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Venezuela 2019 Coup - Week 1 - 21 January

21 January 2019

The Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela thwarted an attempted attack 21 January 2019 on their facilities in Caracas. The assailants "moved on two military vehicles, then broke into the headquarters of the urban security outpost located in the town of Petare, Sucre, removing a cache of weapons of war and kidnapping, under threat of death, two officers and two national guard members of the aforementioned outpost." The Venezuelan right-wing Popular Voluntad group is linked to the assault perpetrated against a detachment of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).

The first vice president of the Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Diosdado Cabello, reported that 27 soldiers had been detained for the assault on the detachment in Petare. The group was captured at the headquarters of the special security unit Waraira Repano, in Cotiza, Caracas, in the early hours of Monday morning and the stolen weapons were recovered. After the event, social network users reported disturbances in the adjacencies of the place.

Anti-government protest marches against Maduro started in Venezuela on January 21, 2019, with demonstrators banging against their pots and pans. This sparked unrest that has spread throughout the whole country and claimed the lives of more than a dozen people.

22 January 2019

Opposition lawmaker Juan Guido swore himself in as president 22 January 2019 to boost "transitional council." Guido has his origins based in the popular middle class, he is an engineer graduated from a private university, even his physical appearance is far from the traditional profile opponent. His image contrasts with the one of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, who comes from the working class as a bus driver. Guaido was a protagonist of the violent actions of the opposition in 2007, 2014 and 2017 usually known as Guarimbas.

In an act not contemplated by the Constitution of Venezuela, Guaido self-appointed himself to usurp the powers of the National Executive power. Donald Trump "recognized" Guaido as president, materializing the agenda for the coup and destabilization as the opposition called for rallies in the streets. The same was done by Canada and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who has instigated the attacks against Venezuela and the Bolivarian Government.

For his part, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, joined the interference with a call to Venezuelan military and security forces "to support democracy." In addition, he gave his support to Guaidó "while establishing a transitional government and preparing elections."

Other presidents and governments of Latin America supported Guaido, directly attacking the Bolivarian Government of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro. The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, said on 23 January 2019 that he recognizes as interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó and "wishes" to call soon for "free and transparent elections with extensive international observation and thus inaugurate a new era of democratic prosperity and brotherhood in the country". Ecuador's position became known after Guaidó was recognized by the governments of the United States, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Paraguay, among others.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was "openly calling for a coup d'état in Venezuela " after Pence issued a video message of support to the Venezuelan opposition to encourage those who are protesting against President Nicolas Maduro and underline U.S. backing for opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido, the self-appointed head of the suspended National Assembly.

The Venezuelan VP's statement followed an earlier message from Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez who said Pence was, "promoting instability and violence in Venezuela." Rodriguez said in a press in a short statement following Pence's interventionist message "Because Mr. Pence doesn't have a job, now he wants to come and run Venezuela, handing out instructions on what should happen in Venezuela tomorrow. Openly calling for a coup d'état in Venezuela. I will say it like the Venezuelan people would say it to you, 'Yankee, go home.' We're not going to allow you to intrude on issues of the country of Bolivar and the country of Hugo Chavez."

Guaido made a plea to the country's military via Twitter, writing: "To all of the national armed forces, our call is clear — from this parliament, we extend our hand and ask you to come to the side of the constitution and the people, your people." Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino tweeted that "the country's armed forces disavow any president who is self-proclaimed or is controlled by dark interests."

The magistrate of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Juan José Mendoza, urged the Public Ministry (Prosecutor's office) to investigate members of the National Assembly (AN), regarding the usurpation of powers of the Executive power in Venezuela. The TSJ also ratified the unconstitutionality of the AN acts adding that the assembly continues to be in judicial contempt.

Mendoza noted that the National Assembly "expressly violates Article 236, numerals 4 and 15, as it seems to usurp the competence of the President of the Republic in directing the foreign relations of the State." In reference to celebrating and ratifying treaties, conventions and international agreements, as well as the exclusive attribution of the Executive Power to designate the heads of diplomatic missions. "These agreements involve the execution of an act of force that seeks to repeal the constitutional text and all subsequent acts of the national public power," explained the magistrate of the Supreme Court.

