urbina, El Cafetal, El Rosal, Los Palos Grandes, and others. In the municipality of Chacao, where a number of foreign embassies and large hotels are located, power outages were registered on Sunday evening. According to a Sputnik correspondent, as of 10.30 a.m. (14.30 GMT), there was no electricity in this part of the city either inside houses or on the street. Anumber of media outlets cite an explosion, which allegedly occurred at an electrical substation in the industrial area of Cloris east of Caracas, as a possible cause.
Despite being a huge oil country, Venezuela's electricity was at least 90 percent green. Venezuela had 80 percent of all power needs met by the hydroelectric Guri project, plus had geothermal facilities and other hydroelectric stations - an environmental role model, which obviously is now targeted by the USA also for this. And now, 100 percent of ALL substations in the state of Zulia and city of Maricaibo simultaneously exploded and burst into flames. Such timing is not possible as a "coincidence", either these are coordinated ground attacks, drone or cruise missile strikes or - some think - these substations are now being nailed by lasers from space. One way or another however, this is a clear and obvious war. Someone is destroying these substations. "Lack of maintenance" can't cause this kind of scheduled destruction. The Venezuelan grid was just working fine before the first attack on 07th March, why would all of it blow up now? Those who stand against Venezuela’s free electricity and are eager to squash that example for others no to follow, grind heir teeth that Venezuelan engineers are able to put up resistance against these acts of sabotage and therefore continue to launch attacks. Since it obviously hurts the present government, it is obvious that it is part of the gameplan of the Guaidó-led right-wing opposition and their U.S. support. Venezuelans therefore have to ask themselves only one question: Do you want someone who destroys your country to become your president? It's as simple as that.
Venezuelan authorities have recently announced that any individual acting in conjunction with the promoters of the attempted Coup D’Etat and breaking Venezuelan law will be prosecuted following the rule of law.
The Government of Venezuela denounced on Monday the forced and illegal occupation of its diplomatic offices located in the United States (USA) in clear violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Last January 23, President Nicolas Maduro announced the complete rupture of diplomatic and political relations with the US government after their decision to recognize the illegal self-proclamation of deputy Juan Guaidó. Of 55 staff members, 12 decided to remain in the United States and support Guaidó. Disregarding the complete cessation of functions of all diplomatic and consular personal in each country, their infrastructure, assets and documents must be respected according to the Vienna Convention, the main authority, to decide what a “legal government” is, would be the United Nation’s position and not the particular position of one country (in this case, the US). But the premises were thereafter occupied by Guaido's minions. In a statement posted on the Twitter account of Chancellor Jorge Arreaza, the Bolivarian Government asserts that this action has the backing of US authorities and has political interests. “To tolerate or promote any threat or intimidation against Venezuelan diplomatic agents by citizens residing in the United States constitutes a very serious violation of the international obligations of the US Government,” he says. They also reiterated that the diplomatic missions should only be used by official diplomatic agents who have been appointed and represent the democratic government of President Nicolás Maduro. President Maduro is the current President of Venezuela according to the United Nations disregarding whom the US regime recognizes. In this regard, they demand the US authorities to “comply with their legal obligations and take the necessary measures to immediately reverse such de facto forced occupation.” In case the US Government continues in breach of its international obligations, the communique warned that Venezuela “reserves the corresponding legal and reciprocal decisions and actions” in its territory. This is in reference to the possibility that the Venezuelan government in legitimate retaliation might take control of US facilities in Venezuela. For his part, the official designated for the USA by the self-proclaimed opposition deputy Juan Guaidó, Carlos Vecchio, reported that there were three occupied diplomatic headquarters, two in Washington (capital) and a consulate in New York - an illegal takeover of three of the country’s diplomatic properties in the United States. Carlos Vecchio, said the opposition had gained control of two buildings belonging to Venezuela’s defense ministry in Washington and one consular building in New York. He added that his staff would work out of the attache building, which is in the upscale Kalorama neighborhood and has an assessed value of $2.2 million, according to Washington property records. Vecchio announced that the group expected to take control of Venezuela’s embassy in Washington “in the days to come.” U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters the United States was “pleased to support these requests.” Most recently also the ambassador of Venezuela in Irak, Jonathan Velasco , has also declared his support to Guaidó. “This represents a fraction smaller that 0,01% of Venezuelan foreign service but it’s being used by the US to promote the idea of and advance of Guaido’s support that can only be believed outside of Venezuela because inside the South American nation everyone knows who runs the country,” said an international expert consulted by Orinoco Tribune. Irak is today still a known U.S.-puppet. “Precautionary measures have to be taken to secure the premises of other Venezuelan foreign offices in the USA and elsewhere due to the high chance of similar violations trageting diplomatic and consular offices, since most of them are rented,” a diplomatic source told Orinoco Times.
Venezuela’s opposition has now taken control of three diplomatic facilities in the United States and will attempt to obtain further US-based assets in the near future, Carlos Vecchio, opposition leader Juan Guaido’s envoy to the US, told reporters on Monday. As the US attempted coup in Venezuela has failed to produce a meaningful uprising inside the country, Washington has moved to seize Caracas’ overseas assets, including diplomatic buildings. However, their efforts have been frustrated by US activists who oppose their government’s criminal efforts. Vecchio said they expected more such seizures “in the days to come.”The Venezuelan government later confirmed in a statement that the country’s diplomatic representation offices in the United States had been illegally taken over by opposition members. ”The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela informs the international community that its diplomatic premises in the United States have been forcibly seized by people who enjoy official support of the US government and act as its agents in its political interests and in the direct violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” a statement posted on Twitter by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said. US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino subsequently said the department “was pleased to support” the seizures. In Washington as well, activists from the anti-war organizations Codepink and ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) moved to make Guaido’s representatives unwelcome in the seized properties.
