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Venezuela 2019 Coup - Week 5 - 18 February

A drop in energy prices, corruption, and the US led sanctions have destroyed the oil-rich Venezuelan economy, leaving severe shortages of food and medicine and out-of-control inflation. Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on January 23. He said Maduro's re-election was fraudulent and as head of the opposition-led National Assembly, he had the constitutional right to invalidate the results and declare himself president until a new election is held.

18 February 2019

Russia will deliver 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on 20 February 2019, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said. "We receive humanitarian support every day. On Wednesday, 300 tonnes of Russian humanitarian aid will be legally delivered to the international airport of Caracas," Maduro said on Monday at a meeting with scientists. Venezuela is currently facing a sharp economic and political crisis. After the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself an interim president of Venezuela, the United States recognized him as the country's leader and delivered aid for the country to neighbouring Colombia.

Juan Guaido previously said that US humanitarian aid would be delivered to the country on 23 February. However, President Nicolas Maduro so far has refused to accept aid that the United States has delivered to neighboring Colombia, blasting it as a ploy to topple his government.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday called the plans to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela on 23 February a pre-announced provocation, adding that it would be more helpful if Washington removed its sanctions. "The situation in Venezuela is taking an alarming route. The events that are scheduled to take place on 23 February could be named, using the paraphrased expression of great Latin American Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 'a chronicle of reannounced provocation'," spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Trump, in an address to the Venezuelan American Community at Florida International University, said " years of socialist rule have brought this once-thriving nation to the brink of ruin. ... The tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses. They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets,... In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.... Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on. This will never happen to us.

"All the nations in our hemisphere have the shared interest in preventing the spread of socialist tyranny. Socialism, by its very nature, does not respect borders. It does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It’s always seeking to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will.

"The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere — (applause) — and, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.

"For decades, the socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela have propped each other up in a very corrupt bargain. Venezuela gave Cuba oil. In return, Cuba gave Venezuela a police state run directly from Havana.

"Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty. Socialism promises unity, but it delivers hatred and it delivers division. Socialism promises a better future, but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens.

"Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology rooted in the total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism, eventually, must always give rise to tyranny, which it does. Socialists profess a love of diversity, but they always insist on absolute conformity.

"We know that socialism is not about justice, it’s not about equality, it’s not about lifting up the poor. Socialism is about one thing only: power for the ruling class. (Applause.) And the more power they get, the more they crave. They want to run healthcare, run transportation and finance, run energy, education — run everything.

"They want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who’s up and who’s down, what’s true and what’s false, and even who lives and who dies.

"In short, all of us here today know that there is nothing less democratic than socialism. Everywhere and anywhere it appears, socialism advances under the banner of progress, but in the end, it delivers only corruption, exploitation, and decay.

"And to those who would try to impose socialism on the United States, we again deliver a very simple message: America will never be a socialist country. ...

"And when Venezuela is free, and Cuba is free, and Nicaragua is free, this will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history."

Maduro in response said, "What is it that Trump loves from Venezuela? Oil, coltan, diamonds ... the worst thing is that there are people from Venezuela who serve as puppets. The humanitarian aid is a show, they rob us of US$30 billion dollars and they offer us US$20 million in rotten food.” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called Trump’s speech in Miami “offensive” after he called Venezuela a puppet of Cuba and urged the international community to pronounce itself “above political difference.” "Humanitarian aid is a pretext for a war," Rodriguez wrote, while reiterating Cuba’s support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

19 February 2019

Venezuela's defence minister, Vladimir Padrino López, stated on 19 February 2019 that if the opposition seeks to impose "a puppet government", it will have to pass over "our dead bodies." He emphasised that state armed forces will continue being stationed along Venezuela's border to thwart possible territorial threats. Commenting on the state of the country's senior military officers, the minister stressed that they remain "obedient and subordinate" to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Cuba denied hads security forces in Venezuela and charged the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign of lies paving the way for military intervention in the South American country. The US had charged that Cuba's security forces and military control Venezuela's and that troops were also on the ground there. “Our government categorically and energetically rejects this slander,” Rodriguez said, adding that all of the nearly 20,000 Cubans in Venezuela were civilians, mostly health professionals. “There is a big political and communications campaign underway, which are usually the prelude to larger actions by this [US] government,” the minister further said.

Cuba has consistently denounced that the U.S. government is preparing a military aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with humanitarian pretexts," Bruno Rodriguez said. The Cuban government has called upon the international community to reject these interventionist and "imperialist" measures taken by the U.S. government against the people's "self-determination principle."