The decision by the suspended National Assembly to appoint Guaido as the head of the body was invalidated by the country's Supreme Court because the body itself has been in contempt of court since 2016. On Jan. 11, 2016, the Supreme Court of Justice declared the National Assembly in contempt of court for swearing in three deputies from the self-appointed Unity Roundtable (MUD) elected by the state of Amazonas in December 2015. The three Indigenous legislators should have been temporarily suspended because of voting irregularities in that region, but instead took possession of their seats on July 28.

23 January 2019

Supporters of President Maduro and parts of the opposition marched Wednesday 23 January 2019, a date that marks the 61st anniversary of the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez' dictatorship. Thousands of supporters of President Nicolas Maduro and some on the opposition marched on the date that commemorates 61 years from the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez. According to official information provided by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Chavista supporters were gathering with the aim of defending the country’s sovereignty in the face of destabilizing attacks launched by right-wing groups at the national and international level.

Eleven members of the 14-nation Lima Group - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru - later issued a joint statement endorsing Guaido as interim president. The three holdouts included Mexico, which has maintained a principle of non-intervention under leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as well as Guyana and Santa Lucia.

The European Union did not join the countries lining up behind Guaido, but EU Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that "I hope that all of Europe will unite in support of democratic forces in Venezuela." Tusk added, "Unlike Maduro, the parliamentary assembly, including Juan Guaido have a democratic mandate from Venezuelan citizens."

The military high command of Venezuela ratified its support for President Nicolas Maduro, whom he recognized as the legitimate president, the defense minister said 23 January 2019. General Vladimir Padrino in a statement from the ministry and in the company of the military leadership said that the United States and other governments are executing a war against Venezuela. "I warn the people that there is a coup underway against our democracy and our president Nicolas Maduro," Padrino said during the press conference. "As soldiers, we work for peace and not for war."

In his message broadcast on official television, Padrino said they would not recognize "a person" who proclaimed himself head of state referring to opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido. "Those of us who lived through the coup of 2002 have it etched into our minds, we never thought we'd see that again, but we saw it yesterday."

24 January 2019

Russia warned the United States against military interference in Venezuela's affairs, it would be a disaster, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on 24 January 2019, noting that Moscow stands for the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. "We warn against this. We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region", Ryabkov said in an interview with the International Affairs magazine. Maduro on 23 January 2019 gave US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. Guaido later issued a statement appealing to those diplomats that Maduro ordered to leave. The statement read, "The Venezuelan state wants you to maintain your diplomatic presence in our country." The United States ordered its non-emergency embassy staff to leave Venezuela but refused to comply with a full expulsion demanded by Nicolas Maduro, who Washington said was no longer president. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Maduro no longer had the authority to issue orders. The US ordered some diplomats out of Venezuela for security reasons; but the embassy was to remain open. On January 24th, 2019, a Venezuelan official threatened to cut off electricity to the U.S. embassy in Caracas.

The US recognition of the leader of the opposition-run parliament as the country’s interim president may result in transfer of Venezuelan assets frozen in the United States to the opposition.

25 January 2019

U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet has called for talks to defuse the situation in Venezuela, saying that it “may rapidly spiral out of control with catastrophic consequences.” Bachelet also called for an independent investigation into reports that Venezuelan security forces had killed 20 people and detained more than 350 in protests this week.

Juan Guaido, who declared himself the country’s interim president, has not ruled out he may grant pardon to incumbent leader Nicolas Maduro. According to Guaido, the initiatives on pardon for former officials and senior military officers, which will allow to restore democracy in the country, are being considered by the opposition-held National Assembly.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that a military scenario in Venezuela, which is experiencing a deep political crisis, may be catastrophic. "Use of military force may be catastrophic," Ryabkov told CNN, adding that Unites States were aggravating the situation in Venezuela.

Venezuela will hold exercises in mid-February, during which its armed forces will demonstrate how they can protect the country during an invasion, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said. "Our armed forces will have exercises on February 10-15: drills on infiltration into our territory, on protection of territories, coasts, rivers, on military and civil mobilization. Our armed forces make our country unapproachable," Maduro told a press conference, adding that the army was able to resist any imperialist enemy that would come to the territory of Venezuela.

The Minister of People's Power for Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, ratified the commitment of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), with the effective defense of the Homeland and the peace of all the Venezuelan people, before the destabilization plans directed by the States. United to violate the sovereignty of the country.

