Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 24, 2019

Venezuela - The U.S. Game Plan For 'Regime Change' And How To Respond To It

Yesterday the U.S. recognized a right-wing 'leader of the opposition' in Venezuela Juan Guaido as the president of the country. A number of right-wing led countries in South America joined in that move. Cuba, Bolivia and Mexico rejected it. Russia, China, Iran and Turkey continue to support the the government of the elected President Nicolas Maduro and spoke out against the coup attempt. The European Union has no united opinion with the neo-liberal led France being pro-coup and Spain standing against it.

Venezuela must prepare for a multi year conflict while doing everything to keep it as short as possible.

This long planned U.S. move against the legitimate government of Venezuela is just the start. It is designed to lead to escalation and very soon mission creep - 'We can't stop here!' - will set in. More than 300 billion barrels of oil, the biggest oil reserves in the world, are at stake. U.S. stooge Guaido promises to change Venezuela's oil law to the advantage of the U.S., while the Bolivarian government uses the oil to support the poor.

The game plan for the current U.S. regime-change operation against the government of Venezuela was written by Senator Marco Rubio with the support of Vice President Pence:

The American recognition of Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president is far more than a symbolic measure, and presents new complications for Mr. Maduro.

The idea was avidly promoted by Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who pushed the Trump administration to take such a step. In a speech to the Senate on Jan. 15, Mr. Rubio said that designating Mr. Guaidó as president would allow millions of dollars of Venezuelan government assets frozen in the United States to be at the disposal of opposition lawmakers, who could use them to fund new elections or humanitarian assistance.

The real amount the U.S. and Britain have 'frozen', or practically stolen, from Venezuela amount to several billion dollars, not just a few millions. Such 'freezing' of money owned by governments the U.S. does not like has become all too common. Together with a raft of other sanctions the economic war the U.S. has long waged against the country made the recovery of the Venezuelan economy nearly impossible.

As the U.S. is now likely to confiscate all money that is supposed to flow to Venezuela the country must stop its oil-exports to the United States. A number of U.S. refineries, some owned by Venezuela, depend on the special grade of Venezuelan oil and would soon run into trouble. That could help to change the mood in Washington. China may be interested in buying more Venezuelan oil.

The opposition in Venezuela will probably use access to that 'frozen' money to buy weapons and to create an army of mercenaries to fight a 'civil' war against the government and its followers. Like in Syria U.S. special forces or some CIA 'contractors' will be eager to help. The supply line for such a war would most likely run through Colombia. If, like 2011 in Syria, a war on the ground is planned it will likely begin in the cities near that border.


But before a military conflict is launched the U.S. and the opposition in Venezuela will try other paths.

After the U.S. announcement Venezuela's president Maduro ordered all U.S. diplomats in Caracas to leave the country within 72 hours. As the U.S. no longer recognizes Maduro it rejected that. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo announced to "conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido." The rejection was most likely planned and is supposed to provoke a too harsh reaction like a storming of the embassy.

Under a normal process the Venezuelan government would now arrest the U.S. diplomats as soon as they leave the legally protected embassy compound. They would be put on a plane and evicted from the country. But it seems likely that U.S. planned for this conflict and that the diplomats are prepared to stay in the embassy for a long time.

The best for Venezuela to do now is to simply isolate the embassy. It must be well guarded to prevent false flag attacks against it. No visitors should be allowed. All the embassy's communication lines should be cut (it would still have satellite communication) and electricity and water should be rationed. Humanitarian aid should be conceded only after specific requests. It is important to play this 'by the book' so that the U.S. can not use the issue to escalate.

The 'opposition leader' Juan Guaido committed treason. He, his staff and the people behind him must be found and imprisoned. They should be held in reasonable conditions but under strict military guard.

Before starting a larger war the opposition will try to create unbearable chaos on the streets. Like during the failed violent demonstrations in 2016 the opposition rioters will be armed. Police will be attacked and people on both sides will die. The probably best way to keep this at a tolerable level is to snatch away those who are armed and violent. The police will need good ground level intelligence to achieve that.

The U.S. seems prepared to see the coup through unless it has negative consequences for its own position. Domestically the illegal regime change attempt has support even from supposedly 'socialist' Democrats. The U.S. propaganda apparatus, the mainstream media and various propaganda 'bot' campaigns are fully engaged. The supposedly private social media companies in the U.S. - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - have already de-recognized the official Maduro accounts. They no longer have a 'verified' tick mark. Voice of America shows (vid) Guaido declaring himself president among a crowd of a few hundred supporters. It then (1:05min) cuts to a much larger crowd at a different location falsely suggesting that he has a large following.There are trucks with anti-Maduro advertisements driving in U.S. cities and various propaganda accounts post false pictures or make otherwise false claims.  This sudden change of location is cute in its fatuity:

link - bigger

link - bigger

The Venezuelan government should consult with Syria and Russia on how to win such a conflict. The most important step Maduro has to take is to shore up his ground support. While the Bolivarian movement under Chavez and now Maduro still has a large backing, it lost some support from the poor due to the economic malaise after the fall of the oil prices. The situation is to some extent caused by U.S. sanctions but a significant part is also caused by misguided economic policies and corruption. The billions of credits and investment brought in by Russia and China have not been put to good use.

A well concerted anti-corruption campaign will help to increase the public support and will give China and Russia more confidence to stick to the legitimate government.

Another step must be an early dialog with reasonable parts of the opposition. While lots of people may not like the Maduro government many of them will disagree with the obviously U.S.-led intervention. These people can be won over. The Catholic church could be asked to mediate talks with them.

The Venezuelan military has promised to support its elected president. He should use it to react early against any attempt of violent escalation. The lesson to learn from the conflict in Syria it is that a prolonged conflict will cause more casualties and damage than an early, sharp and thereby decisive reaction to an incubating war.

I am confident that Venezuela and its people can resist this onslaught. But the government needs to respond rationally and decisively. It must consult closely with its major allies and plan for a prolonged conflict.

Posted by b on January 24, 2019 at 17:59 UTC | Permalink

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I can understand the view of those who say this is nothing but theater and will be replaced by a different distraction soon enough. I'm usually one of the commenters pushing most strongly for that kind of understanding in most of the panics that we see erupt in US/world affairs.

However, what is troubling about the Venezuela play is the stratospheric level of hubris involved, and the century of experience that the US has in hurting the southern continent, as if by imperial right. The US is home to a vast array of institutional memory and culture tied to the practical means for covert action in this part of the world, where it knows it has supreme logistical advantage. And since the US is a coward in its military mentality, it cannot but exult to find a victim this close to home, and this far away from peer or near-peer militaries.

The fact that Trump is blind to all the potential dangers here, and may just be performing his usual brinkmanship pre-settlement tactic, doesn't rule out that many quasi-autonomous and plausibly deniable forces within the US may start all kinds of trouble in Venezuela. The green light may not be able to turn off that easily. As others suggest, this could get out of hand pretty easily, for either side.

And it will be the poor and non-privileged, as always, who take it in the neck.