"The efforts of the national security team of the White House, officials of the State Department and embassy officials are well known. there is a great political and media operation going on," which according to the Cuban Foreign Minister, are usually are what comes before a war declaration.

The U.S. and its allies are "talking about reconstruction, but Venezuela is not a country at war," is not a country destroyed and in need to be reconstructed. The economic difficulties endured by Venezuela are based on the economic war waged by the U.S. and its allies against the South American Country. Based on "the embargo or freezing of financial assets in third countries, pressures against governments that make supplies to Venezuela, pressures to banks of 3rd countries to obstruct transactions even in currencies that are not the dollar."

Washington had said it might use force to deploy into the Latin American country by Saturday 23 February 2019 if the convoy is not normally allowed. “I reiterate, United States military transport flights are being carried out,” Rodriguez said. “We all watched the creation of the humanitarian pretext. A fixed date has been set for the forced entry of the humanitarian aid, via force, which in itself constitutes a contradiction.”

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that the military was on alert at the country’s frontiers after Guaido vowed to bring the alleged aid in from various points “one way or another.” Padrino said “The armed forces will remain deployed and on alert... to avoid any violations of territorial integrity”.

Brazil said it will send humanitarian aid to its border with Venezuela by the weekend, but it would leave it to Venezuelans to take the goods over the border.

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters slammed an upcoming "Live Aid"-style concert to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Venezuela, calling the event a U.S.-backed effort to tarnish the socialist government in a video circulating Tuesday.

"It has nothing to do with humanitarian aid at all," the 75-year old Waters said. "It has to do with Richard Branson ... having bought the US saying, 'We have decided to take over Venezuela, for whatever our reasons may be.'" Billionaire Richard Branson is backing the Friday show in the Colombian border city of Cucuta with a fundraising target of US$100 million to provide food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering widespread shortages.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has issued a fresh series of menacing tweets against Washington's adversaries in Latin America, including a message targeting the Venezuelan military and a threat against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The first two tweets concentrate on Venezuela, with Bolton warning that "any actions by the Venezuelan military to condone or instigate violence" against civilians bringing humanitarian aid into Venezuela would "not be forgotten," and stressing that "leaders still have time to make the right choice."

20 February 2019

Delcy Rodríguez called for unity among the Venezuelan people against the interference threats that have been leveled against the country for this Feb. 23 Vice President of Venezuela Delcy Rodríguez announced Wednesday the suspension of flights and closure of Venezuelan borders with the island of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire in response to the interventionist threats that the South American country is experiencing.

Rodriguez urged that "the best humanitarian aid they can give the people of Venezuela is to return the resources, which they are stealing," rebuking the United States and the economic blockades that affect the country. She added said the government extends an invitation to the right-wing opposition for restoring dialogue and resuming diplomatic mechanisms, an invitation that has repeatedly made the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Diosdado Cabello, president of the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) headed a new episode of the massive March for Peace that filled the streets of Ciudad Bolivar, in the Bolivar state that borders with Brasil and Guyana. "Venezuela is a country of warriors that will stand against anybody," stated Cabello, form the Angostura Bridge on the border with Brazil. The Chavista leader called upon the Bolivarian people to defend the homeland against the foreign attacks that Venezuela is living.

Cabello, who is also the first Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), denounced that "what is behind the alleged 'humanitarian aid' is a big business," that is being led by the Venezuelan right-wing for their own profit.

Guiado's designated ambassador to Costa Rica took control of Venezuela's embassy in the Central American country. On February 15, the Costa Rican government gave Venezuelan Maduro's representatives 60 days to leave the country. "We have come to the embassy to move forward with the transition process," Guiado's representative in Costa Rica Maria Faria's office said in a statement. The office said Faria was working with a team of auditors and legal advisers to ensure an orderly transition. It was not immediately clear how her team obtained access to the embassy.

21 February 2019

The United States has relaunched its colonialist aspirations against Latin America, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warned during an interview with the Iranian media HispanTV, adding that the Venezuelan military was ready to defend the independence and sovereignty of the Latin American nation. "America for Americans, that is, all our America for them, all our riches and all our power for them," Maduro said and added that Venezuela is currently at center of an imperialist attack "because they believe that, by reversing and destroying the Bolivarian Revolution, they will be able to recolonize and dominate the entire continent."