"Situations have been presented that merit the FANB to establish a position, a position that will always be attached to the Constitution to the laws and values that move us, the values of the Homeland," he said from the Simón Bolívar Room of the Ministry for the Defense, located in the Fort Tiuna Military Complex.

Likewise, Padrino López, denounced that the US administration intends to perpetrate a coup d'état that threatens the harmony and sovereignty of the nation. "For a long time, a coup d'état has been brewing against the legitimately constituted government, by sectors of the right, sponsored by imperial agents, a criminal plan that threatens the sovereignty and peace of the nation," he said.

Former U.S. diplomat Elliott Abrams, one of the masterminds behind the 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, was appointed to lead the U.S. interference in Venezuela, as announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country,” Pompeo said in announcing Abrams’ appointment. He said Abrams would accompany him to the United Nations for a Security Council meeting on Venezuela where the U.S. will press other countries to support opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim head of state. Abrams, appearing with Pompeo at a briefing for reporters, described the situation in Venezuela as “deep, difficult and dangerous.” He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanour counts during the Iran-Contra scandal.

26 January 2019

Early elections in Venezuela should take place in six to nine months or earlier, and Venezuelans themselves must resolve the conflict in the country, opposition leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president, said. "Elections should be held as soon as possible… But first, we need to improve the electoral system as soon as possible, so that there is one voter and one vote. We are talking about six or nine months, maybe less, but [it should be held] as soon as possible," Guaido told Antena3 broadcaster, answering a question about the possible timing of early elections.

Spain gave an ultimatum to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying that it would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as country’s president if the incumbent leader fails to announce an election in eight days, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned. "If a fair, free and transparent election in Venezuela is not convened within eight days, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela," Sanchez said in an official statement.

Some EU member states, namely France, Germany and Spain, called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to hold a "free and transparent" snap election. Otherwise, they vow to follow the US example and recognise Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the statements made by France, Germany, and Spain with regards to recognising Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president were identical and made by European leaders simultaneously.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The United States is attempting to conduct a coup d'etat in Venezuela, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council. "The United States is trying to initiate a coup d'etat in Venezuela," Nebenzia said. The Russian ambassador said that the United States' actions in Venezuela are shameless and represent a breach of all norms of international law. "Bringing of the issue like that on the agenda is also a gross abuse of the prerogatives as a member of the Security Council," he added.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at the United Nations Security Council, blamed Venezuela's ongoing crisis on President Nicolas Maduro. "Now we have a new leader, [Juan] Guaido, in Venezuela, who promised to bring elections and constitutional order back to Venezuela and security back to the region. We cannot delay this critical conversation, which has the world's attention. For the sake of Venezuela and the region, we must support the Venezuelan people and do so right now."

With the usurpation of executive power by a National Assembly in contempt of court, the country faced the construction of parallel public authorities, recognized by the USA, Canada and their Latin American vassals. Since these bodies obviously cannot coexist with legitimate powers, there will undoubtedly be an upsurge in violence in the Bolivarian country.

27 January 2019

Media reports claiming that Russian military contractors have arrived in Venezuela to reinforce the security of President Nicolas Maduro are untrue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Fear sees danger everywhere. Of course not," Peskov told the Rossiya 1 broadcaster when asked whether it was true that Russian military were protecting Maduro in Venezuela.

Maduro revised his earlier demand for US diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours, giving time for negotiations in a sign of “true diplomacy.” He warned of repercussions if no deal is reached. Maduro offered Trump a 30-day period to seek the establishment of a “US interests office” in Caracas and a similar Venezuelan institution in the US. “That is true diplomacy,” he said on national TV after reading out the official statement. Maduro rejected an ultimatum to call a national election within eight days, describing European countries as insolent for making it.

Guaido offered amnesty to soldiers who back democracy and reject the current Maduro government. "We are waiting for you, the soldiers of Venezuela. We are waiting for you and the commitment you have to our constitution," Guaido said at a news conference. Opposition followers -- some shouting "Soldier friend, you're the only one missing" -- handed out leaflets describing the amnesty plans at military and police posts.

Some of the soldiers threw away the paper or tore it up. But many Venezuelan military members have said they and their families are tired of the severe shortages of food and other basics plaguing.

Maduro insisted the military is on his side as he watched military exercises using Russian-built rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft machine guns. "Nobody respects the weak, cowards, traitors. In this world, what's respected is the brave, the courageous, power," Maduro said as he watched bullets from the Russian artillery pound a hillside.





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