I think the alertness and vigilance of concerned commenters here is commendable. The least we can do is bear witness to this thing. The stakes are high for the innocents.

ps..karlof1 please don't bury your head. Keep it all coming.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 25 2019 3:02 utc | 101

Of course, Marco Rubio is incapable of writing anything except, perhaps, a limerick with the word "Nantucket". He is a front man (with the other mental midget, Six Pence) in the play - because he is the resident half-brown half-assed-latino "senator".

Rubio was squee-geed into the US Senate from the Florida Congress via a crooked three-way between a corrupt black Democrat named Meek (likely paid off to stay in the race - in order to rig the win for Rubio), Rubio, and the popular closeted-gay Ex governor Charlie Crist.

Crist went on to work for billionaire, ambulance chasing atty group.

Meek faded into obscurity while Rubio is posited as the up and comer Republican-flavored JFK.

Gag me with a spoon.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 25 2019 3:07 utc | 102

@ Grieved who wrote:
And it will be the poor and non-privileged, as always, who take it in the neck.

I hope that this time you will be wrong about that statement. At least the assumption that they will be the big losers.

I believe we are at a watershed moment in human history and perhaps there is a tipping point of "us" that can will our species to evolve beyond the petty world dynamics of the past.

If we can see the "...stratospheric level of hubris involved.." then others can and are as well.

As I wrote upthread, this event is another sign of failing empire which we need to celebrate as we condemn its human perfidy.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 25 2019 3:21 utc | 103

I suppose we ought to look at the 1989 invasion of Panama as a kind of "template" for all of this. When Noriega holed up at the Vatican's Embassy there, the US did some things which could conceivably be a precedent for actions by the Venezuelan government.

The U.S. Army turned to psychological warfare, blaring rock music at "deafening levels," gunning the engines of armored vehicles against the Nunciature's fence, and setting fire to a neighboring field and bulldozing it to create a "helicopter landing zone."

Blast them out with sound. Smoke/burn them out with some strategic fires which never seem to run out of fuel. Bulldoze a low earth dam below the huge building so the water from future rain storms couldn't get away. Probably by then the drain systems would have mysteriously stopped working. More bulldozing could be done on the hillside behind - build a huge funnel system to your new dam.

On the other side, Maduro is looking at outcomes ranging from a necktie party (Saddam) to the rest of his life in a US prison. Noriega was there 17 years, and then he was shipped to France for more.

Probably the Orange POTUS would declare none of the copycat stuff (on the Venezuelan side) would be allowed. After all, the US is "exceptional", and hardly anyone else besides God's favorite thieves and murderers can make that claim. Ordinary rules don't apply to Exceptionals or Favorites...

I've always heard Trump had a burr under his saddle for Iran, but Venezuela? Did somebody threaten him with photographs of illicit activity with underaged farm animals?

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 25 2019 3:26 utc | 104

Any word from the Saudis/other OPEC? I would have though they would see the appropriation of Venezuela's oil as having a massive potential impact on future oil sales to US.

Posted by: Dadda | Jan 25 2019 3:27 utc | 105

General Smedley Butler, USMC, two Congressional Medals of Honor, 1933 --
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 3:39 utc | 106

@ Jackrabbit | Jan 24, 2019 9:49:49 PM | 111

president/war/troop levels/ civilian deaths

Trump? No comparison.
All you've got is:
Maybe ...... foot dragging ...... theater ...... still poodles ...... TPP provisions sneaked into new North American Trade Agreement ...... massive economic war and military build up ...... nothing to see here? ... Like Yemen?
- announced withdrawal form INF treaty (soon);
- ending humanitarian aid to Palestinians (to promote peace, LOL)
- No swamp draining (corruption and adventurism continues);
- hostage taking (Ms. Meng Wanzhou).

Weak tea. You obviously don't understand the immensity of intense warfare, affecting tens of thousands of people, and the benefit of a lack of it. Hostage taking? How about 190,000 deaths. Get real.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 3:59 utc | 107

Don Bacon

Obama also had Libya and Syria

Trump has Yemen.

Bush didn't invade Iraq until 2 years into his Administration and Obama didn't intervene in Libya until 2 years into his. By those standards, Trump is just getting started.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 25 2019 4:19 utc | 108

Don bacon @21

When Obama left there were 7000 troops in Afganistan. Trump doubled that and now plans to bring it back to where it was. Give Trump a chance, he will deliver the goods or be impeached.

Every President since Bush Sr has delivered a War or more. Clinton needed an impeachment before he gave them the war in Yugoslavia. They never did get him to bite the terrorism bait with the WTC , OKC bombings, Khobar Towers, embassy bombings in Tanzania/Kenya and TWA 800 shootdown but he had enough on his plate looting Russia and giving China a free pass. Bush jr delivered in the terrorism and war front when they decided to go bigger and live. Americans need visuals. Obama continued after scaling down in Afghanistan and Syria like Trump says he plans to do. Plenty of other targets like Venezuela and Iran, etc.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 25 2019 4:32 utc | 109


US is already Venezuelas biggest consumer of their heavy crude. If production increases that may hurt Mexico and Canada who produce most of the rest of imported heavy crude needed for US refineries. Many countries cant refine heavy crude and need the lighter crude many of the other OPEC nations produce.

In any event OPEC is pretty much in the Empires pocket since many of the nations rely on Empires Big Oil Companies for equipment and transport to find/Get/refine/Ship, not to mention weapons and access to the USD dominated financial system. So many weapons inthe Empires arsenal to keep countries in line. Financial, Food, Water, Trade, Military, Regime Change, etc. Very few countries are invulnerable to assault by one or more or even all of these weapons at their disposal

Posted by: Pft | Jan 25 2019 4:45 utc | 110

Excellent advice b. I do hope it is followed. These American wars drive us all a bit crazy when bloody saving the climate is what we should be putting our hearts into.

Posted by: John-Albert Eadie | Jan 25 2019 4:49 utc | 111

@Zachary Smith #102: To prove you're "not a robot", you just have to click inside a checkmark box. Or, better yet, use or search engines. BTW, I got around to look at the Hebrew version of Maimonides' Book of Knowledge with the help of Google Translate, and there's nothing there of the sort claimed by Israel Shahak. So you were entirely correct in your scepticism and Shahak appears to have lied in this particular instance.

Posted by: S | Jan 25 2019 5:22 utc | 112

@120 sam.. keep on supporting your favourite bully in the school yard.. i'm not into it..

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2019 5:51 utc | 113

Here's another roundup of Democrat support for Trump and the empire.

According to this literally not a single prominent Democrat opposes the imperial premise. Sanders and Khanna do the usual Sanderscam thing, in this case a lame opposition to regime change even as they make clear they agree 100% with the neocon premise and therefore aid and abet the coup propaganda:

"The Maduro government has waged a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society, violated the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly and was re-elected last year in an election many observers said was fraudulent. The economy is a disaster and millions are migrating. The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination for the Venezuelan people. We must condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent." (Sanders)

"Maduro’s policies are bad and not helping his people" (Khanna).

Meanwhile the likes of Warren (almost certainly a coup supporter) and AOC (probably confused about what to think) have nothing to say at all.