Maduro stated that the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) is ready to defend the homeland and is committed to the Constitution. "The FANB" is very aware and feels a great deal of indignation (...) with the statements made by Donald Trump, pretending to be (its) commander-in-chief (...), giving orders to the Venezuelan military from Miami." Maduro stressed that the FANB is ready to defend the country’s territorial integrity and to respond to any attempt to attack the peace, independence and sovereignty of Venezuela. "We are not afraid. We prepare ourselves with serenity and we believe that with our preparation we will guarantee peace in our country. The most important thing is to continue in peace and resolve Venezuela's problems in peace, in democracy, through dialogue", he said.

At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, also warned that the U.S. is preparing an "outrageous" provocation in Venezuela under the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid. "Apparently, in a provocative frenzy, our U.S. colleagues, who are now preparing an outrageous and obvious provocation on the Colombia-Venezuela border, were too enthusiastic and decided to participate in hints and propagations of fake news in the Security Council," the Russian diplomat said.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has called for peace in Latin America and warned the United States against a war on Venezuela. during an official act commemorating the 85th anniversary of the death of Augusto C. Sandino, the nation’s national Hero. "We salute Venezuela that clearly fights for peace, in a commitment that has its foundations in the spirit and conviction of our Latin American and Caribbean peoples, and so we ratify it on the 85th anniversary of [Sandino] our ‘general of free men’," said Ortega during the ceremony.

22 February 2019

At least one civilian has died in Venezuela and several more were injured in a confrontation with security forces near the national border with Brazil. Reports say the incident took place near Kumarakapay and involved members of the indigenous community. A local official identified the victim as Zoraida Rodriguez.

The Russian government warned that the United States and its allies from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of planning to deliver arms to the Venezuelan opposition. "We have evidence that U.S. companies and their NATO allies are working on the issue of acquiring a large batch of weapons and ammunition in an Eastern European country for their subsequent transfer to Venezuelan opposition forces," the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said. "The batch will reportedly include heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, portable missile launchers and ammunition for light weapons and artillery systems. So this is what they mean when they talk about delivering humanitarian aid.

"The development of events in Venezuela has come to a critical point... On Feb. 23, a dangerous large-scale provocation is set to take place, instigated by the Washington-led crossing of the Venezuelan border with a so-called humanitarian convoy, which may lead to clashes between supporters and opponents, forming a convenient pretext for military action to remove the current legitimate president from government", Zakharova said.

Rival concerts became the backdrop of the showdown between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Friday as the opposition prepared to bring aid across the Venezuela-Colombia border - a move Maduro has vowed to block.

Billionaire Richard Branson hosted a "Venezuelan Aid Live" concert on the Tienditas International bridge, which connects Venezuela and Colombia, while Maudro's government kicked off a three-day festival on the other side of the border.

Just 300 metres away, 150 artists began performing at Maduro's "Hands off Venezuela" festival. "We'll be here to denounce all the barbarity, the conspiracy, the blockades with which the United States government have been attacking the democratic stability in Venezuela", said Dario Vivas, from the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela from that concert's construction site.

23 February 2019

Juan Guaido said that US humanitarian aid would be delivered to the country on 23 February. The opposition plans to bring aid into Venezuela from collection points in neighboring countries including Cucuta via sea and land, despite the fact that the government of President Maduro not giving authorization for such action.

Armored vehicles of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) rammed into the Venezuelan security barrier installed in the Simon Bolivar international bridge and then three [or four] service members fled to Colombia where they were received by two leaders of the Venezuelan opposition. Venezuelan immigration Police were securing the border point and that members of the Venezuelan army were deployed at the scene.

The concert, “Trump Hands Off Venezuela”, started on Friday and will continue until Sunday, February 24, on the border between Tachira and Colombia. Over 150 Venezuelan and international artists will be participating in this 3-days concert, according to Roberto Messutti, president of the “House of the Artist” Foundation.

In Santa Elena de Guairen on Venezuela’s frontier with Brazil, four people wsere killed by gunfire after "irregular pro-government militias" known as colectivos opened fire. The violence also left 24 injured. Gunfire echoed near the Simón Bolívar bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela, where Venezuelan authorities also shot volleys of tear gas. Dozens of people sffered from tear gas inhalation and the stampede that retreated when canisters were fired.

Maduro said in a speech: “Patience is exhausted, I can't bear it anymore, we can't keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela. For that reason, I have decided to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia's fascist government.”

On the Venezuela-Colombia border, more than 20 members of the security forces are reported to have defected. Guaidó visited the Tienditas bridge on the Colombian side of the border, where he was accompanied by the country's president, Iván Duque.

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Page last modified: 27-02-2019 19:07:18 ZULU