Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 03, 2019

Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup - (Updated)

Tuesdays clownish coup attempt in Venezuela failed. The Trump administration got snookered. It will have to either change its tactic or leave the issue alone. National Security Advisor John Bolton is pressing for a war on Venezuela.

While the Pentagon and the countries neighboring Venezuela are against the use of military force, it is Bolton who has President Trump's ear. The planning for a war seems to progress fast.

Lucas Tomlinson @LucasFoxNews - 00:18 utc- 3 May 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton just left Pentagon following meeting with acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan in secure conference room known as ‘The Tank’ to discuss military options for Venezuela, per senior defense official

A similar meeting took place on Wednesday May 1 in the White House.

The head of U.S. Southern Command admits that plans are ready but plays down the chance for a war:

Admiral Craig Faller insisted that the U.S. wanted a peaceful transfer of power but declared that his Southern Command was ready for any scenario. He said his military staff had made 'Day Now' plans to prepare for an immediate change of power as opposition leader Juan Guaido tries to topple Maduro.

'We call it Day Now because there is going to be a day when the legitimate government takes over, and it's going to come when we least expect it - and it could be right now,' Faller said. But Faller, the head of the Southern Command in Latin America, insisted: 'Our leadership's been clear: It has to be, should be, primarily a democratic transition.'

UPDATE (May 5):

In a very unusual move U.S. Southern Command put out a press statement about the Pentagon meeting:

Yesterday the commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) was asked by Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick M. Shanahan, to remain in Washington D.C. to provide a current assessment on the situation in Venezuela and the status on planning for military options
U.S. Southern Command stands with the people of Venezuela who are suffering at the hand of the illegitimate Maduro regime and remains prepared to support all options, when requested by senior leadership.

That U.S. Southcom was told to release this, lets me believe that it is part of scare tactic, not of serious war planning. Then again - the last sentence is somewhat confusing. Which "senior leadership" is meant here. The U.S. one or the wannabe leaders Guaidó/López? As Guaidó is recognized as 'interim President' by the U.S. could he ask the U.S. military to help him to 'restore democracy', i.e. request an invasion? Would that be a way for Trump to avoid a Congress vote?

Politico seems to confirm that the current talk of military planning is a head fake:

Two U.S. officials told POLITICO these actions are designed more to rattle Maduro — and Venezuelan military leaders who have been a key source of support for him — than to foreshadow an American military effort in Venezuela.

One can not "rattle Maduro" by tough talk. He hails from a tough neighborhood and has a working class and trade union background. Even the threat of an aircraft carrier offshore of Caracas, as the insane Senator Lindsay Graham demands, would not rattle him.

But even if the current tough talk and military planning is just for show, what happens when the White House recognizes that it does not have any effect? What will be the the next step after that?

End Update

Venezuela is not an easy target. Colonel (ret.) Larry Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, writes:

I know the Venezuelan military; I’ve trained some of them.
The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the “gringos” leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans.

The opposition is wary of a U.S. intervention:

Many believe U.S. troops could ignite internal conflicts within the military, irregular forces linked to Maduro and criminal cartels. Intervention would also undermine Guaidó’s claim to be a grass roots Venezuelan leader by seeming to confirm that he’s exactly what Maduro has claimed: A puppet of the United States.

A U.S. military intervention would “bring more problems than solutions,” said Carlos Valero, a Guaidó supporter in the National Assembly.
Political analyst Felix Seijas, director of the Delphos polling agency in Caracas, says fewer than a fifth of the Venezuelans he has surveyed this year support a military intervention. The numbers have gone up only slightly since the beginning of the year.

There were more warnings from Russia during a Trump-Putin phone call today:

While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country’s internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

The planning and decision making for the next phase of the U.S. attack on Venezuela will take time.

Meanwhile we can continue to analyze why the U.S. coup plan failed so devastatingly.

To arrange for the coup attempt the administration and its Venezuelan proxies, Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López, talked with many senior Venezuelan officials and officers. They made offers and threats and tried to arrange deals. There was even a written 15 point paper. Most the officials and officers seem to have agreed to cooperate, only to turn around to inform their higher ups.

By talking to so many people the coup plotters made way too much noise. The Venezuelan government seems to have been well informed about the whole plot. It likely was convinced that a coup would fail and let it run its course to embarrass the people behind it. Allowing the coup attempt to happen would also reveal turncoats and spies within the government structures.

Of the many people the coup plotters thought they had convinced to come to their side only one man followed through. It was Manuel Christopher Figuera, the director of the national intelligence service SEBIN, who ordered the release of opposition leader Leopoldo López who was under guard of SEBIN agents.

From a new forensic piece by Bloomberg:

The Trump administration and Guaido’s team are still trying to figure out what went wrong.
Lopez’s clandestine release from house arrest by the feared Sebin intelligence agency was but one step in a complex transition negotiated with top aides to Maduro, not all of whom were speaking to one another, according to people in Washington and Caracas familiar with the negotiations and who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

And within hours, the deal between the opposition and the Maduro camp was dead. Lopez ultimately sought refuge in the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas, emerging briefly Thursday to talk to reporters. U.S. officials expressed fury at the Venezuelans close to Maduro who they believe double-crossed them.

Those singled out by National Security Adviser John Bolton -- the defense minister, the supreme court president and the head of the presidential guard -- were central players in a large cast discussing how to abandon Maduro and recognize Guaido as the interim president, according to the people familiar with the negotiations.

Lopez was released because the Sebin intelligence chief, General Manuel Christopher Figuera, was fully on board, the people said. As part of the arrangement, Figuera’s wife flew to safety in the U.S. on Sunday. On Tuesday night, after Figuera released a letter explaining his decision, Maduro replaced him as intelligence chief. Figuera has left Venezuela, according to two opposition officials, though they said they don’t where he has gone.

It was also Figuera, the head of SEBIN, who arranged for additional soldiers to augment the 25 or so mercenaries Guaidó had at hand:

Some of Guaidó’s soldiers took the first opportunity to defect, claiming they had been tricked. One of them explained how officers had given them weapons at the Helicoide, the SEBIN headquarters, and told they were going to put down a mass jailbreak.