What more could conjoined twin Rep-Dem neocons Trump-Rubio-Durbin-Hoyer want from such a loyal "insurgent opposition."

Once again we see how there's zero substantive difference between the two factions of the Imperial One-Party.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 25 2019 6:24 utc | 114

Most important is to completely evict the Trumpian “diplomats”. One can learn from comparing the failure of Egyptian Morsi with Turkey’s Erdogan response in organizing live demonstration 24x7 around NATO bases. The latter’s response was similar to the lessons that Iranian learn by the comparison between the failed 1953 Mossadeq Parliamentary Revolution in Iran and the successful Islamic Iranian Revolution of 1979. The US embassy was unmasked as a foreign dens of spies but the diplomatic incident did cause some harm to the Iranian nation. The Turkish way of cutting the coup plotters of from their masters and at the very least hermetically isolating the Yanks, was essential in their successful defense of the Turkish independence. There is a reason why the Japanese used to have the European ambassadors located in quasi islands.

Posted by: Amir | Jan 25 2019 6:29 utc | 115

Somebody mentioned alleged US "rights" under the Monroe doctrine. Of course the US does not and never has had any such right, unless you mean Might Makes Right.

Meanwhile any rising power or coalition of powers which wants to challenge the US empire needs to look for every opportunity to subvert the Monroe doctrine and take the struggle to the US backyard.

I personally would prefer a pan-Latin socialist-ecologist front against all forms of imperialism (including any perceived need to destroy their own basis for life by continuing to extract oil and otherwise ravage their land).

Posted by: Russ | Jan 25 2019 6:29 utc | 116

karlof1 | Jan 24, 2019 6:50:23 PM | 66

I have to agree with your notion of the Monroe Doctrine in that it has no standing in international law. However, it remains an important doctrine in US imperial policy. Any nation that violates that doctrine faces the threat of nuclear retaliation from the US. As I pointed out earlier the US made that case during the Cuban missile crisis and it is something that both Russia and China will consider if not explicitly honor in dealing with the US when it comes to relations with Central and South America. I am not saying that the Monroe Doctrine has any international legitimacy or standing in law but it is a real fact that the US is willing to go nuclear over its interpretation of what that doctrine means.

It might not be fair but it is a life and death fact that the rest of world must consider.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 25 2019 6:57 utc | 117

ToivoS@ 132

Russia already stood down this threat in Syria and the US blinked.

Russia and China both realize that they have to be willing to stand down this threat or else just give up to US imperialism.

Syria was a big turning point and I don't see it stopping there.

Eurasia has taken both the moral and military high ground.

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 25 2019 7:20 utc | 118

"The Trump administration’s January 23 recognition of Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela...threatens an avalanche of nations recognizing leaders of various political factions in countries around the world as legitimate governments."

That would be a great thing, if the challengers to US power became as counter-aggressive about it as the US is aggressive. And although no foreign power (except for the Zionists) has significantly meddled in US politics yet, they ought to start.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 25 2019 7:25 utc | 119

I wonder how long it will be until Maduro is gassing his own people..

We have watched this same game play out in tens of countries.. Sanctions, riots, protests, golden opposition. It's a shame really, the new kid will be thinking that his US helpers can help him achieve great things for his people.. but he's going to be a bringer of death.. I wonder if he has factored that in.

Will we see Maduro sodomized with a knife?

What the world needs to do I'd fund patriotic extremists in the USA, let them drain the swamp.

Posted by: JDL | Jan 25 2019 7:48 utc | 120


Just deleted a bunch of off-topic comments, useless one-liners, and a number of sockpuppet comments in this thread.

I am sorry for the inconvenience.


Posted by: b | Jan 25 2019 7:58 utc | 121 we go again: yet another major regime change war instigated by the United States. Isn't it amazing? Since 2001, we've been in nonstop war all over the world: Iraq...Afghanistan...Syria...Ukraine...Libya...Yemen...and now Venezuela! There is not even the remotest pretense of the USA standing for anything good in the world any longer, as it did in post WWII. Now the USA is a vicious killing machine running rampant all over the globe destroying entire countries and leaving them reduced to depleted uranium irradiated rubble heaps with countless thousands left dead. Fucking outrageous. When will the rest of the world get their shit together and bring the USA under heel? It's long overdue. It is a criminal regime, running amok stealing the world's oil at gunpoint, and doing regime change wherever and whenever it sees fit. We're now looking at a South American replay of what the Middle East has endured since the turn of the century. Holy fuck :-(((((

Posted by: Deschutes | Jan 25 2019 8:09 utc | 122

I try to catch the observations of the BizWorld pundits every day. Apart from local Oz pundit Alan Kohler, I also tune in to the fiscal roundups on F24, DW, and CGTN.
There is a notable absence of ANY commentary on the effect of US Sanctions on the Global Economy even though there's growing feeling among all of them that the Global Economy has entered a period of steady decline.
Are US Sanctions the elephant in the room, or are they irrelevant?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25 2019 8:13 utc | 123

Make America Great Again but how do you do that unless you tidy up your back garden?

Nothing unusual with Trump move. It is estimated that so far the US has masterminded over 1000 interventions in South America.

Chavez transfered income from the Elite or compradores to the poor and instantly he became a dictator. Gaddafi transfered wealth to the poor and he was tagged as a dictator, Erdogan is a dictator for the same reason because he shouldn't have created his own burgeois challenging the international bloodsuckers.

It appears that Chavez made only 1 mistake while giving money to the poor and that is not creating a reserv fund in case oil prices went down. Maduro's only mistake was to carry on with Chavez policies but by printing money instead of slowing down income transfer from the middle class (with houses in Miami) to the Barios.

What choice does Trump the MAGAboy have? China the crypto globalist gets oil from Iran, Venezuela etc. and the capitalist, racist, nationalist Trump the dollarman has to stop them because Britain was a world leader until mid 20th century and the US took the seat until now and the globalists seem to be interested in giving the seat to the China.

The Itallian govt said a couple of weeks ago that France was rich because it exploited Africa, the French are thieves, they wouldn't have been well off had they not had access to African resources (they get all uranium from Africa and pay zero euro for it to the Nigerians for example) and then suddenly a bomb goes off in French colony Mali too.

It looks like once Venezuela crisis over in the end successfully benefitting colonial powers, they will toss heads in Africa. China is in Africa. The MAGA project has proven to be tough.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 25 2019 8:15 utc | 124

#105 Dadda. "Any word from the Saudis/other OPEC? I would have though they would see the appropriation of Venezuela's oil as having a massive potential impact on future oil sales to US."