Update SUN, 17. March 2019: (vf) Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will carry out a deep government restructuring starting with the executive cabinet to protect the operation of the national government in the face of threats of external interference, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez reported Sunday. In this regard, the head of state asked all cabinet members to place their positions at his disposal. “President @NicolasMaduro has asked the entire executive Cabinet to put their roles up for review in a deep restructuring of the methods and functions of the Bolivarian government, to protect the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez from any threat,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, referring to independence leader Simon Bolivar and former President Hugo Chavez.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov announced a meeting with the United States special envoy to Venezuela Eliot Abrams, in which he will tell him face-to-face that a military intervention in the South American country is unacceptable. The central approach to the meeting, which will take place March 19 in Rome, Italy hopes to convey the messages that “a military intervention by the United States, as well as other forms of pressure on the legitimate government of Caracas, are unacceptable,” said the vice minister as reported by Sputnik. Pressure by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Russian companies with economic ties to Venezuela will also be discussed. The U.S.A. has said previously that the assets of Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a Russia-Venezuela states-owned financial organization would be frozen and U.S. citizens would be prohibited from doing business with the joint venture. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Evrofinance was violating a Trump decree because it is a “foreign financial institution that materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of (PdVSA).” The Russian deputy foreign minister also reiterated that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to cooperate with Caracas in the energy industry, and military expertise, regardless of pressure from the United States. Meanwhile no more U.S. flags are flying in Venezuela.
U.S. special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams‘explained’ the US-backed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela Guaidó wouldn’t violate the 30-day constitutional time limit because thet legislature backing him voted that this part would not apply. Constitutional twisting at it's best.
Guaidó was declared “interim president” by the National Assembly on January 23, under Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which limits that then self-declared appointment to 30 days. But the term did allegedly not expire on February 23, because the National Assembly passed a resolution declaring that the 30-day countdown won’t start until “usurper” President Nicolas Maduro would step down, Abrams told reporters at the State Department on Friday.
Asked by AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee, if that rule can be changed after the fact, Abrams replied, “You don’t get a vote, because you’re not in the National Assembly.” But Lee fired back: “You’re not in the National Assembly either!”.
The US recognizes the National Assembly as “the only legitimate, democratic institution left in Venezuela,” Abrams told reporters. The legislative body was last elected in 2015, and Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that it was superseded by the Constitutional Assembly elected in 2017 – but Washington has refused to recognize the legitimacy of that election. The US and 53 of its allies had at first recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s “legitimate” leader, but even Abrams acknowledged on Friday that Guaio doesn’t actually hold power. Faced with questions about the recognition amounting to only a quarter of the world’s countries, the State Department has repeatedly argued that the number doesn’t matter, because the countries that sided with the US are “democracies” and that is supposed to count for more somehow. Abrams said the same thing on Friday, calling Guaido’s backers “many of the most influential democracies in the world.”
The self-proclaimed leader Guaido has started a trip across Venezuela in an attempt to create “freedom cells” in order to oust President Nicolas Maduro from office. He called on people of Venezuela to get out on the streets, mobilize and organize into what he dubbed "Operation Freedom, and added: " "After we mobilize the entire country, we will go to Miraflores and reclaim what belongs to the people," Guaido told supporters, referring to the presidential palace, as he announced the ‘operation' in the city of Valencia Saturday, AFP reported. Since Saturday, Guaido is touring Venezuela accompanied by opposition lawmakers, tasked with the creation of ‘freedom cells' — organized civilian opposition groups. The opposition announced that it has already set up 50 cells in half of Venezuela's 23 states. "Whatever happens, we must be united, mobilized in the streets," Guaido said. According to Guaido's tweet, Operation Freedom consists of three steps: to create "Freedom and aid" committees "on every street of Venezuela;" to create "labor and sectoral committees" in the public and private sectors and begin preparation of "constitutional forces" within National Armed Forces. "For the international community to do more and the Armed Forces do what they must, we have to move on to a level of organization, pressure and mobilization never seen before," Guaido tweeted. According to his tweets, the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela are "in total disobedience" and are willing to "organize to protect the people of Venezuela." Until now, Guaido sought to mobilize people in the nation's capital of Caracas, which suffered a lengthy blackout that officials say was the result of sabotage. Now that power and basic services in the capital have been restored, Guaido has shifted his focus to the rest of the country which is still struggling with power outages and service disruptions, according to Reuters. "I am certain that our officials will have the necessary moral reserve to decisively cease the usurpation," the tweet reads. Earlier this week, the country's chief prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to probe Guaido for alleged involvement in the ‘sabotage' of the country's electricity system, reported Reuters.
The international media greatly reduced their recognition granted to the alleged authority of Juan Guaidó, and stopped calling him “interim president” of Venezuela; they call him “self-proclaimed president”, “leader of the Venezuelan opposition”, “opposition” or simply “Guaidó”. In an analysis, the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) noted that this change has occurred in recent weeks especially among The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg and CNN, which had been attached to the line “president in charge”. They also just call hin “Deputy Guaido”. This trend was most noticeable after the press conference of the US Department Of State spokesman, Robert Palladino, when he instructed the media to call Guaido: Interim President. AVN reported an interview made by the British BBC channel with Guaidó and published last Thursday, in which the correspondent Will Grant refuted the alleged investiture that the opposition deputy has before the media and right-wing social base since January 23, when he proclaimed himself during a street demonstration. “You have the support of people like Elliot Abrams, Marco Rubio, what does that say about his attempts to become president?” Grant ansked in his conversation with Guaidó. The deputy simplified his response by appealing to the authority of the constitutional text and the people: “It is not an attempt, I am the ‘president in charge’ of Venezuela because that is what our Constitution says, and the main support I have is from the people.” Given this response, the journalist makes a distinction between what the deputy said and the real situation: “But it is not backed by the votes, would you agree that you has not been elected as president yet?” The journalist’s demonstrably truthful exercise is answered by Guaidó evading, saying “yes” or “no” and referring supposed opinion polls that indicate he has a “main backing”of 90 percent of “the people”. But it is verifiable that the constitutional president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, was elected less than a year ago, in May 2018, with 67 percent of the popular vote (6,248,864 voters). The data of the popular election of Nicolás Maduro has always been ignored by the deputy and by the international media repeatedly. In his interviews, Guaidó always insists on being entitled to be called “interim president” and claims that the seat of the supposed "absolute vacancy: of the constitutional president, which is held by president Maduro.