The Jim Dore Show has video of the soldier explaining how he and his comrades were tricked.

Figuera might also be the source for a "secret dossier" that was peddled to the New York Times. It claims without evidence that Tareck El Aissami, a former vice-president and now industry minister of Venezuela, arranged passports for the Lebanese Hizbullah and was involved in drug dealing. Tareck El Aissami is of Syrian descent:

The dossier, provided to The New York Times by a former top Venezuelan intelligence official and confirmed independently by a second one, recounts testimony from informants accusing Mr. El Aissami and his father of recruiting Hezbollah members to help expand spying and drug trafficking networks in the region.

The quality of the dossier is likely as good as the one the former MI6 agent Christopher Steele created about Donald Trump.

Back to the Bloomberg piece:

Many of us thought, as the weeks went by, that it was astonishing Maduro hadn’t discovered it already but that may be because so many on the inside wanted it to succeed,” one person familiar with the matter said. “They believe Maduro began to get an understanding of what was happening on the 29th and they had to move on the 30th or it would all collapse.”
Other speculation falls on Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez who, according to one person close to the situation, was engaged in the negotiations while informing Maduro and his Russian and Cuban allies of the talks. The defense minister was with Maduro when the president gave a speech at the military academy in Caracas Thursday.
But it may be that many more balked. There was confusion over who would make the first move, according to a person close to the situation. It could be that there were so many participants that one hand often didn’t know what the other was doing.
Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s special envoy for Venezuela, told a Venezuelan television station Wednesday that “a majority of the high command were talking with the Supreme Court and Juan Guaido about a change in government with the departure of Maduro and with guarantees for the military.”

He said the negotiations had created a 15-point document that included a “dignified exit” for Maduro and recognition by the high court of Guaido as interim president with elections within a year. It had been widely assumed that Leopoldo Lopez, a former mayor of a wealthy district in Caracas, would be a leading candidate.

The whole arrangement sounds extremely amateurish. Why talk to so many people? Why not concentrate on the few that really matter? Why not get some guarantees from them? The SEBIN chief who supported the coup had no other choice left as his wife was already in the U.S. and could have been used as hostage. Why were there not similar arrangements for other officials?

Back in March the U.S. withdrew all its staff from its embassy in Caracas. That must have weakened the CIA's capabilities on the ground. It also seems that much of the coordination was done by Elliot Abrams and others in the White House. They were obviously guided by wishful thinking and not by a realistic analysis of Venezuela and of the people leading it.

To believe that a Leopoldo López could win in fair presidential elections in Venezuela is pretty absurd. He has treid to overthrow the government six times. He led the brutal protests in 2014 and is known as an ruthless rightwing operator. His party, Voluntad Popular, describes itself as progressive social-democratic but is at best hard right if not fascists. It holds only 14 of the 163 seats in the National Assembly.

López is for now out of jail but isolated:

On Thursday, a Caracas court issued a warrant for Lopez, revoking his house arrest and ordering him to spend the remaining eight years of his 13-year sentence in Ramo Verde military prison; he was convicted of charges including arson and instigating violence after spearheading anti-government protests. The Spanish foreign ministry said on its website that Lopez would “under no circumstances” be handed over to Venezuelan authorities.

López can stay in the embassy. But as long as he is there Spain will not allow him a political role:

Spain will not permit its embassy to be converted in to a center of political activity by Mr Lopez, or anyone else,” [Spain's acting Foreign Minister Josep] Borrell said on the sidelines of a conference in Beirut.
“Lopez has not asked for political asylum because, according to our legislation, for that you must request it while on Spanish territory,” Borrell said adding that while he was at the embassy, there would be a limit to his political activity.

The delusion of the coup plotters in the White House can be seen in their newest spin:

The U.S. is pointing to the breadth of the failed plot as evidence that, no matter how badly it went, Maduro’s days are numbered with the country having plunged into dysfunction and the economy in a shambles. “This was just the tip of the iceberg,” said a senior administration official who asked not to be named. Many close to Maduro were in on the endgame, the official said, and their eagerness to send him packing shows how isolated he is.

The logic makes little sense: "Many people told us they would take our side but stood with Maduro. That shows us that Maduro has lost them and that we will win."

Unfortunately U.S. mainstream media deliver similar stupid analysis:

Talks between opposition leaders and senior Maduro officials that have come to light this week suggest deception in [Maduro's] inner circle. And despite Guaidó’s actions, neither prosecutors nor the pro-Maduro Supreme Court have issued an arrest warrant for him — a sign, his allies say, of just how weak Maduro is.

There was a lot of deception within Maduro's inner circle. But it was the opposition and its backers who were deceived, not Nicolas Maduro.

Putting Guaidó into jail would only make him a martyr. The U.S. would use it to for further bashing. Guaidó running continues to turn himself into a clown.

An energy-balance bracelet wearing model doing soft-erotic photo shootings for GQ (vid) will hardly be taken seriously when it calls for a general strike.

Posted by b on May 3, 2019 at 17:50 UTC | Permalink

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Ali's old Rope-A-Dope strategy worked wonderfully here.

Posted by: Chet380 | May 3 2019 18:10 utc | 1

It appears the firing of the head of SEBIN precipitated all this, I think the question is did the Chavistas intend to set it off when they fired Figuera? I think they did, they seem to have been well-prepared, and disciplined in their response.

Posted by: Bemildred | May 3 2019 18:27 utc | 2

To me it looked bizarre that the Venezuelan government let the clown Guaidó run free while acting as a traitor but perhaps it was the best strategy to let him and the US behind him get over confident.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 3 2019 18:36 utc | 3

Every modern woman's dream. Cute Latin looks but not too macho.

Posted by: dh | May 3 2019 18:40 utc | 4

"elections within a year"....yeah and in the meantime the 'interim' Presidente Guaido, his thugs, foreign meddlers and intimidated senior State officials will launch an all out assault on left-wing leaders from all walks of life to ensure there is little or no opposition to the new Washington-backed regime when the elections are eventually held. CNN, NYT, WaPo,etc will of course all hail this "new era of democracy and freedom for the people of Venezuela".