You could add Canada to the list as well. Canada would only gain from chaos resulting in higher oil prices. Canada would suffer as there would be no need for Canada's tar sands. I would go long on chaos given the results of regime change in Iraq, Libya and sanctions on Iran. I wouldn't give credit to the mental midgets running the shit show in Ottawa to come to this conclusion. Uncle Don says jump, and Trudeau says how high. He has no worries. His retirement is secure as long as he does as he is told.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 25 2019 8:24 utc | 125

@mourning dove #128: I never said one should trust Google and I never said Google Translator translations are definitive. However, using Google Translator, an online dictionary, and my brains was enough to establish that there is neither a mention of "Jesus of Nazareth", nor a recommendation to "exterminate" him and his followers "with one's own hands" in the text referred to by Shahak. See my comments #19 and #64 in the January 13, 2019 open thread for context. I'm not saying everything Shahak has ever written is a lie. What I'm saying is that this particular claim of Shahak is such a wild exaggeration that it can only be considered a lie.

Posted by: S | Jan 25 2019 8:35 utc | 126

As bevin said "To call upon other powers to balance the aggression of a wannabe hegemon is sensible and realistic".
Russia, China have a big responsibility now, especially in the UN.
Other than that, it seems pretty bad regardless of what Maduro do now, unless the "other side" in Venezuela accept talks with the government/Maduro.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 25 2019 8:36 utc | 127

Democracy Now interview Venezuela expert:

A Coup in Progress? Trump Moves to Oust Maduro & Install Pro-U.S. Leader in Oil-Rich Venezuela

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 25 2019 8:51 utc | 129

Here's a roundup of news links on Venezuela 24-25 January 2019 that I've put up.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 8:57 utc | 130

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 24, 2019 8:35:55 PM | 93

OK I eat crow.. I dream of a chance for peace, today it is raw crow.

I condemn Bernie and wish him and all warmongers to have a gross and early death before they inflict same on the innocents. I condemn all those that strangle nations with economic and technological sanctions.

I am heartened to hear there are some USAians that hold the line against the violence of the USA. More power to the hands and heart of Tulsi Gabbard and AOC and their comrades that hold the line for peace and non interference. If they fail to push for peace they fail the people of Venezuela and the people of the USA.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 25 2019 9:30 utc | 131

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25, 2019 3:57:28 AM | 131

Thank you William. It is good to have that treasury of comment/analysis. With any luck and careful maneuvering the Venezuelan government elected by the people will prevail. Perhaps Maduro and his team might recruit the assistance of another state's embassy to assist in escorting the yankee embassy staff out of the country. Somehow though I suspect they are there for a purpose of escalating another 'hostage incident' in order for Trump to swat both Venezuela and Iran.

Building the pressure to create a parallel event is exactly what the Trump malign forces would do. A sham to facilitate a bombing run. The evil that these people do is truly disgusting.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 25 2019 10:02 utc | 132

Putin, Maduro did not discuss financial or military assistance to Venezuela

January 25, 12:36 UTC+3

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. The issue of possible financial or military assistance to Venezuela was not discussed during a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

"No," the Kremlin spokesman said answering reporters’ questions. The two leaders’ phone call took place in the evening on January 24.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 10:05 utc | 133

[Comment deleted for obvious attempt to plant antisemitic statements into this thread.

- b.]

Posted by: The Lowdown | Jan 25 2019 11:27 utc | 134

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 24, 2019 9:59:12 PM | 100

A lot of this is theater. Venezuela is ruled by the army, a bit like Egypt and Maduro is a figure head.

The US is building up pressure to flip the army's geopolitics but will hardly be successful.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 25 2019 11:50 utc | 135

The Lowdown | Jan 25, 2019 6:27:01 AM | 135

I don't think you have any understanding of the real world, of what is and isn't possible.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 11:58 utc | 136

Lysander | Jan 24, 2019 9:59:12 PM | 100

Ditto for you Lysander, no understanding whatsoever!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 12:00 utc | 137

This from Syrian Perspective

Maduro must:

Expel all foreign Western journalists or propagandists. All freelance reporters must be assumed spies or terrorism enablers;
He must give China favored nation status and conduct trade with that country in order to bolster the one currency of Venezuela, the Bolivar. A refinery on the Pacific coast would be very attractive to the Chinese;
He must try to bring Russia into a mutual defense pact which the Russians might tweak nervously in order to avoid confrontation with the U.S.;
He must deny the opposition access to the domestic media;
He must coordinate his own security with Russia;
He must study the Syrian model.
He must replace those individuals he appointed to run the petroleum sector. They have been miserable failures. He may want to bring some to trial on charges of corruption or negligence;
He must change his attitude toward the wealthy. While they have been indifferent to the poor since independence, they have moved their money to Florida, but, want to come back and live the lives of utter luxury which they enjoyed before the Bolivarian Revolution.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 13:10 utc | 138

This same American trick was tried on Turkey a few years ago ! It failed spectacularly !
What is needed right now, and I mean right now, is a purge !
Leave the diplomats to rot in there embassy. Arrest the ring leaders, freeze there bank accounts remove the weapons. And lock up enyone demonstrating with a weapon.
Follow Turkeys model ! The US backed off and entered / returned to dialogue with Turkey. Clamp down fast and clamp down hard !
Proactive not reactive. Cease the initiative!
The coup in Turkey was over in weeks . Gone, possibly millions of lives saved both sides.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jan 25 2019 13:46 utc | 139

@Zanon (2)
I don't think Guaido has any politic at all. He seems nothing more than a salesman, a chancer seeking fame and fortune by sucking up to the Moronic Hegemony. Like others before him, he doesn't understand that he'll be defenestrated as soon as he's no longer convenient.

Posted by: pasha | Jan 25 2019 14:11 utc | 140

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 25 2019 14:17 utc | 141

@Zachary Smith | Jan 24, 2019 10:26:32 PM

The U.S. Army turned to psychological warfare, blaring rock music at "deafening levels," gunning the engines of armored vehicles against the Nunciature's fence, and setting fire to a neighboring field and bulldozing it to create a "helicopter landing zone."

Blast them out with sound...

Or just send few crickets their way!

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 25 2019 14:40 utc | 142

It appears there is an Imperialist hidden in our midsts, here to warn us not to meddle in "American" affairs or to oppose the empire. ToivoS writes about Russia:

there is no way that they will ever support them militarily in a conflict with the US. The US has made it abundantly clear that South and Central America is in their dominion. It is written in the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine is in force and is recognized by the rest of the world.

When the US moved NATO up to Russia's borders, through the Ukraine and on to Georgia, all old deals on spheres of influence expired. Those deals are done, including the idiotic and imperialist Monroe Doctrine.

The US is not dealing with drunkard Boris Yelstin and his shopping daughter this time toivas.

You have no idea of the sacrifices the Russians made to throw off the Tatar yoke and later to defeat European efforts to conquer and destroy Russia, culminating in the World War II.

Vladimir Putin knows his Russian history and certainly subscribes to the idea, "Better to die a free man than to live a slave."

ToivoS goes on to threaten the world again, this time with nuclear holocaust:

I have to agree with your notion of the Monroe Doctrine in that it has no standing in international law. However, it remains an important doctrine in US imperial policy. Any nation that violates that doctrine faces the threat of nuclear retaliation from the US.

Who cares about threats of Nuclear War? If every time the US threatens, countries scurry that is effectively a hegemony. Among others, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey have all publicly committed to ending any hegemony. The US is bleeding blood and treasure all over the world to try to keep the rest of its vassals onside. Venezuela looks like one bridge too far, if defended properly.