Update SAT, 16. March 2019: (vf) Venezuela launched today on Saturday civic-military exercises to protect the nation's public services in the wake of a recently purported sabotage of the electricity system. "The Comprehensive Action Exercises begin to protect the nation's strategic public services," President Nicolas Maduro tweeted. "We will not allow the enemies of the state to once again rob the heroic Venezuelan people of their tranquility," he added. The exercises aimed "to perfect the people's organization," and "deploy all our forces" to prevent further attacks on the power grid or water distribution network, Maduro said. Among the tasks to be carried out was "maintenance," such as bolstering communications between the different supply stations, the president said.
UNHCR violated its own statutes by harbouring defecting soldiers from Venezueal in Colombia. In the weeks leading up to Feb. 23rd, the date fixed by the Venezuelan right-wing for the forced entry of supposed "humanitarian aid" into Venezuela, lawmaker Juan Guaido and several U.S. government spokesmen urged members of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) to ignore their officers and defect to Colombia. They were then harboured by UNHCR against the rules, which clearly state that defecting but still active military soldiers can not be recognized as refugees. Now the Colombian government got them off the back of UNHCR. According to Gonzalez Hernandez, the evacuation from the shelter was demanded and prepared by the Colombian authorities in Villa del Rosario municipality, in the border city of Cucuta. In return, they were offered 350,000 Colombian pesos, a mattress, and a bedsheet for each one, he said. "Attention to this testimony: Venezuelan military officers who deserted on Feb. 23 and fled to Colombia reported being "adrift and waiting for President Guaido." They claim that UNHCR requires them to leave the camp and move on their own." Also Radio Colombia announced: "You must go. Leave in 3 days. Here are 350 thousand pesos and a mat for each one," this is what they said today to the Venezuelan military deserters in Cucuta. They no longer have any use. The time of your scene is over. The curtain goes down." The group of Venezuelan military deserters that fled to Colombia on February 23, reported on Saturday that Colombian authorities have abandoned them, and had given them a period of 4 days to leave the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camp where they were living near the border between Venezuela and Colombia.The abandoned deserters, who also had trusted the ak promises of U.S. officials, now ask Venezuelan lawmaker Juan Guaido, who had unconstitutionally self-proclaimed himself as "Interim president" of Venezuela, to help them. "We are adrift; we do not have the support of anybody. We want Juan Guaido to come to talk to us face to face," said former Venezuelan Army's second ex-sergeant, Luis Gonzalez Hernandez, who acted as spokesperson for the group. "Most of us do not have relatives in Colombia, we were the breadwinner of our families in Venezuela and now we are here with nothing," lamented the ex-military officer.
Worldwide many demonstrations were held today ranging from Vancouver to Malabo and Washington to Johannesburg in support of Venezuela's sovreignty. From Argentina to South Africa, Malaysia to Peru, New Zealand to Canada and the U.S., supporters of the Bolivarian revolution marched together as part of the World in Solidarity with Venezuela Day this weekend. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) demonstrated in front of the US consulate in Johannesburg with the slogan "Hands off Venezuela," "Hands out of Venezuela." In Vancouver, Canada, the mobilization against war and occupation (MAWO) marched in defense of the peace of the South American country. For their part, participants in the U.S. of the "Forum of the peoples" gathered outside the White House, in Washington, to denounce the interventionist efforts of the Donald Trump Administration against Venezuela and the Bolivarian Government.
People from around the world called for peace and a policy of non-interference in Venezuela. In Africa, Equatorial Guinea joined this call from its capital, Malabo. Miles away in New Zealand, the district directors of Hands out of Venezuela orchestrated a demonstration in Aotea square. In Argentina a demonstration was held at the Obelisco, historical monument of the city of Buenos Aires, while in Mexico, the regional branch Solidarity with Venezuela organization met outside the U.S. embassy. The Answer Coalition and the other activists state that “the aggressive policy against Venezuela repeats the ugly pattern of wars for regime change in the oil-rich countries of Iraq and Libya,” adding “Trump has always said that the ‘mistake’ of the Middle East wars was that the U.S. didn’t ‘take the oil,’ ” reads the joint communique.
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday called upon Brussels to support a political dialogue in crisis-plagued Venezuela, noting that there had been many interventions from outside forces throughout history that had only resulted in democracies being toppled. "History has taught us that there have been many interventions from the outside, like in Libya or Iraq, and they never offered a solution, they only abolished democracy. The only solution for Venezuela is dialogue, which should be supported by the European Union," Morales said, following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.
During the visit of Guaidó to Valencia, Carabobo state, the deputy of the Venezuelan national assembly and self-proclaimed president under the tutelage and imposition of the US, visited the Valencia Cathedral to participate in a mass, before leaving for the demonstration to be held on Cedeño Avenue. The images and videos, however, recorded during the homily - not published by the mainstream media), show the low attendance of followers this activity had in the capital of Carabobo. Among other locations, the self-proclaimed "leader" also visited the La Candelaria Peripheral Market, where a small group of fans waited outside the precinct. In several videos one can clearly see the scarce presence of his followers in the capital of Carabobo, which confirms what many specialists have been saying: that Guaidó is a laboratory product that no longer works and that has been overshadowed in recent weeks as a result of its inability to generate the change promised and because the circus style of the whole operation that brought him to the headlines since last January. The visit of Guaidó to Valencia did not have the expected turnout, the reason why the march was disbanded very quickly.
The day before Guaido's appearance the UN Human Rights Commission delegation visiting Venezuela left Valencia, while the opposition had been trying to impress them desperately with demonstrations, gatherings and media events claiming that “Venezuela is a country where freedom of press does not exist”, according to them.