Posted by: C | May 3 2019 18:43 utc | 5


The sixth link named "Library" seems to be a stray one to some Typepad thing I don't know what is.

"Warry" is a word (I didn't know it) but it doesn't fit the sentence, so I guess it was meant to be "Worry".

Feel free to remove this comment as soon as you've read it :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 3 2019 18:53 utc | 6

@7 Wary..

Posted by: Lozion | May 3 2019 18:56 utc | 7

@ Sunny Runny Burger

I believe the intended choice of words was "wary".

ie: "The opposition is wary of a U.S. intervention

Posted by: nwwoods | May 3 2019 19:03 utc | 8

'Our leadership's been clear: It has to be, should be, primarily a democratic transition.'

Clear as mud.

He immediately degrades "has to be" to "should be", and the "primarily" qualification leaves much room for interpretation.

With "leadership" like take-the-oil Trump; lie-cheat-steal Pompeo, and all-options-on-the-table Bolton, you can expect that only the vague appearance of democracy (which can be spun by controlled media) is important to them.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 3 2019 19:09 utc | 9

I just dont believe the ckaim there were negotiations with maduro officials. Its far more likely to be an attempt to save face by the white house or to create division within the Maduro administration. Probably,both. After all, what else can they salvage out of the botch.

Posted by: Hermius | May 3 2019 19:15 utc | 10

SSDD = Same Shit, Different Day

Great journalism b of a watershed event in history we are living through.

It is going to be interesting to see what bulling position the US has put itself in by the May 6 meeting with Lavrov/Pompeo

Lots of logistical positioning between now and then behind the scenes to show saber rattling if nothing else...

And while we are all watching this spinning plate, those of Yemen, Palestine continues to have blood spilled with little or no world wide recognition or action......when do the war crimes trials start?

The future is here, it is just not evenly distributed yet.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 3 2019 19:27 utc | 11


Yeah, only weeks ago they were claiming that much of the military would defect. Now they claim that many high officials would defect.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 3 2019 19:27 utc | 12

thanks b... how do they let freaks like Admiral Craig Faller near a microphone?? ""there is going to be a day when the legitimate government takes over.."" and ""'Our leadership's been clear: It has to be, should be, primarily a democratic transition.'" this is really shitty bullshite as i see it.. maybe some amerikkkans are stupid enough to eat it up.. i dunno..

everything you cover articulates well how messed up the cia-usa's game plan is here, even if they have a lying media in tow..

Posted by: james | May 3 2019 19:28 utc | 13

"Jacobin stabs Venezuela in the front"

Posted by: arby | May 3 2019 19:39 utc | 14

No snipers yet? That probably means that the militaristic bluster is all psy ops. The real escalation will most likely be in the size of the bribes offered. If it weren't for the probable link to the desired Iran attack it might be possible to guess the limit on those. How high the Kochs alone might go could be: the value of their gulf refineries plus that of their ideological obsessions (hard to calculate). When you add Iran into the equation then you get the Sheldon Adelson effect. When you add in all the ancillary interests the purchase of a nice puppet government in Venezuela is fairly straightforward to the PTB. After all it's worked for them before. The only problem so far is that they've been trying to do it on the cheap, because they're diehard racists and can't quite figure out what to to pay for a government that's not quite white.

Posted by: NOBTS | May 3 2019 19:44 utc | 15

@b - Why talk to so many people?

Another great piece on Venezuela, thank you.

It almost looks like they gave the job to Abrams and he went into it using old-fashioned tactics - thinking he could talk to so many people without it ever leaking out, not knowing we live in an age with texting, surveillance and instant communication.

Is it possible that the playbook is so old that not only are its moves predictable but also its materiel requirements no longer suffice for this age?

I would welcome opinions on this.


This whole episode served to smoke out the head of the national intelligence service. I don't know how important this agency is, but evidently it can field soldiers. And I speculate that the head of such an agency doesn't simply get turned by one approach but has already been turned, and perhaps long suspected by other parts of the security state watching him.

One wonders how many traitors were smoked out in this play. Why did the US players talk to so many people - all of whom tricked them? Was it because so many made it easy - attractive, even - to be talked to? Surely none of this happened in a vacuum, but within the quiet whispering on ongoing intelligence-network activities?

Was the whole thing a honey trap from the beginning, orchestrated by the Maduro side and Russian friends?

Posted by: Grieved | May 3 2019 19:44 utc | 16

Trump claims, in essence, that Putin threw Maduro under bus during their conversation, possibly in exchange for promises of a nuclear deal. I wonder if Putin wll 'prove' this wrong by sending more useless s-300 systems to Venezuela? After all, Putin really showed Israel, didn't he?

Posted by: paul | May 3 2019 19:47 utc | 17

I must say that with the cooler Russians there advising Maduro and company, that has gotten the Yankees very upset. From a previous time before this Random Man introduction, Russia was already a thorn in the side of the USA. From another site pasted,

..." The U.S. government was highly critical of Russia's apparent increased support for Maduro even before Guaido declared himself Interim President in January 2019. The month before, the Kremlin had sent a pair of Tu-160 strategic bombers and supporting personnel to Venezuela for a series of joint training exercises, drawing the ire of American officials."...

Reach by the Russians has the USA mad as hell from that point. This has been fun to watch from the peanut gallery. The Russians are pros at the long game.

Posted by: Taffyboy | May 3 2019 19:48 utc | 18

Whatever. Should soldiers of the empire set foot on Venezuelan soil, they will soon wish it were Vietnam.

Posted by: Pnyx | May 3 2019 19:52 utc | 19

There won't be a US intervention in Venezuela. It means skyrocketing gas prices and Trump's reelection is toast. It won't happen. It'll just be more feet stomping and pouting from Pomposity, Rubio and Bolton for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gillispie | May 3 2019 19:52 utc | 20

@17 "It almost looks like they gave the job to Abrams and he went into it using old-fashioned tactics - thinking he could talk to so many people without it ever leaking out, not knowing we live in an age with texting, surveillance and instant communication."

Not just that. Abrams is a relic. He doesn't realize that death squads have a negative connotation especially in Latin America.