Jose@96 has a more cynical idea:

If Russia and China play their cards right, they could use Venezuela to trigger a continent wide civil war. The Empire would have to spend tons in blood and treasure propping up the Fascists.

I wouldn't go this far. Certainly bring in a Russian fighter wing to help defend Venezuelan airspace immediately. Immediately begin emergency food supplies together with China. Provide whatever weapons are necessary as well as intelligence and military advisors. Front line combat troops would be overkill. There's lots of loyal military personnel in Venezuela, who could be very effective, properly directed.

All Venezuelan oil goes to China henceforth.

Syrian Perspective's tips via William Bowles are good ones. Cut off the Embassy, arrest the opposition, detain and arrest anyone carrying arms. Lysander is right. The Venezuelans should not allow the US to drag out the Embassy standoff. 48 hours to clear out. Armed guard to the airport where a regularly scheduled flight can be cleared to deport the Embassy personnel. The one place to be careful is that the CIA morons are not allowed to commit a false flag and blow up the passenger liner on take-off. As some of the friends and family of front line operatives will be on that flight hopefully they won't go that far.

The time is ripe for hard and firm action. The US has said navigation of the seas are free. Test them at their word. Many of the vassals will fall off once they see that Venezuela is unlikely to fall soon or ever.

Do not dither.

Posted by: uncoy | Jan 25 2019 14:52 utc | 143

In the 'heavy' oil department Venezuela's major competitor is Canada. If Venezuelan oil ceases to be available for the, specially adapted, refineries that process it the Alberta Tar Sand product will be in high demand.
Not that Canada needs an incentive to follow Washington's orders: it has nothing to gain and lots to lose by allowing the US to pursue its feud with Huawei through Canada, but that doesn't stop the appalling Freeland.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 25 2019 14:57 utc | 144

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 15:08 utc | 145

from Univision:
Exclusive: Venezuela’s interim president Juan Guaidó says “amnesty is on the table” for Nicolás Maduro and other high ranking officials . .here (Spanish)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 15:17 utc | 146

The US currently has three serviceable aircraft carriers at Norfolk, VA, and none in the Caribbean Sea.
Lincoln, since Dec 13
Truman, since Dec 16
Bush, since Jan 19

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 15:35 utc | 147

@138 William Bowles

Was that actually your comment regarding Lysander, or were you being impersonated?

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 25 2019 15:46 utc | 148

Venezuela went through a similar (lesser) turmoil with Leopoldo López, 43yo at the time, who called for protests nearly five years ago and is now under house address after being imprisoned. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 15:51 utc | 149

Grieved | Jan 25, 2019 10:46:44 AM | 149

I sincerely hope I'm not being impersonated! Yes, it was my comment (I await your wrath).

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 16:06 utc | 150

The Lowdown | Jan 25, 2019 11:02:43 AM | 151

Did you not think we got it when you first posted this @135?

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 16:09 utc | 151

It is tempting to see the situation as resulting from recent tactical moves by the US. In particular two: the promise, unfulfilled, of normalising relations with Cuba and the, related, peace agreement between FARC and the Colombian regime, in which Cuba assisted.
To put them in perspective: so long as FARC was in business in Colombia the real possibility of expanding the guerrilla war's size and intensity existed. Colombia wouldn't be threatening Venezuela if its backyard were on fire (and if ever a state deserved to have a backyard on fire it is Colombia's). That possibility still exists Colombia could explode again with demands for land reform, income redistribution and other minimal measures of social justice. But not only are FARC demobilised now but, predictably enough, half of their best militants have been killed by the paramilitary death squads
In fact death squad activity has picked up since the peace agreement, which, and it happened before, promised reconciliation and brought murderers at midnight to the doors of social movement leaders, militants and honest men.
Cuba, of course, is being squeezed again. As is Nicaragua.
The only real chance that the people have in Latin America is to combine against the half foreign ruling class and the imperialists who support them. A renewed Gran Colombia, preferably with an indigenous name, might be a Bolivarian idea worth examining. The momentum built in Venezuela might be just what the newest member of NATO needs to bring its kleptocratic caste back to reality by mobilising the millions of poor people who need a revolution, desperately. Then there is Brazil...

Posted by: bevin | Jan 25 2019 16:10 utc | 152

Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemskiy gave an interview in connection with the events in the country.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 25 2019 16:17 utc | 153

Venezuelan police needs to work faster: they dont know where this coup guy is hiding and not who he is in contact with.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 25 2019 16:20 utc | 154

@152 William Bowles

No wrath, just curious. It's a technique we see here sometimes, and you had just put down a completely obvious troll (whom you are wasting your time with by the way), so I thought it might be a counter-attack.

Personally I value Lysander's rare comments in whatever site I find them. I thought it was a good one here also, pleading the case to act quickly rather than letting the situation drag on. Your own citation of Ziad Fadel's article makes exactly the same crucial point, give or take the various embellishments.

The key was acting decisively, and I can see the value of this for Maduro. He holds the high ground but to keep it he should be very clear and follow the law precisely. I think he will. Apparently Putin's phone call yesterday was an expression of support, within the law. No mention of money or force, simply the law. I think that's enough, actually, in this situation. Diplomats firmly evicted by civil police, the pretender arrested and charged with whatever the law prescribes.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 25 2019 16:29 utc | 155

Apparently the US knows where Guaidó is, it's sending him a cash payoff AKA "humanitarian assistance."

Miami Herald:
On Thursday, the Trump administration announced it will send $20 million in humanitarian assistance to the interim president, yet another show of defiance to Nicolás Maduro a day after the U.S. cited the Venezuelan constitution as reason to recognize the leader of Maduro’s opposition as the rightfully elected interim government.
“I think the very first step is to take care of the Venezuelan people,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a leader on Venezuela in Congress who worked with the Trump administration in its decision to recognize Guaidó. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 16:36 utc | 156

@157 Evicting the diplomats may be easier said than done. Do civil police have the right to go into an embassy and haul them out? Will they be armed? The British police seem to have a problem getting Julian Assange (I know he's not a diplomat) out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. I guess we will soon find out.

Posted by: dh | Jan 25 2019 16:50 utc | 157

NyTimes corporate coup media write editorial endorsing Trump regime takeover in Caracas

Posted by: Hands off Venezuela! | Jan 25 2019 17:03 utc | 158

The Organization of American States (OAS) held an emergency meeting in Washington on Thursday, but did not vote on recognizing Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela.

But the OAS Secertary General spoke on FB:
"Congratulations to Juan Guaido interim President of #Venezuela. You have our recognition to move forward the country's return to democracy:" Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, Luis Almagro. . .here

Luis Almagro, a Uruguayan lawyer, diplomat, and politician, became OAS General Secretary. on May 26, 2015. Almagro is an activist who favored Chavez but not Maduro in Venezuela, calling Maduro a “little dictator” and “traitor to his people.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 17:03 utc | 159

Vladimir Putin knows his Russian history and certainly subscribes to the idea, "Better to die a free man than to live a slave."
Posted by: uncoy | Jan 25, 2019 9:52:26 AM | 144

Rubbish. He wouldn't say that. He's a 'While there's life there's Hope' warrior.
If you want to put words in his mouth then please stick to stuff he's actually said. Here's an example...