Thousands of Colombian protestors from Indigenous Peoples and farmers paralyzed for the 6th day on a row the Cauca Valley main roads. The blockade of the Pan-American highway at Cauca in Colombia might be extended to other roads in the country. At least seven people have been wounded and one killed after peaceful protesters were ambushed on the Pan-American highway, Cauca, Colombia Tuesday evening. Members of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) were met with police violence during a demonstration against forced evacuations in Augustina. Indigenous communities continued their week of protests, erecting barricades in the road to stall police forces to no avail. Rapid gunfire echoed throughout the videos uploaded by Indigenous groups, who turned to social media when violence broke, calling for help from the United Nations and the Colombian government to intercede.
“#ATTENTION| At this time the public force are attacking violently La #MingaSocialSuroccidente. In the Agustina, Cauca, there are several mingueros (Minga Indigenous people) wounded by a firearm. We ALERT HUMAN RIGHTS. @IvanDuque @luiskankui @mindefensa @ONUHumanRights @CIDH,” the ONIC tweeted.
Colombian authorities are blaming armed groups for the attack, although the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) had already denounced the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) and the National Army for several violent interventions prior to the shootings. At least three Indigenous people and possibly four Public Force members were wounded during the incident, Cauca state secretary, Ricardo Cifuentes Guzman said. On its personal website, ONIC reported, “In the afternoon of March 19, in the sector the Agustina the public force ESMAD fires with long-range firearms against the humanity of the mingueros, leaving 3 wounded.” “The first Manuel Mosquera, the second Weimar Lame and the third the promoter of the medical mission, all wounded by firearms. It is worrisome how the ESMAD fires at the medical mission that provides the service to guarantee the right to life,” the organization said. “We demand that the Colombian Government and its armed repressive agents comply with the national and international standards that regulate the fundamental right to social and peaceful protest,” they said. Protests in Cauca have going on for more than a week with demands to talk to president Ivan Duque about the 462 murders of social leaders and human rights activists in Colombia since 2016 as well as constant threats violence, death, and displacement. Their calls for help on social media gathered attention, as activists and academics are rising. Ana Erazo, a politologist and professor of urban studies, wrote, “Disturbing situation that the (Indigenous) communities are forced to mobilize today for their rights to live. @IvanDuque and @DilianFrancisca repression should not be the answer. #MingaSocialSuroccidente.” Telesur Correspondent Tatiana Portela tweeted, “More evidence of the war treatment that is giving the Government of @IvanDuque The Social And Popular Minga that is ahead in the department Of Cauca.”
Update FRI, 15. March 2019: (vf) Today, Friday, the Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro announced his intention to produce changes in the executive body to optimize the government's management and protect the country against new threats, after the cyber attack that affected the strategic services of the South American nation on March 7. By swearing in the new government period 2019-2025 on January 10, President Nicolás Maduro assumed the commitment to deepen the efficiency of State benefits with the aim of guaranteeing stability and social peace. "It is a moral, spiritual struggle of an entire country for honesty, for efficiency, for good services," he said during his swearing in the seat of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).
The Russian Foreign Ministry says that the blackout that deepened the Venezuela crisis last weekend was organized from abroad by people with knowledge of the South American country’s electrical system. “Venezuela’s electric power sector was subject to attacks from abroad,” said Maria Zajárova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, citing sources familiar with the technical systems. According to the spokesperson, a “complex remote action” was carried out against the control system of the main power plants, which have equipment manufactured in Canada. The blackout in Venezuela therefore must hav been caused by people knowing the Canadian electrical equipment - “All the operating algorithms and vulnerabilities of the equipment of those systems were well known by the direct organizer of the aggression,” she said.
The spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry also indicated that the US Secret Services are establishing “contacts with smugglers and drug traffickers” in Venezuela. According to Zajárova, US officials want those criminals to provide Washington with “information about illegal cross-border crossings “that would be used by the United States for their objectives in destabilizing the South American country. The spokeswoman for the Ministry added that Russia considers the attempts so far by the US of provoking a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “a fiasco”.
US officials met with the organisers of last year's assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro three times after the incident in order to get information about the attack, CNN reported. "They wanted to get information and then we asked for things in return. They took notes on this, and we asked if they would be able to help. Then they simply left with their notes, and they never appeared again," the anonymous attacker told the broadcaster. The organiser of the attack told CNN that the incident did not involve Colombia, despite Caracas' claims to the contrary, and was instead plotted by a group of Venezuelan citizens, including army defectors. According to the attacker, he met US officials three times after the fact. A spokesperson for the US Department of State refused to comment on the issue, only saying that Washington was supporting a “peaceful transition” in Venezuela. According to the Venezuelan authorities, Maduro experienced an attempted assassination with the use of explosive-laden drones during a speech he was making at a military parade in Caracas on 4 August 2019. The president has accused opposition forces and Colombia of having organised the attack, adding that some of the perpetrators resided in the United States. Both Bogota and Washington have denied any involvement in the incident. After leaving the attack unscathed, Maduro accused former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of being the “brain” of what he called the plot of the “extreme right” of Venezuela and Colombia, with the help of agents in the United States, to end his life .
In this context Alfred de Zayas, a former UN rapporteur to Venezuela and professor of law, who actually had warned earlier about an assassination threat against prsident Maduro, stated in an interview with the Sputnik radio station on 11. March 2019: "Well, certainly the United States is not giving up. I mean the bonanza of oil and gold and bauxite and cotton of Venezuela is much too attractive. So the drive to get Guaido into the driver's seat is not going to stop, and this electric blackout of Thursday is not going to be the last one. It reminds me very much of the electric blackout in Chile which was organised by the United States and, of course, by the Chilean opposition to Allende on 14 August 1973; that was four weeks before the coup d'etat of Augusto Pinochet. So it's quite clear that the United States is going to continue increasing the pressure and that Guaido, of course, is Washington's man in Venezuela, and he will continue gathering his supporters against Maduro. I remind listeners that this kind of subversion of foreign governments is nothing new. Stephen Kinzer wrote already in 2006 a book called "Overthrow". Stephen Kinzer was a very prominent New York Times reporter and in that book he documented the United States' overthrow tactics whether it'd be in Haiti or the Dominican Republic, or Guatemala, and Honduras, and Panama, and Grenada, and so on and so forth. So it's not anything new.