Posted by: dh | May 3 2019 19:52 utc | 21

I think they should call him Guaido the Gormless after watching that dum-ass vid for Conde Nast. What must these gringos think of? I think they live on another planet, composed entirely of their own propaganda.

Posted by: Barovsky | May 3 2019 19:56 utc | 22

Paul @18
I just googled the phone call and I didn't see where Putin threw Maduro under the buss.

Also, Putin has stated some time ago that it is neither his nor Russia's job to save the world.

It appears that what he did say is that he wished to see the Venezuelan situation resolved peacefully.

Posted by: arby | May 3 2019 20:11 utc | 23

Trump contradicts his own advisers, says Putin 'not looking' to get involved in Venezuela

"He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Slovak prime minister.

Trump said the U.S. is hoping to get humanitarian aid to Venezuela, where citizens are grappling with a worsening crisis.

"I thought it was a very positive conversation I had with President Putin on Venezuela," he said.

The Hill

Posted by: Bemildred | May 3 2019 20:14 utc | 24

I would like to propose an alternative interpretation of events, though they really are not so different from what B has already said. I would start with the point raised by Grieved @17: "Is it possible that the playbook is so old that not only are its moves predictable but also its materiel requirements no longer suffice for this age?" I would argue that the imperial regime change playbook is so overused and has not been modified in years that the Venezuelan government was just waiting for the suitcases of cash and Miami estate deeds to be offered. It seems almost certain that all top officials in Venezuela had been briefed to expect offers from the CIA and told to pretend to accept those offers. In the case of Manuel Christopher Figuera, the director of the national intelligence service SEBIN, he may not have had a choice but to go along with the coup plan as his wife had basically been kidnapped. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, as now he is an opposition insider. My bet is that his firing was just optics and that he maintains communication with the Maduro government. My guess is that little effort will be made to arrest Figuera until after his wife has made an escape to safety, and then his arrest will just be optics like his firing.

The fact that everyone whom the CIA thought they had turned was just pretending except the one guy whose wife had been spirited out of the country; the one guy who had to act before the CIA and "opposition" fully committed to the coup, well, this suggests that literally everyone whom the CIA was dealing with in the Venezuelan government was in on the prank from the beginning. Consider this: Could the head of Venezuela's intelligence not have known everyone else was planning on punking the Empire of Chaos? Of course not! I would even say Figuera was likely one of the chief architects of the scheme, which is why he took the most dangerous role for himself.

Now the interesting question is how many of those suitcases of cash the CIA was tricked into delivered in advance.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2019 20:21 utc | 25

Now the interesting question is how many of those suitcases of cash the CIA was tricked into delivered in advance.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3, 2019 4:21:39 PM | 26

Per wishes of Pres. Trump, some American aid reached Venezuela. As it was one of the professed goals, shouldn't USA announce "half-full glass"?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 3 2019 20:29 utc | 26

Piotr Berman @27

"Mission accomplished! Now let's play some golf." --Trump

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2019 20:36 utc | 27

#4 "Cute Latin looks but not too macho."

Uh, to me Guaido sports the classic shit-eating grin.
The idea of this vain little cockerel as a leader of Venezuela is a joke that keeps on giving . . . laffs.

Posted by: Really? | May 3 2019 20:37 utc | 28

I wonder if the torturer in chief at the CIA, Gina 'Thumbscrews' Haspel, was in The Tank with those other war criminals Pompeo and Bolton

may the devil take them all

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 3 2019 20:54 utc | 29

As much as one might like to hope that the coup's failure puts an end to that particular strategy, there is useful context in a Global Research piece, to the effect that there was a failed coup against Allende in June 1973 that was actually used, and perhaps designed, to set the table for a more aggressive coup, with more open US involvement, in September.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | May 3 2019 20:57 utc | 30

Grieved @ 17:

I recall watching a documentary years ago on Gene Sharp's DIY-Revolution manual which among other things recommends that would-be putschists should persuade the military to come over to their side. So the White House has taken sections of the manual to heart and is trying to apply them literally.

From MoA's post, I get a sense that the White House was trying to carry out a coup on the cheap, by doing some of what the CIA would normally have done with field officers using local contacts, and outsourcing the rest to officials in the Venezuelan government (who would have been promised a lot of money, secure positions and free trips to the US if they cooperated). This attitude is not much different from the attitude of, say, Boeing executives who think that Boeing passenger jets can be modified on the cheap by banging heavier engines onto an outdated design model and then slapping on software patches.

I do not see from Jorge Martin's article that MoA linked to, that SEBIN fields its own soldiers and it is more likely that Manuel Figuera asked the army to send more soldiers to protect Leopoldo Lopez. The fact that soldiers sent to SEBIN headquarters reported having been told a lie and leaving SEBIN straight away when they learned of the real reason for being sent there, would suggest this is actually what Figuera did.

Jorge Martin himself appears to think that senior Venezuelan army officers and generals only act in their own self-interest and that the Maduro government seems quite clueless as to what was going on among its senior cabinet members. Martin perhaps underestimates the extent to which even senior army members are loyal to Bolivarianism, if not to the person of Nicolas Maduro himself.

If the US refuses to understand Bolivarianism and its appeal to the Venezuelan public, and instead puts its trust in people's lowest instincts, it will never succeed in putting either Guaido or Lopez into power.

Guaido will continue to be on the run until the US or some of his followers puts him out of his misery. If he has any brain or sense of shame, he will give himself up to Venezuelan authorities, admit to his crimes in a court and accept his punishment. Spending the rest of his life in a high-max security prison cell would give him more protection than he will have from the US or his followers now that he is no longer useful to his masters. Lopez should do the same.

Posted by: Jen | May 3 2019 21:10 utc | 31

the clowns in the white house showed their extreme foolishness, by, among many other things, closing that embassy in March 2019 - they think they can set up an effective coup d'etat in Venezuela by talking to many high ranking people on cell phones. hahahaa

but really the loyalty of the military and other officials to the Bolivarian revolution is the crux of the matter here. perhaps with enough economic pressure even that nut can be cracked, but as this goes on I suspect and hope that Maduro and the revolution find ways around the sanctions, and I also hope that russia sends more regular flights of aid and also specialists/advisors of all sorts. Why not?