"Those destined to hang will not drown."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25 2019 17:04 utc | 160

Guardian corporate soft coup media write editorial endorsing transition to Trump regime takeover in Caracas

Posted by: Hands off Venezuela! | Jan 25 2019 17:06 utc | 161

@157, grieved, thanks for the comment.

@159, dh,

I think the 2 situations are entirely different
I'm no expert on international law, but having given US diplomats 72 hours to gather their things and leave, I would imagine any diplomatic immunity would lapse after that and they would be ordinary foreign citizens in the country illegally. Police should have all the authority they need to enter the embassy and escort the tenants to the airport for deportation.

This should be done with the bear minimum force and after explaining to the diplomats that, without immunity they are subject to Venezuelan law as it pertains to resisting arrest or violence against law enforcement.

I seriously doubt embassy security will be dumb enough to fire shots at the police, but if they do, plenty of cameras should be around to document exactly who fired the first shot.

In London, the Ecuadorian embassy staff still has immunity since Great Britain has not broken relations with Ecuador. Hence police can't enter.

I await William Bowles' explanation of how I got it all wrong.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 25 2019 17:22 utc | 162

It is heartening to see Maduro showing some fighting spirit. As for US puppet Guaido, he should 'declare himself' Emperor in Exile and run to the US with his tail between his legs.

Posted by: paul | Jan 25 2019 17:25 utc | 163

AP, 9:30 AM today:
A U.S. official says that some American diplomats and their families have headed in a caravan to the Venezuelan capital's airport amid diplomatic standoff with President Nicolas Maduro.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because due to lack of authorization to discuss sensitive security arrangements.
A letter written by a U.S. Embassy security officer requesting a Venezuelan police escort for 10 vehicles was leaked earlier Friday on social media. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 17:26 utc | 164

The US Embassy in Caracas occupies a 27-acre mountainside site in the Colinas de Valle Arriba area, overlooking Las Mercedes, with a view of the valley. It is a five story, modern-contemporary building with the exterior composed of red granite and the interior occupying 95,000 square feet. All agencies are housed within the Embassy’s chancery building.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2019 17:31 utc | 165

@157 Evicting the diplomats may be easier said than done.
Posted by: dh | Jan 25, 2019 11:50:20 AM | 159

b laid out a smart, legal, workaround in the paragraph commencing...
"The best for Venezuela to do now is..."

i.e. Treat them like Palestinians and make them FEEL like martyrs.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25 2019 17:31 utc | 166

Treachery latin american nations that work with the US, fail in effort of a resolution against Maduro,

These states are as disgraced as the arab states working with the US against their own region!

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 25 2019 17:44 utc | 167

Trump did a favor to traitors and what did they do?They had more sh*t.nyt,wapo.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 25 2019 17:46 utc | 168

Correct strategy for Maduro (and the alternative media) should now be to embrace the coup and extend it, to later let its its choked remainders slip to the floor, when no one is watching.

Posted by: CogDissonanz | Jan 25 2019 17:46 utc | 169

in case someone else hasn't posted it yet:

some very good background on the OAS which makes it even more clear how blatant this all is.

Posted by: the pair | Jan 25 2019 17:59 utc | 170

Grieved | Jan 25, 2019 11:29:27 AM | 157

I'm extremely naive really, even tho I've been using online tools of all kinds, since the late 70s. I wouldn't know a troll if one ran over me! But I know 'flaming' when I read it.

I tend to take people at face value, stupid I know but that's how I am.

Also, I'm not aware of the users here in the way that you are, so you know who the trolls are here (I assume). I'm not even sure what the correct definition of a troll is but I assume it's someone who either doesn't believe what they write and/or they just write to piss people off?

Politics is serious business, it's life and death, I can't joke about such things.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 18:00 utc | 171

This latest coup attempt in Venezuela is of a piece with the coup in Honduras in 2009 and the removal from office of Dilma and the persecution of Lula in Brazil. All were either planned or supported by the United States government in its efforts to remove from power all left wing governments in the western hemisphere. In point of fact, the tradition of dominating Latin America, often brutally, goes back more than a century. So I guess one could say: "Nothing new here, move along."

Posted by: Rob | Jan 25 2019 18:01 utc | 172

The Lowdown | Jan 25, 2019 12:54:24 PM | 172

Lowdown, why are you ranting at Maduro et al? Whose side are you on? You expect the Chavistas to take on the might of the US directly! Even Chavez couldn't do that. They walk on soft-boiled eggs as the saying goes, treading that fine line between resistance and accomodation. Yes, they make mistakes, they operate off the back foot sometimes. Yes, their timing might be out but we have the advantage of a safe, ringside seat, so telling them what they should do, is all too easy, for us.

As to your comment about not selling oil to the gringos, well it's inane! You'd rather the Venezuelan people starve, is that it?

Yes, Venezuela should have tried to diversify (most of its income comes from oil, just like Russia) but they've been sanctioned, undermined, sabotaged from without and within, that's the reality of a Third World country.

You're being an idealist and I can understand why. Anger, frustration, the sheer horror of US actions, the feeling of helplessness we get in the face of the beast.

I suggest a little more humility on your part and less telling the Venezuelans what they should and shouldn't be doing, unless of course, you want to hop on a plane and go down there and do it yourself, or try to?

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 18:17 utc | 173

Trump's views on regime change and oil in Libya. His view was also the same on Iraq. Trump believes in short sharp wars, rather than endless war, and that the US receives some plunder for its services.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 25 2019 18:20 utc | 174

Here comes the cavalry!

Andrew Roth
‏ @Andrew__Roth
25m25 minutes ago

Big scoop here by Reuters, I've talked to Shabaev and he confirms that he has been told by family members that two charters jets with Russian private military contractors departed for Cuba this week en route to Venezuela

Christiaan Triebert
‏Verified account @trbrtc
37m37 minutes ago

One of @TRF_Stories' sources said that the contractors flew to Venezuela not from Russia, but from “third countries where they were conducting missions”. @TRF_Stories looked at several flights, incl. a Ilyushin-96 that arrived in Cuba on 23 Jan via ????????, ????????, and ???????? respectively.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Private military contractors who do secret missions for Russia flew into Venezuela in the past few days to beef up security for President Nicolas Maduro in the face of U.S.-backed opposition protests, according to two people close to them.

Posted by: JohninMK | Jan 25 2019 18:22 utc | 175

i thought what lysander said @100 was prescient... i thought the usa had revised the issue of on the caracas embassy people to let most of them leave?

@145 bevin.. the problem with pulling the alberta tar sands oil is the cost.. i think 70-80$ is the cost per barrel to get it out of the ground! so, unless oil prices go up, these tar sand projects are on hold..

@172 lowdown.. your strong opinion is out of sync with reality... if the bank mafia want to say fuck you - they do it with sanctions... that is like me taking something from your store and then telling you i am not paying... welcome to kleptocracy usa...