The CNN video was released a few days after the New York Times published an analysis about the responsibility behind the burning of the trucks the right wingers and the USA planned to force into Venezuela, which confirms that the responsible parties where the rioters from the Colombian side under the Guaido movement with the complicity of Colombian authorities.
Temir Porras, Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs under Hugo Chavez, says Guaidó’s assertion on Fox News that he could call in forein forces to overthrow the Maduro govenment, is a clear violation of the Venezuelan constitution.
Porras says the only way to avoid a blood bath is a negotiated political solution.
Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, meanwhile hailed the nation’s armed forces for their loyalty and defeat of the US-led coup attempt.
Interview: “Our resistance has not been passive”
Update THU, 14. March 2019: (vf) The Chinese Foreign Ministry has voiced Beijing’s readiness to help Venezuela restore its energy supply system. This comes after Venezuelan President Maduro said he would request China, Russia, Cuba and Iran, as well as the UN, to probe a recent attack on the country’s power grids that left the country’s vast territories without electricity for several days. At the same time, according to a statement made by Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez on Tuesday, operation of the country’s power grids has almost fully resumed throughout the country, which had experienced a blackout for five days.
Agitator Juan Guaido, after having agitated against the present Venezuelan government now for months and pitching his right-wing follwers continuously against the supporters of the Bolivarian revolution and the Chavistas in general, while still not being willing to denounce his call for foreign military intervention in Venezuela, stated today to the BBC that he fears his live to be in danger. Guaido refused in the interview with the BBC to rule out military intervention.
The US-funded CANVAS organization that trained Juan Guaido and his allies produced a 2010 memo on exploiting electricity outages and urged the opposition “to take advantage of the situation…towards their needs”
Orinoco Tribune reveals: Reuters Correspondent on Self-Proclaimed’s Plan on PDVSA: It Could be the “Ruin or Salvation of PDVSA”. Marianna Párraga, Reuters correspondent specializing in the oil market, alerted yesterday through her Twitter account that Guaidó’s Country Plan could be the “ruin or salvation of PDVSA”.’ Every one knows how unsympathetic with the Chavismo this news outlet is and and statement like this coming from Reuters should raise flags everywhere.
Vzlanos: viene una nueva ley de hidrocarburos que podría cambiar radicalmente el modelo de industria. Podría achicar PDVSA. Podría ser salvación o ruina. Se requiere discusión amplia y seria. Se van a enfrascar en reclamar quien se lleva el honor patrio de haberla nacionalizado?
— Marianna Párraga (@mariannaparraga) March 14, 2019
She referred to Guaidó’s intention to “apply” an oil market opening that would reduce PDVSA’s role in oil production. Allowing, for example, that transnationals may have the majority shareholding in companies with oil exploitation contracts, something that is currently prohibited in the Constitution and that could reduce the income that Venezuela receives for oil exports. This intention to privatize Venezuelan oil also coincides with recent statements by the director of the National Security Council, John Bolton, who in January said it would be good for the United States “to have our companies producing oil in Venezuela.” When this plan was launched a few weeks ago, the opposition minions in Venezuela launched a media campaign in all the right wing media all over Venezuela (BTW, the mayority of the media) and in the interviews they brag about how many meetings they had with Ambassadors for the North that “offered their help” to “rebuild” PDVSA.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Tuesday against Venezuela’s state-run gold mining company Minerven, which is part of the Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) holding. The new sanctions aim to block state mining assets and prohibit U.S citizens from dealing with the company. As part of the ongoing sanctions and attempts to destabilize the Venezuelan government, the U.S. government announced the new measure that aims to block state mining assets and prohibit U.S citizens from dealing with the company. The decision comes after Uganda said it was investigating its biggest gold refinery for importing Venezuelan gold. The state-run ferrous metals mining company, and its president, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata, were included in the list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons (SDN), adding to more than half a dozen rounds of sanctions against the Venezuelan people and assets. "We have a fierce battle against international sanctions that have caused Venezuela to lose at least 20 billion dollars in 2018," said President Nicolas Maduro back in January 2019 as sanctions intensified. While the interventionist choke-hold progresses, gold has become a possible lifeline for the Venezuelan economy. President Maduro declared that Venezuela is currently certifying 32 gold fields, adding that “everything suggests the country will be the second biggest gold reserve on the planet.” However, U.S. officials keep asserting pressure on their British counterparts, as the Bank of England refused in February to return 14 tons of gold owned by the Venezuelan central bank, worth US$550 million. According to RT, Venezuela holds more than US$8 billion in foreign reserves. The amount of Venezuelan gold kept in the Bank of England doubled in recent months, growing from 14 to 31 tons.
Trump: “We can be much tougher if we need to do it"
As the new sanctions rolled out, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was meeting with Donald Trump, part his first U.S. visit. Most of the discussion in the White House revolved around Venezuela, to which Trump said his administration has yet to impose the "toughest" sanctions. "We can be much tougher if we need to do it," said the U.S. president reiterating that all options are on the table regarding possible aggression against the Latin American nation. In an official response issued by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, the government declared it was “grotesque to see two heads of state with such important international responsibilities justify war without any distension, in a flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter.” Arreaza added that the Venezuelan government is concerned about the "U.S. warmongering influence over Brazil and the supremacist thesis of Donald Trump over Jair Bolsonaro." The statement emphasized that Venezuela denounces once again the threats of military intervention before the international community. "No neofascist alliance will succeed in overcoming the independent and sovereign will of the Venezuelan people," it concludes.