If putin and Russia are serious about helping to stop all this coup d'etat and regime change bullshit by the US and its poodles, it will have to make another stand, of course of lesser proportions, as it did in Syria. a certain number of military advisors and also economic aid (also by the Chinese) might help quash further coup attempts. It's a long way form home for the russians, but a take over of the oil by a US puppet and a return to a full oligarchy in Venezuela, would be terrible for the whole world

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 3 2019 21:27 utc | 32

Treating the failed coup-let as a virtual death and performing a post mortem on the causes was a nifty idea, b. A lot of the bluster, drivel and self-deception you've hilighted in bold is so excruciatingly cretinous that the Yankees and their Fake News tools may never live it down.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3 2019 21:30 utc | 33

Grieved @17--

Thanks again for your tectonic plates metaphor! I commented on it on its thread.

As for why so many were "talked with," Maduro made it clear since the beginning of this farce that he desired to communicate with the "opposition," and had instructed his subordinates to do so too. So, it's quite likely numerous communications threads to a vast number of administration officials existed. When you read Maduro's many tweets, his consistent Mantra is the need for dialog, which coincidentally is Moscow & China's Mantra. IMO, the firing of the previous head of the SEBIN directorate and installation of the suspected Figuera was part of Venezuela's own PsyOp aimed at neutering the opposition and halting whatever momentum it retained. Furthermore, it's quite easy for Maduro's team to see how unrealistic the situation's appraisal was by TrumpCo just by reading/watching BigLie Media which broadcast it--and the well established history of Neocons believing their own false reality a la Rumsfeld/Rove.

Planning is not the same as preparing as plans for most everything exist as we've seen thanks to RAND and official Congressional "defense" posture reports. Comparisons are made with Vietnam, but those are woefully inadequate as Venezuela is completely different in many respects. Perhaps most importantly is zero presence of any US combat troops within a portion of the nation as was the case in Vietnam. Additionally, numerous members of what might be termed a 5th Column don't want a military invasion as they'd likely lose their material possessions and societal status. In their case, BigLie Media's helped immensely by showing the destruction meted out to other nations the Outlaw US Empire's invaded and its wholesale lack of concern for civilian casualties. Finally, internationally 150 nations support Maduro; and despite their desperate attempts to invoke the Anti-Communist Crusade--Venezuela's Socialist, it must be excised from the hemisphere!!--not even Spain will play ball as it won't allow Lopez to act from within its embassy. Add that to the widespread Anti-Gringoism within Latin America; and as I've written before, invading Venezuela risks the loss of every Rightist Latin American nation to popular uprisings--which is why the Lima Group treads so softly.

For the domestic Outlaw US Empire audience, the affair has helped expose who is & isn't a warmonger--Biden and Pelosi being the most important and pathetic. This adds to their opposition to numerous Pro-People policies being promoted which will hopefully induce political suicide. Sanders seems to have finessed his way out of the Anti-Maduro Camp although he still echoes some of TrumpCo's hype, saying "I will do everything I can to see that U.S. troops do not get involved in a civil war in Venezuela." TrumpCo now finds itself trapped in a blind alley surrounded by walls too tall to scale--to backdown/backout would be an admission of defeat: that they're Losers (the most loathsome of humans in Trump's view). To double-down and launch an invasion and war that it can't win which we see as worse--but will TrumpCo?

IMO, the smartest, most logical step for Trump to take is to fire the Three Amigos--Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams--lift all the sanctions, and admit he was led down the wrong path by those 3 and then turn his wrath to the real crisis of 2016, the "Worse than Watergate" spying done by the FBI and other agencies, which might provide Trump a chance to recoup his 2020 re-election.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 3 2019 21:33 utc | 34

Paul Damascene @31

There is a funny thing that I learned traveling around Latin America and teaching international students from Latin America at university and that is they are nowhere near as slow and dull-witted as USAians are programmed to believe by corporate mass media.

In this instance the slow and dull-witted ones are the Trump administration and the Harvard elite regime change specialists at the CIA.

What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile. I think it is safe to say that they are under no illusion that the Evil Empire has just changed its ways and will leave them alone. They know Uncle Slaughter will double down and attack again. They may pretend otherwise again in order to feed the arrogance of the US and lure them into another boneheaded failure, but that will just be a show.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2019 21:33 utc | 35

What about Hadi the President of Yemen?

Since Pompeo, Trump, and Rubio are sooo ginned up about how Maduro is a dictator and illegitimate because the last election was 'fraudulent' why do they constantly introduce Hadi as the 'legitimate President of Yemen'?
1. He was elected for one 2yr term as the ONLY candidate on the ballot, can you say worse than Maduro.

2. He illegally extended his 2yr term starting the Yemeni civil war and Pompeo splits hairs over where Maduro was sworn in.

My God, when is the ground going to open up and swallow up that liar Pompeo, how long will You let him disgrace our country and destroy children in poor countries?

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 3 2019 21:38 utc | 36

A complete fail and the reason is simple. For a coup to have traction at least a part of the population have to have legitimate grievances to fuel a change in government. Contrary to Kiev or Daraa, in Caracas only the petty bourgeois were half-heartedly mobilized. Watch for some media distraction soon.
No Pasaran.

Posted by: Lozion | May 3 2019 21:46 utc | 37

karlof1 "TrumpCo now finds itself trapped in a blind alley surrounded by walls too tall to scale--to backdown/backout would be an admission of defeat: that they're Losers (the most loathsome of humans in Trump's view). To double-down and launch an invasion and war that it can't win which we see as worse--but will TrumpCo?"

I have been thinking for the last few day that the question of US military attack or not mostly hinges on Trumps vanity - the need to save face as the man who gets things done. Trump set up a red line when he recognised Guaido as president, the same as Obama's red line in Syria. Perhaps Putin will again offer a way out.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 3 2019 21:49 utc | 38

Trump hails 'very positive' Venezuela talks with Putin

The lack of progress left nations backing Guaido facing "a very confusion situation," a diplomatic source told AFP on the sidelines of the meeting.