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2019 18:28 utc | 176

but it is so much easier to think the financial system, with it's kleptomaniacs at GS, BOA and etc etc - are interested in honouring contracts while having uncle scam say, you are not allowed to do any financial transactions anymore with these countries... oh, but lets do blame the victim, lol...

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2019 18:30 utc | 177

Lysander | Jan 25, 2019 12:22:37 PM | 164

You got it wrong because, you're sitting safe somewhere commenting on a situation where people are dying. I think I understand where you're coming from but it's the same thing as Lowdown's 'do this and do that, else you're a traitor!'

We in the so-called developed world are so used to telling the rest of the world what they should and shouldn't do, we forget where we are and who we are.

There's a war going on in Venezuela, the govt has it's back to the wall, one false move and it's all over.

I agree that mistakes have been made by Maduro's govt, they have failed to move against the traitors in their midst, they have miscalculated but what they need from us is to expose the lies of OUR governments, not theirs!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 18:31 utc | 178

@ JohninMK #178

Picked up by Brown Moses ( I guess , after Syria. he needs new revenue streams)

Posted by: Yul | Jan 25 2019 18:31 utc | 179

The Lowdown | Jan 25, 2019 1:25:04 PM | 179

Giving away their wealth?

You make it sound so simple. The gold you mentioned was locked away in the Bank of England's vaults long before the Bolivarian Revolution!

It's the weak versus the strong! Maduro has demanded its return but what's he to do, invade the BoE?

Wake up Lowdown, life aint the way you think it is.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 18:33 utc | 180

@ William 176

The people of Venezuela, like anyone else, would be vastly better off if they had neither oil nor gold. That's why it's called the resource curse.

As for starving, um, people don't eat oil or gold, they eat food, which they're perfectly capable of growing for themselves if they choose. There again, the problem of the Venezuelans, Greeks, and so on up to the Americans, is that they want all the worthless material junk instead of health, happiness, and freedom. That's why they're all slaves who wallow amid cancer-giving poison. And that's why they've shackled themselves to an unsustainable mode of agriculture where they are, as it turns out, eating oil, but which will soon collapse leaving them to starve after all. Again because they chose slavery over freedom.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 25 2019 18:35 utc | 181


Don, the highway from Caracas down to the airport is known to be extremely dangerous and it makes sense to use a protected caravan. Taxis making the trip have the pedal to the metal all the way and drivers hope traffic keeps moving to avoid bandits coming on to the road.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 25 2019 18:47 utc | 182

Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25, 2019 12:04:10 PM | 162

uncoy not only botches attribution to quotes, he also confuses describing a potential danger with being its advocate.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 25 2019 18:48 utc | 183

JohninMK | 178

To maybe add a link to your contribution: Exclusive: Kremlin-linked contractors help guard Venezuela's Maduro

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jan 25 2019 18:55 utc | 184

So SOME American diplomats and their families have left the embassy. I could be wrong but I thought Maduro ordered ALL of them out. That would make it partial compliance. Thanks for the replies but I'm still wondering about the mechanics of eviction especially if the Venezualan government (Maduro) wants to avoid a long drawn out standoff. That embassy looks like a fortress.

Posted by: dh | Jan 25 2019 18:57 utc | 185

Khamenei offers support and advice from his region's experience. His point/observation that "World’s wars today are in fact 'wars of willpowers'" is astute and accurate since neither NATO nor the Outlaw US Empire want to directly risk their soldiers in their Imperial quests, preferring to use proxies and all Hybrid Warfare tools to get the job done. Clearly, Chavez, like Castro, had enormous willpower and exhibited boldness because he knew he was in the right. His saying the UNGA Hall smelt like sulphur after Bush spoke was pure genius.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 25 2019 19:09 utc | 186

Moving press conference to international media by rounded President Maduro ( I was moved to tears at several points, I did not even know how good speecher this man is..., but mainly, it is that the reason and truth assist he so in this case, that it is what is most definitely moving..)

President Maduro was holding a little edition of the Venezuelan Constitution during the whole press conference, with which he has debunked the move by Guaidó as unconstitutional.

Invitation to Spain to follow the same path of the US in case they do not want ot keep their diplomatic missions in the country, but stating that nobody gives neither orders nor ultimatums to Venezuela.

Mocking of the ammount offered by Pompeo as support for the outlaw opposition, $20 millions, which deemed sounds ridiculous and said it will not solve anything in Venezuela..( most probably the tip for Guaidó and his minions...), while stating the the most probale outcome is that they, the opposition, will have to pay for the wall.

Final assurance that Venezuela will fight to the last breath, with the full general staff of Bolivarian National Armed Forces present at the room and standing when President Maduro was naming them one after another. Btw, what a face of good person has Vladimir Padrino, Defense Minister....

He ended by acknolewdging that he was aware the the press conference was being followed from the WH, has saluted Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and Pence, even in English, and offered them to rethink and backtrack...

In a certain moment, he has thanked Pompeo for calling in the UNSC,so as to have the opportunity to tell the truth to the world, but has denounced the initial intention by the US of denying the visa to go there to Foreign Minister Mr. Arreaza, took the opportunity to denounce that visas to go to the UN sessions should not be administered, granted or denied by the US, and menaced with planting himself there ( may be we will be able to witness a new glorious "aquí huele a azufre" moment?...I hope so...)

He sounded definitely firm and confident, as well as implacable on any intend to attack the nation militarily. He recalled current popular mobilizations in support of the legitimate government and against the coup in several regions never seen before in such volume of people taken part.

Viva la República Bolivariana de Venezuela!

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 25 2019 19:10 utc | 187

how about this one lowdown? you blame venezuala for starving it's people, while you ban food exports... sound familiar?? if the usa was really interested in overthrowing a leader - this is how they would go about it... just like they are...

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2019 19:14 utc | 188

@ Posted by: Russ | Jan 25, 2019 1:35:37 PM | 185

and all, I saw this on another site this AM and just finished watching.
It puts your comment in perspective...

Posted by: Desolation Row | Jan 25 2019 19:16 utc | 189

Russ | Jan 25, 2019 1:35:37 PM | 185

Absolutely! Couldn't agree more but that ain't the way things are. They have the oil and the gringos want it. What are they to do? Vanish the oil? More idealism unfortunately.

WE'd be much beeter off without industrial capitalism but i fear too late.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 25 2019 19:17 utc | 190

Btw, I was reading this news by Reuters, and while seeing the image of the US Embassy in Caracas I was thinking that it resembles a bunker all the way.

For sure that they built it thinking in this very moment.....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 25 2019 19:29 utc | 191

This tweet/vid was posted yesterday by Tulsi Gabbard and is on almost every twitter account I monitor having been retweeted over 1600 times. She's also denounced Trump's ploy in Venezuela unlike any other politico. The thread attached to her tweet is quite long and revelatory.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 25 2019 19:30 utc | 192

It ´s all starting a coup anywhere and all of a sudden Trump anounces an agreement to open the govenrment.

It is pitiful that you, so divided in the US, only unite to give coups and start wars of invasion and opression abroad.