Ambassadors of member countries of the ALBA and several other nations expressed their support for Venezuela and repudiated the sabotage in which the Caribbean country is being targeted. “The Secretary General of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), (David Choquehuanca) along with the ambassadors of the countries that are part of this important Alliance and diplomatic heads of Russia, Palestine, China, El Salvador, Iran and Turkey on Monday expressed their unrestricted support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro, to peace in the region and respect for international law”, the Venezuelan embassy in Bolivia said in a statement yesterday. The diplomatic mission also rejected the “new sabotage attack on the Guri hydroelectric dam , with the aim of undermining any attempt by the Venezuelan Government to achieve the stabilization of the economy and curb the insurrectionist situation that the United States and its dolphins try to run in the country. ” Choquehuanca said that the recent attacks against Venezuela are not isolated events, but represent a risk to the democracies and sovereignty of all Latin American countries, Orinoco Times reported. The ambassador of Iran in Bolivia, Reza Tabatabaei, warned, for his part, that a possible military intervention in Venezuela would represent an urgent and sensitive problem for the world.
The right-wing journalist Leocenis García publicly criticized deputy Juan Guaidó, who through his Twitter account recently called his followers to loot shops. “Brother, are you going crazy?” is part of the rebuke that the communicator made to the parliamentarian. “I demand you as a Venezuelan, to rectify this message. Private property is untouchable. Plunder is stealing. And that is not justifiable under any circumstances”, says one of the messages that Garcia posted on his profile on the social network Twitter. In another tweet he states: “Sacking is stealing. I call on the neighborhoods to repudiate and subject to derision every Venezuelan who acts out that practice. Looting is unacceptable under any circumstances.”
The Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza said the country is implementing methods to grapple with narcotics sales and consumptions, denouncing Colombia and the United States as responsible for the damages caused by drugs in the Americas at the United Nations Commission of Narcotics in Vienna, Austria, Thursday. During his speech at the U.N.'s 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Arreaza said that Venezuela implements a comprehensive development model that allows for reducing the risk factors associated with the illegal consumption of illicit substances, and ratified that the country is not a route for drug trafficking. "Venezuela has promoted more than 580,000 activities carried out since 2009 aimed at communities, schools, children, and prisoners," said the chancellor. In his speech, the minister denounced that drugs produced in the neighboring country of Colombia end up "in the blood, the neurons, and the graves of young Americans," and that, despite the fact that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts "as watchman" in the country. "How does this happen? How can the drug that is produced in Colombia and reaches the U.S. be released without being detected by the security systems of the most powerful country on this planet?" Arreaza asked. "How can institutions and states not be involved in this vicious circle?" The Foreign Minister affirmed that more than 90 percent of the drugs seized in the United States comes from Colombia.
The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, “must realize that a bullet in the forehead may be his way out of Venezuela,” said Anthony J. Tata, a retired (1981-2009) brigadier general of the United States and thereby underscores Washington’s ability to enter Venezuela and overthrow Maduro, even “with a bullet in the forehead.” The former U.S. military officer highlighted this in an interview given to US broadcaster Fox News on Thursday. He added: “We have the capacity to do that” in Venezuela. Based on this a political expert commented to Orinoco Times: “This comment is evidence of the profound ignorance in the USA about the political and institutional landscape of Venezuela, where the Constitution defines that even in the case of absolute absence of the Head of State (Nicolas Maduro) the person in line to replace him is the Vice President and also of the existence of the Constituent Assembly preparing a new constitution and constitutionally with the highest hierarchy of all branches of the State and of the Chavista majority will make that option very irrelevant”. In his opinion, the actions of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, regarding Venezuela show that Washington will execute a military intervention, if necessary; as the US President, Donald Trump, has positioned himself in support of the Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó. “(In Venezuela) There is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, there are also the links between Russia, China, Cuba and Iran, enemies of the USA, and one of the largest oil reserves at stake,” said Tata and added that Washington has to “locate and corral” Maduro “where he hides”, and protect Guaidó, head of the National Assembly (AN) of the country; an institution solely controlled by the opposition and declared already in 2016 to operate in contempt of a constitutional curt ruling. This interventionist plan, says Tata, seeks to “help the people of Venezuela.” However, several polls highlight the resounding rejection of Venezuelans of a foreign military action to overthrow President Maduro, whose government emanates from the vote cast in the elections last May. The retired brigadier also believes that Washington requires a sophisticated plan similar to that applied in 1994 by the US invasion in Haiti, “in which a military air strike strategy was used that took only minutes”. The U.S. government had already tried to force alleged humanitarian aid into Venezuelan territory - an attempt that failed, because president Maduro had rejected it, arguing that it camouflages weapons, which would be used by the Venezuelan opposition to overthrow the current Executive.
A Cessna 206 plane with callsign YV 1801 was found today on 14th crashed in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela killing 2 colonels identified as José Silvestre Granja y César Paúl Padrino Bruzual and one sergeant of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela died in the tragic event. The crash has been caught on video. The light aircraft that can be seen in the footage, lurches to the right and then suddenly goes down in the woods, while the crew is desperately trying to save the plane. Sabotage can not be ruled out.
Update WED, 13. March 2019: (vf) Reuters news agency picked up a statement from the special envoy of the United States to solve “the Venezuelan crisis”, Elliott Abrams, in which he admits he can not specify the goal of the US coup strategy.
“There are no indications that the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, is going to open negotiations to get out of the impasse in which the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó has put him, “in a clear affirmation of the current failure to depose Chavismo from state power in Venezuela. That “dead end” does not have the result expected by Washington, which was thinking of a flash operation, and with a Maduro ready to run away from Miraflores in a few days. Instead, according to Reuters, Abrams “said that any negotiated solution should be between Venezuelans, and that the United States could help by lifting or alleviating sanctions and travel restrictions to the United States once Maduro agrees to go” (emphasis by Orinoco Tribune). This suspicious turn in the speech of Washington, after accepting that President Maduro “does not yield”, was accompanied by the Russian variable. Abrams declared that “(the Russians) continue to support him (Maduro) and there are no signs that the US has seen that the Russians are saying that it is time to put an end to this”, adding: “There might come a point when the Russians come to the conclusion that the regime can not be saved.” However, there are no indications that the Kremlin wants to break relations with Miraflores, after Russia is about to sign a large-scale commercial agreement with Venezuela to acquire raw materials for food and medicine production in Venezuela. Even though Abrams admits that the US pressure strategy has not worked against the Venezuelan government, and the notable change in discourse, talking of negotiations and sanctions, the diplomat is known above all for his coup role against the government of Hugo Chávez in 2002, besides being one of those responsible for arming and financing irregular groups involved in massacres and serious human rights violations in Central America during the 1980s.