"The reality is that the military leadership resisted the attack and are united," he said.

"There are cracks, but not in the military leadership," said the source. "International pressure via economic sanctions is the way to weaken the Chavist regime."


Posted by: Bemildred | May 3 2019 21:56 utc | 39

Nice update. Events are proceeding as I expected- the US political leadership flailing as their fantasies collide with reality.

Interesting how NPR's Fresh Air ran an anti-John Bolton piece yesterday. That's an indication that the consensus is that Maduro must go but not by the direct and blunt military action like Bolton is pressing for.

So what are the options? If Russian intelligence is helping Maduro, the chances of a coup or assassination are slim. Regime overthrow via economic pressure is a long shot at best- its failed in North Korea, Iran, and Cuba- while China, Russia, and possibly India will help bankroll Maduro. And Maduro will not give up his Presidency if asked.

Things could change. But for now, all the liberal democracies who prematurely declared Random Guy the President of Venezuela will be tarnished over this, both at home and abroad.

*Another commentator here, unknown- please forgive, mentioned that this coup was perhaps intended to fail for longer-term objectives. Its a Trap!

Interesting notion, but I'm unsure the current jackets running Venezuelan foreign policy have the maturity or sophistication for such antics.

I'm going with Occam's Razor on this one- the US looks like its in disarray in Venezuela because its in disarray in Venezuela.

Posted by: OutOfThinAir | May 3 2019 22:03 utc | 40

the problem i see it is that even though this latest drama was a fail, the usa has a track record of continuing on.. just look at syria.. anyone who thinks the usa is going to do anything other then warmonger 24/7 is fooling themselves.. same deal the pleasantries expressed by trump, oh and we want to get some aid to them b.s. all 24/7 bs from the same purveyors of bs 24/7.. well, that's how i see it here..

Posted by: james | May 3 2019 22:07 utc | 41

When the Guardian's account converges with Moon of Alabama you know there is no way to legitimize this.

Best joke is the end of the Guardian's article:

Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA expert on Latin America now at American University said he was concerned that the generals could not hold out indefinitely against the calls for action.

Armstrong said: “These [Trump administration] guys are so desperate for a win – and with so much testosterone in their veins, I am really worried they are going to do something really stupid.”

The likelihood of high testoterone levels in this age group is low.

Posted by: somebody | May 3 2019 22:09 utc | 42

Just to put a historical point on this latest Venezuela coup attempt, these banking bullies have been doing this since at least the French revolution. Most people are unaware of the fact the Napoléon Bonaparte won the European war and had peace treaties with Austria and Russia. The war ended, but the British banking bullies bribed their way back to war with huge sums of money, like of a year’s GDP of the British empire amount of money to get the parties back to fighting. Leading to an eventual victory for the British.

This London style banking scheme does not work long term and therefore it needs new blood. In the recent past, Russia was about to supply most of this new blood. But the bullies got too greedy and Putin fixed the situation in a way that stopped the blood from flowing.

Our planet is small and the bank’s need is great. Venezuela could put new life into this evil banking scheme. I mean if they are spending huge sums mining tar and fracking oil at a loss, you can see Venezuela with the largest oil reserves on plant earth, yes larger than Saudi Arabia, that this would really help to keep this banking scheme going a bit longer.

With interest rates at about zero, debt load sky high, industrial production slowing, increasing corruption, more propaganda: the banking bullies are desperate. And everyone knows that reality, physical laws and mother nature tend to pop-up now and again. Well it is that time again.

So with this long history of successful plots to harvest vast wealth from the common people, it is hard to believe that this evil gang of bankers can not do a better job of this Venezuela thing. I mean it is really important. It is really so sad to see such evil people sink this low.

Posted by: Meshpal | May 3 2019 22:13 utc | 43

Maduro needs to man up. He needs to recognize that this is ideological battle, not just a battle for his personal survival.

Posted by: Jane | May 3 2019 22:22 utc | 44

Jane @45

Where do you come up with the idea that Maduro is about his personal survival?

IMO, Maduro is quite genuine in taking his position and job very seriously and in no way is this about him.

That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Posted by: arby | May 3 2019 22:31 utc | 45

@ 36 William Gruff
“What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile.”

They also know what happened when the “militares” took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on.

If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing’s for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 3 2019 22:35 utc | 46

@arby 46

I really do not know Maduro. I do not know how ideologically grounded he is. But I heard stories about corruption and connections with drug syndicates. I hope that is not true. Otherwise, his apparent weakness will be exploited to the hilt by his ideological enemies.

Posted by: Jane | May 3 2019 22:41 utc | 47

William Gruff @ 36, Lochearn @ 47:

I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development.

Posted by: Jen | May 3 2019 22:50 utc | 48

Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work...
in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer.

Posted by: virgile | May 3 2019 22:51 utc | 49

"You heard" lol. does not make anything "apparent", particularly the accusation that Maduro is all about his survival.

Can't help feeling that I am feeding a troll here.

Posted by: arby | May 3 2019 22:52 utc | 50


Many of us follow BRI related happenings quite closely and the 2nd BRI Forum just concluded in Beijing. Here's an outstanding recap of what occurred. Many, including myself, assumed that the Outlaw US Empire's extreme hostility to BRI meant a prohibition was placed on its nationally-based corporations. However, right at the top we read:

"The Silk Road Fund of China established co-investment platforms with the International Company for Water and Power Projects of Saudi Arabia, the Three Gorges Corporation and the International Finance Corporation of China and the General Electric of the United States."

As most know, GE is a major component in the Military Industrial Complex and has membership on the Deep State's Board.

The events outcome led to one of the best asides I've read in quite awhile:

"(Of course the West remains somewhat clueless and cannot really decode this language of civilized cooperation and I really wonder who has mastered The Art of the Deal)."