Posted by: Sasha | Jan 25 2019 19:36 utc | 193

Trump is a businessman, right?
Now we know what some businessmen think about the rule of law!

Meanwhile, Guaido looks like a Miss Universe brought to the stage by her sugardaddy. At 35 she'll be able to serve her masters for a long time.

@ The Lowdown

Interesting point. Perhaps Maduro had no other choice? Erdogan did the same, paid American govt. and EU govts to have a breathing space because that's what you do when surrounded by ferocious vultures.


I don't think Turkey model is applicable in Venezuela though Erdogan told Maduro to stand his ground firmly. The Turks are really pissed off with the US foreign policy (and they know there are different USAs) and therefore Erdogan gets full support nationwide where as Maduro has the backing of less than half of his nation. Erdogan fights off international pressure gracefully and prevents crazy Turks from razing US bases, businesses and diplomatic missions. Turks shut down wikipedia but allowed social media operations eventhough they are used against Erdogan round the clock. Erdogan jailed several US and EU agents, deported some and kept an eye on the remaining. Gulenist journalists and scholars were jailed but Soros gang only got harrasment (except few who are in jail now) until Soros yielded and stopped Open Society operations in Turkey and left lest more of his cryptos lose their hard earned positions in the society. Turks have resorted to conterintel ops internationally too. Also the Turks now have a lot of files in their hands which turns Erdogan into an ultramegahypersuper Assange against US and some EU countries. I don't think Maduro team can act as skillfully.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 25 2019 19:40 utc | 194

Venezuela will need to work closely with Russia, China, Cuba, Iran & Syria if it's going to survive the US war of regime change. I agree with B that if the US decides to escalate (and they will) the military forces they unleash will almost certainly be sent in from Colombia, so Venezuela will need to secure that boarder to prevent that from happening. More importantly though Venezuela will need a show of international support in terms of economic investment from China & Russia to deal with the economic crisis the US is deliberately provoking in hopes of collapsing the government, Russia's finances right now are focused on their own internal development and their immediate region, so they won't be able to invest much. China has tons of money to pay for investments, but historically they have been extremely reluctant to oppose the US openly, although that might change now that the US has been so extremely insulting to the Chinese government and threatening to major Chinese businesses. Cuba, Iran & Syria will have the most experience to share with Venezuela on surviving US sanctions and I suspect that Putin's recent call to Maduro included arrangements with these countries on how to deal with the sanctions. Russia's primarily role in this crisis I think will be diplomatic arranging behind the scenes talks, meetings and negotiations between the various countries, the opposition parties (not all of Maduro's critics are US puppets) and the government.

I have no doubt that John Bolton sold this intervention on Venezuela to Trump as a cheap and quick win going into the 2020 election (eerily similar to Hilary's war on Libya). After watching Bolton survive the Iraq disaster and come back into power I'm certain he's aware that it will be neither but his backers in the M.I.C will make a fortune again and he'll be able to use the threat of failure to push Trump to peruse even more aggressive policies towards Iran and China (Remember he promised to host the MEK leadership in Teran in 2019!). Ultimately, if Venezuela doesn't get overthrown within the next 3 months this will turn into another decade long bi-partisan foreign policy disaster of the US. So we should probably get use to hearing a lot more about the "Evils" of the Maduro's regime for the next few years

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 25 2019 19:40 utc | 195

What would Fidel do? President Maduro would do well to keep that at the top of his mind as he makes decisions. Above all, Fidel was decisive. Although I am safe and far away myself, I wish the Chavistas well and hope they soon realize the civil war has already begun. It’s time for decisive action. The upper class enemy is at the gates. Go after them and take their property and give their high rises to the poor. Shut down the upper class media. Grow some cajones.

Posted by: Chas | Jan 25 2019 19:45 utc | 196

Short Telesur vid man in the street interviews from Wednesday. Support for Maduro is certainly tepid compared with overall support for the Revolucion and its Bolivarian Constitution, which based on previous election outcomes since 2000 I estimate is supported by an overwhelming supermajority of 72-75% of the polity--and they know what their Constitution says and how it can be used as a political tool. Indeed, one of Chavez's and the Revolucion's biggest accomplishments is the improvement of literacy, particularly political literacy and the widespread network of campesino political chapters that're loosely based on Iran's Banjii.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 25 2019 19:47 utc | 197

@198 the lowdown... well, in fact the gov't of venezuala definitely deserves a good chunk of criticism for the situation it finds itself in... my problem is i don't respect bully usa for kicking another country when they are weaker and don't have the means that the bully country does... so, it is a mixed bag for me... i am not sure you see it this way though and would instead like to put all the blame on venezuala.. i don't share that view, but agree in part that the leadership of venezuala over the years have screwed up..

but here is my main view... the usa is meddling in the affairs of venezuala.. that is as clear as day.. why is that? can't they mind there own business, instead of working for a regime change all the time? as someone pointed out upstream, there have been 1000's of these types of game played on latin america by the usa.. usa is directly and indirectly reaping what it has sown.. you can see that in the usa, without having to go to venezuala..

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2019 19:57 utc | 198

As Guaido doesn't have that much support yet, I'd have thought Maduro's best response would be a decapitation strike, if Venezuela has some special forces, even if not that competent. Better do it soon. Unless of course Guaido already has US special forces protecting him - in that case, publicising that fact would be very useful politically.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 25 2019 19:58 utc | 199


Anyone who has followed Ukraine since 2014 knows that:

1. Washington does not respect zones of influence in any way shape or form.
2. Washington is a dishonest partner.
3. Any hope of seeing down a sponsored coup is founded on resolute and immediate action.

Syria revealed the same. With your "explaining the way of the world", it's a veiled threat and a warning. Expect to be called on it. The Monroe Doctrine is dead. The USA can pretend it still applies but they blew it up themselves.

In the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was a quid pro quo. The Soviets didn't finish their base in Cuba and the USA had to remove their nuclear missiles from Turkey - what started the whole gambit in the first place. When the USA went back to respecting zones of influence, the Soviets withdrew. Do you see the psychopaths in Washington shutting down operations in Kiev and Georgia this week? I didn't think so.

I suggested a Russian air wing. The Russians should take a page out of the Americans' book and add a Chines air wing so that any attack on Venezuela starts a war with both. That would knock the wind out of the US bravora.

If any of this starts a world war at this point, too bad. The Americans are spoiling for a world war one way or another if they are not faced down now. Submitting to the bully and thief will not make it better but just embolden them.

@ Hoarsewhisperer

Vladimir Putin has shown many times he's willing to stand up and risk being shot rather than bow down. First time I know about it was when he defended the KGB archives in Dresden against an angry mob, more or less alone, with a single pistol. Second time was when he went straight to Murmansk after the Kursk had gone down and addressed the angry families alone. There were any number of times he was threatened by the oligarchs after being elevated precipitously to the presidency by Yeltsin.

Careful on who you call horse pucky. I lived there for ten years and met a number of the principles face to face.

Posted by: uncoy | Jan 25 2019 20:00 utc | 200

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