Two oil tanks exploded on Wednesday at the facilities of the Petro San Felix mixed oil company, located in San Diego de Cabrutica, in the state of Anzoategui, in eastern Venezuela, reported the oil minister of the South American country, Manuel Quevedo. The president of the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) said in his Twitter account that the “right wingers and their puppet”, referring to deputy Juan Guaidó, attacked Petro San Felix storage tanks to “affect company’s oil production”. “Justice will take care of so much hatred shown towards the people,” the official wrote.
Update TUE, 12. March 2019: (vf) Venezuelan authorities continue working to bring back online the electric grid following a massive outage that started on Thursday, March 7. According to on-the-ground testimonies and official sources, power finally began to reach Venezuela’s western states, including Merida and Zulia, on Monday night, around 96 hours after the blackout started. Electricity has now been restored at least in some areas of every state, with authorities urging citizens to avoid using heavy usage devices while efforts to restore the whole grid continue.
President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised address on Tuesday evening, offering more details about the alleged attack against the country’s electrical infrastructure. According to Maduro, both the computerized system in the Guri Dam, on Thursday afternoon, and the central electrical “brain” in Caracas, on Saturday morning, suffered cyber attacks, while recovery was delayed by physical attacks against transmission lines and electrical substations. “The recovery has been a miracle by CORPOELEC (electricity) workers” he said, vowing that a “battle” had been won. Maduro claimed that the attacks were directed from Chicago and Houston and that more evidence would be presented soon.
The US-funded CANVAS organization that trained Juan Guaido and his allies produced a 2010 memo on exploiting electricity outages and urged the opposition “to take advantage of the situation…towards their needs”
Self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guiadó has blamed the electricity crisis on government mismanagement and corruption, dismissing the government’s cyber attack thesis on the grounds that the system is analog, and attributing the national outage to a lack of qualified personnel needed to reactivate the grid. However, these claims have been called into question by people with knowledge of the system. Guiadó called for street protests on Tuesday afternoon which saw small groups momentarily take to streets in Caracas and other cities, or banging pots and pans from windows. The opposition-controlled National Assembly, which has been in contempt of court since 2016, approved a decree on Monday declaring a state of “national alarm,” blaming the government for the current crisis and issuing instructions for public officials and security forces.
The self-proclaimed, Juan Guaidó, meanwhile tried to ridicule the attack on the national hydroelectric system that affected the entire country with a blackout of more than 60 continuous hours (more, in some states), saying that the Guri Dam has an “analog system”. However, even engineer José Aguilar, who has been a detractor of the government and supports the coup led by Guaidó, questioned his national assembly deputy’s words when explaining that the Guri systems is not analogical and that it was like that only in the beginning (the 70’s). “There are pseudo-experts” saying that Guri could not be hacked because their systems are “analog” therefore obsolete: False! It is a system of the latest tecnology and has also digital anti-hacking technology,” Aguilar wrote on his Twitter account. “(It’s) an insult to the engineering of the great Edelca (currently Corpoelec) to say that Guri Control systems are analog,” he continued, while calling for “study” before talking nonsense. Guiadó had unsuccessfully tried to accuse Minister Jorge Rodriguez of having falsified the facts saying that “the sabotage was a hack to the system that controls the Transmission Core Network”, when in fact and in a precise way he said that “they attacked the automated system of the Guri”, that is, the generation. Guiado also tried to change the version of the attack to a forest fire that would have affected the transmission lines, to effect “damage control” and to divert the investigation in progress. It’s worth mentioning that President Chavez in 2009 launched the most radical technological update on the hydroelectric dam and modernized all the systems, and for that the Canadian Corporation ABB was hired. Several experts have charged that might be part of the security flaws in the system.
Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced that an investigation was being opened against Guiadó regarding his alleged responsibility for the recent power outage. Saab explained that this investigation would add to the previous one, opened on January 29, as well as determine responsibilities in instigating violence.
Secretary Pompeo announced sanctions against Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank for allegedly helping Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA evade US sanctions. Pompeo also met with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday to pressure New Delhi to stop buying crude from Venezuela. A de facto oil embargo imposed in late January has seen Caracas scramble to find new partners in Asia, with India the main cash buyer. Oil Minister Quevedo stated that the goal was to double oil sales to India, with the possibility of bartering oil for medicines as a way to avoid US financial sanctions. For his part, National Security Advisor John Bolton has threatened financial institutions with sanctions for engaging in intermediating transactions involving the Venezuelan government. “Bankers […] The United States is watching. The world is watching. The Venezuelan people are watching,” he tweeted on Monday.
Cuba rejects the campaign of lies coordinated by John Bolton, the government said in a statement and described the attack on Venezuela’s electricity system, which occurred last Thursday, as a terrorist act. In a statement, the government of the Cuban Revolution argues that the attack has been “aimed at damaging the defenseless population to use as a hostage in the unconventional war unleashed by the United States against the Venezuelan government.” In this context, it argues that it is an escalation of violence that evokes the oil strike of 2002 and that arises after the interventionist failure of 23F, when they tried to forcibly enter a supposed “humanitarian aid”. The statement also denounces a campaign of lies coordinated by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton against Venezuela. One of those lies, says the statement, is that “Cuba has between 20 and 25 thousand military personnel in Venezuela who threaten the officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.” “Cuba categorically rejects this lie, as it equally firmly rejects any suggestion that there is any degree of political subordination from Venezuela to Cuba or from Cuba to Venezuela,” the Cuban government asserts.