And within the Joint Communique issued, the Mantra of Xi and Putin is again expressed by ever more world leaders:

"[W]e reiterate that promoting peace, development and human rights, mutually-beneficial cooperation, and honoring the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law are our common responsibilities; achieving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth and improving people’s quality of life are our common goals; creating a prosperous and peaceful world with shared future is our common aspiration." [My Emphasis]

Will the Outlaw US Empire continue to fight the world or will it finally succumb to the reality that it must humbly submit to become just another one amongst many? Will Trump free himself from his Neocon "advisors" and admit that the BRI is the only deal that makes sense? Or will he be replaced in 2020 by someone who does as I'm sure by then that the Deep State will have also come to its senses as it cannot afford to be omitted.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 3 2019 22:54 utc | 51

SputnikNews, May 03, 2019:
In Brasilia it's time for doubting, worrying and reassessing -

Brazil's VP Breaks With Pres. Bolsonaro, Says Venezuela Coup Attempt Premature

Brasilia enthusiastically joined Washington in supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido's attempt to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro's government in January, but the country's vice president now fears the prospects of a civil war engulfing its northern neighbour.

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao has criticised the Venezuelan opposition's failed efforts this week to convince the country's military to break with President Nicolas Maduro and join its uprising, saying that the move may have been premature.

Speaking to reporters, Mourao said that he did not know "whether [Guaido] was afraid of being arrested or if some elements of the Armed Forces had promised some support," but "looking at it now, we think it was not the best [decision]."

In separate interview with Radio Gaucha, Mourao, a retired army general who has spent time in Venezuela as a military attaché, said that while cracks did appear to exist among the lower ranks in the Venezuelan military in terms of loyalty to Maduro, the commanders appeared unaffected, with Brasilia now left "in a position of expectation" regarding the situation in Venezuela.

We don't see light at the end of the tunnel for Venezuela," the vice president said, stressing that Brasilia was now worried that the ongoing crisis could turn into a civil war scenario. "From the outset, the government has been concerned that this conflict would degenerate into a civil war. This would be the worst possible outcome," he said.

Yes indeed, "The situation could turn into a civil war" and with Bolton chomping on his mouthstache.

Was Trump brought in on Russia's plan?

Posted by: Likklemore | May 3 2019 23:14 utc | 52

Jen @49--

Yes, most certainly wasn't lost on Chavez. The changes he made after 2002 to the military and other security-related areas of government are now serving Maduro well. If there was the sort of 5th Column anti-government feelings required of a coup, they would have manifested themselves when the armed demonstrations first began to beset Maduro in 2014, a year after Chavez's passing, which in essence is when the slow moving coup began. Condor and other operations were certainly used in educating higher level officers about the importance of loyalty to Constitutional methods and that one owes their allegiance to the Constitution not the individual just as it's supposed to be within the USA. Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 3 2019 23:26 utc | 53

james @ 42 said;"the problem i see it is that even though this latest drama was a fail, the usa has a track record of continuing on.. just look at syria.. anyone who thinks the usa is going to do anything other then warmonger 24/7 is fooling themselves.. same deal the pleasantries expressed by trump, oh and we want to get some aid to them b.s. all 24/7 bs from the same purveyors of bs 24/7.. well, that's how i see it here.."

Agreed james. The empire will have it's way, no matter the lives cost. Especially if its Venezuela's lives. The only mitigating cards are held by the Venezuelan people.

Here's a guy that had the globes answer to corporately held power in the 1700 hundreds.

Posted by: ben | May 3 2019 23:35 utc | 54

Likklemore @53--

The "civil war" meme is 100% CIA pasteurized crap. At the outset of this chapter in the ongoing CIA coup attempt in January polling showed 85% of Venezuelans opposed any form of outside intervention, with the hardcore opposition seen as being under 10%. For a true civil war, such opposition needs to be at least 40% to have any chance of success. Plus the military must want to overthrow the constitution they pledged to uphold as there's absolutely no question about the legitimacy of Maduro's government for that 85%. Unlike TrumpCo, ObamaInc, BushCo, and ClintonLtd and their very many--1,000s--unconstitutional acts, Maduro's consistently acted within the bounds of his Bolivarian Constitution whereas the opposition hasn't. For a military that does get political training about the importance of upholding constitutional norms, unlike the US military, a strong case with much evidence will be required for them to revolt. And IMO, they've also been schooled about the evils linked to corruption by money as there're so many examples to cite--Brazil and Colombia being prime.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 3 2019 23:48 utc | 55

>> the problem i see it is that even though this latest drama was a fail, the usa has a track record of continuing on.. just look at syria.. anyone who thinks the usa is going to do anything other then warmonger 24/7 is fooling themselves..

Agree it’s likely. These traitors will probably continue their and their oligarch benefactors’ enrichment until the standard of living in the US plummets so badly from continued currency depreciation, borne of deficit spending to fuel this global war of conquest, that the sheeple bleet in the streets that their “social security” payments no longer cover the cost of soylent green. We seem to be years away from this.

Posted by: oglalla | May 4 2019 0:00 utc | 56

CIA will kill Guaido and will blame Maduro for it. Guaido is a total idiot.

Posted by: Nick | May 4 2019 0:00 utc | 57

I think Spain may regret taking Lopez into their embassy. They say they don't want it to turn into a center for political activism but it looks like that's the way it's headed. No doubt Guiado has some support in Spain.....but so does Maduro.

"Venezuela's ambassador in Madrid told Radio Nacional de España that permitting López to urge Venezuelans to back the uprising is "inappropriate.""It's extraordinary for (López) to use the ambassador's residence as an operational base to abet a military uprising," said Ambassador Mario Isea, according to private Spanish news agency Europa Press."

Posted by: dh | May 4 2019 0:06 utc | 58

One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago.

Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck". Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido. First, the tales that the troubles were due to mismanagement and neglect look not so probable if you look at the timing of incidents: a wave of incidents at the time "convenient" for the "cause of Guaido" preceeded and followed by rather normal situation. Government surely spend effort to explain the incidents with transmission lines and transformer stations as vile sabotage, ruthlessly inflicting severe hardships on the entire population (including the middle class that should be the social base of Guaido).

Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia.