The Trump administration’s Special Envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, told press on Tuesday that “significant sanctions” against Caracas and international financial institutions can be expected in the coming days. Abrams, who was appointed in late January, is known for his leading role in the Reagan administration’s notorious Central America policy, including the Iran-Contra scandal, and for advising George W. Bush in the lead up to the 2003 war in Iraq.
Update MON, 11. March 2019: (vf) 72 hours now on Blackout! Venezuelans have been forced to queue to charge electronic devices using solar panels after the country was hit by a fourth day of blackouts today. As night fell, the power across much of the country – which first went off on Thursday – was still not on. Opposition lawmakers and aid groups used this of course to spread their hate for the Maduro government and warned that an unprecedented nationwide blackout in Venezuela was causing a rising number of deaths, as citizens struggled for a fourth day to find food and water and hospitals were paralyzed.
The Venezuelan Army has introduced an air surveillance system over the country’s power lines to protect its energy system and prevent further incidents, Venezuela’s Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said. “The Venezuelan National Armed Forces launched an air surveillance system for power lines today, and since yesterday they have occupied all strategic facilities… for physical protection at various levels in order to stabilize the system and prevent any other attacks”, Lopez said Sunday as broadcast by the public TV channel VTV. Padrino López: All Electric Infrastructure Under Army Control (vídeo)
A team of five specialists from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is in Venezuela from March 11th to 22nd, 2019 at the invitation of the Venezuelan Government. During their visit, the team will meet with government leaders, representatives of the National Assembly, with civil society organizations and with victims of alleged human rights violations. The visit is the result of the invitation that the Venezuelan Government sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to carry out an official mission to the country. The team will visit Caracas and other areas in various states of Venezuela. In all States where the UN Office for Human Rights is not present, it is standard practice to send a preliminary technical mission prior to the possible visit of the High Commissioner. This exercise is carried out to be certain that the High Commissioner would obtain unrestricted access to all persons and to all the places she would like to visit, in order to obtain a clear vision of the human rights situation in the country.
The Venezuelan president announced today, on Monday, that two arrests were made in connection to alleged acts of sabotage against the communications system in the Guri Dam. Venezuela’s electrical grid has suffered from poor maintenance and sabotage in recent years, with infrastructure strained by under-investment and Washington’s economic sanctions further compounding difficulties.
The extended power outage saw episodes of looting take place, especially in the Zulia capital of Maracaibo. Food warehouses, supermarkets and a shopping mall were targeted according to reports and footage on social media. Isolated episodes of protests and looting were also reported in other cities, including some sectors of Caracas. A video spread on social media appeared to show a violent confrontation in the eastern city of Maturin in which a National Guardsman was shot dead. While electricity has been gradually restored, public transportation and other services have yet to be reactivated, with the government suspending work and school activities until Wednesday.
In Caracas, attention has now turned to water. Shortages started to be felt after the water pumping system in the nearby Tuy valley was shut down amid the electricity blackout. Authorities announced on Tuesday afternoon that the system was due to resume supplying water to the capital metropolitan region. Some communities protested the lack of water on Monday and long queues formed at water distribution points, with local authorities looking to send water tanks to supply communities and guarantee the normal functioning of hospitals.
The Venezuelan government has yet to release any information concerning casualties in hospitals, with NGO Doctors for Health reporting 24 dead as of Monday night following alleged contact with multiple hospitals. Higher figures, including claims of 80 newborns dead in Maracaibo, have been denied by local sources.
US withdraws embassy staff. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported on Monday that the remaining embassy staff in Caracas were being withdrawn. “[…] The presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. President Maduro had ordered a break of diplomatic relations with Washington in response to the Trump administration’s recognition of Guaido’s self-swearing in on January 23, with embassy personnel given 72 hours to leave the country. Pompeo initially refused to withdraw US personnel on the grounds that Maduro did not have the authority to request their departure but ultimately backtracked and ordered the majority of staffers to leave. The US and Venezuelan governments subsequently agreed to downgrade their respective embassies to “interests sections” within 30 days. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry released a communique stating that a 15 day extension had been granted after the original 30 days expired, but that the Venezuelan government had decided to terminate talks for the establishment of interest sections and granted 72 hours for embassy personnel to leave. The communique further stated that the presence of US diplomatic staff was a “threat to peace” given “threats of military action under the pretext of protecting diplomatic staff.” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza went on to criticize US officials for presenting the withdrawal as their decision, while reaffirming the Venezuelan government’s willingness to maintain channels of communication with Washington so long as the relation is based on “mutual respect.”
Update SUN, 10. March 2019: (vf) The "Christian" fundamentalist of the the ultro-supremacist far-right in the USA, Senator Marco "Narco" Rubio continued to spread his fake news against Venezuela. This time he tweeted the wrong information by stating that the electriciy production at a "German Dam" had broken down. In reality he grabbed a piece of news by a well-know journalist with the name German Dam who had earlier reported a fire at sabotaged power-substation. Rubio was immediately informed but din't correct. No wonder that he then was mocked: "Look, OH LOOK: Babies in INCUBATORS are DYING because Maduro neglected the electrical system. Let's all go down there with smart bombs and kick his @ss. Venezuelans will gladly give us ALL THEIR OIL in thanks after we "rescue" them from that horrible horrible man!"
Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez told press that a cyberattack had taken place against the “Ardas” computerized system of the Guri Dam, targeting 3 of the 5 generators and forcing the dam’s turbines to stop. He added that Venezuela would present evidence of the attack to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and to other international bodies. Rodriguez went on to deny the opposition’s claim that 79 people had died in hospitals as a consequence of the outage, but did not offer an official number. NGO Doctors for Health reported 21 deaths as of Sunday evening after allegedly contacting hospitals throughout the country. Beginning in the middle of rush hour Thursday afternoon, the outage immediately affected public transit networks, with the Caracas metro and suburban trains paralyzed. Miranda’s governorship mobilized buses to help take citizens home, while many were forced to walk back from work. Caracas’ metro system has yet to restore service, with authorities waiting for the electrical supply to stabilize.