Who supported 12 hours of revolution? Videos showed a motorcycle gang, few hundred of energetic young men who blocked a highway bridge and a smallish crowd of housewives and other non-violent type -- I must stress that I wholly approve non-violent types, but in part because this is not a coup material. Why so little? (a) Guaido was never popular, he was in a most histrionic of several opposition parties, popular mobilization without support of the rest of the opposition was a flop. (b) The first two episodes of his "revolution" did not approve his support, to the contrary. (c) On the gangland front that could provide armed muscle and provoke bloody incidents Maidan style, the government probably did some preparatory homework.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 4 2019 0:22 utc | 59

@arby 51

I understand where you're coming from. Can you confirm that Maduro is not indeed tainted by corruption or that he has no ties whatsoever with drug syndicates?

The reason I'm bringing this out is that if you're up against a determined formidable enemy with lots of resources at its disposal such as the ability to impose crippling financial sanctions and a hefty propaganda machine, it would be fatal if key personalities in your own administration will have doubts about your own ability or fitness to lead.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 1:03 utc | 60


You say 'vain little cockerel' which I think is apt.

I think of the king in Madagascar myself.

I do not understand how the cockerel is allowed to walk freely. Spending some time in a Siberian jail cell would be appropriate. Just get his ass removed from the country for a start.

Posted by: imoverit | May 4 2019 1:18 utc | 61


Do not fall for the lies a 93-94% of the cocaine is coming from Columbia and another 2-4% via Columbian paramilitaries operating in 10 States of Venezuela.

Maduro is a very religious man as quoted in this video (time stamp 1:12:44)

Posted by: Krollchem | May 4 2019 1:45 utc | 62

Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s special envoy for Venezuela, told a Venezuelan television station Wednesday that “a majority of the high command were talking with the Supreme Court and Juan Guaido about a change in government with the departure of Maduro and with guarantees for the military.”

Incredible! And people are calling Venezuela a dictatorship? Where else in the world a foreign mastermind behind an ongoing coup operation would be able to give an interview to a national TV channel?

He said the negotiations had created a 15-point document that included a “dignified exit” for Maduro and recognition by the high court of Guaido as interim president with elections within a year. It had been widely assumed that Leopoldo Lopez, a former mayor of a wealthy district in Caracas, would be a leading candidate.

Wait, the elections were supposed to be held within 30 days of Guaidó swearing in as the interim president. Later that was changed to “within 30 days of interim president Guaidó actually assuming his position”. Now it’s “within a year”? What!? How!?

Posted by: S | May 4 2019 2:06 utc | 63

@61 Jane - "Can you confirm that Maduro is not indeed tainted by corruption..."

Can you share with us your sources for this notion please? I haven't come across it in all the extensive discussion we've had here about Maduro and his qualities.

Many thanks!

Posted by: Grieved | May 4 2019 2:11 utc | 64

@Krollchem 63

Thank you for the links.

Again I would like to state that I have very little knowledge about Maduro or about Venezuela for that matter. One thing for sure is that I don't want it to succumb to the assault of criminal neocon war freaks.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 2:14 utc | 65

Thanks to William Gruff, Jen and karlof1 - and others - for the additional facts and reasoning. I appreciate it. I hadn't quite grasped Figuera's position in this episode.

There are really quite a lot of aspects and ramifications of this situation, and I'm grateful for how well, and in how nuanced a way, they're being sifted and examined in this discussion, by all commenters.

Posted by: Grieved | May 4 2019 2:26 utc | 66

Putting Guaidó into jail would only make him a martyr.

There is logic in this opinion, and I understand it. But still, I think that letting an impostor do anything he wants is a big mistake of Maduro. He had to deal with an impostor a few months ago, when this all just started. Or at least when an impostor violated a court order and left the country (especially since Maduro loudly stated that an impostor would be arrested if he left the country - but in fact, it turned out that Maduro was weak and did nothing to the impostor who had violated the law).

Maduro is too delayed the situation. And now the arrest of an impostor will really look weird. Actually, I already wrote a couple of months ago, and still believe that Maduro is playing a very dangerous game, allowing the impostor to be free and do anything. In any other [normal] country, for the words that the impostor says (in fact, direct calls for a coup), and the actions that he undertakes, he would have been long since captured and isolated in a prison cell. Will this make him a "martyr", or not - it does not matter. Such is the law, and such are the logical actions in this kind of a situation.

Look, the arrest of Assange clearly makes him a martyr, especially given the 7 years in prison at the embassy. But who cares? If the arrest is needed, it is made, and nobody cares if it will make Assange a martyr or not.

So Maduro still does nothing. The game of "nobility" will not bring the leader of Venezuela to good. Impostor clown tried once. He failed. He tried a second time. He failed again. But at another time he might succeed. No one to blame, but Maduro himself.

And one more thing. I can only add that many Russian political analysts have a clear idea that one can, in fact, "cross out" the rule of Maduro. His power comes to an end, he is a “waste option”. Will he leave soon, or will he delay his end - it does not really matter. The question is not whether he will leave (read, will be "replaced"), but whether it will happen sooner or later.

Posted by: alaff | May 4 2019 2:30 utc | 67

The standoff at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. continues: US Secret Service keeping Guaido, Maduro loyalists apart (starts at 1:52). The reason I keep stubbornly posting about this is this is the only real civil disobedience protest happening right now in the U.S. against a U.S.-backed coup/intervention/war. These brave U.S. citizens are doing what hasn’t been done since… I don’t know, Vietnam war, perhaps? I think we should all commend these people and support them.

Posted by: S | May 4 2019 2:52 utc | 68

Padrino: "they tried to buy me as if I was a mercenary"

'Quiseram me comprar como se eu fosse um mercenário', diz ministro da defesa da Venezuela

Defense Minister Vladmir Padrino confirmed he received an official offer, in cash, from the USA to turn on Maduro.

"they tried to buy me as if I was a mercenary [...] It's revolting-and-disgusting (indignação) that they tried to buy me with such a reckless offer".

Posted by: vk | May 4 2019 3:29 utc | 69

S @69--

Consortium News has an outstanding interview/article with a representative of those guarding the embassy. The SS and police are no longer keeping the raving loons away from the Protectors.

Jane @61--

Extraordinary accusations require extraordinary evidence, but you provide nothing, and that's not how we do things at this bar. So, put-up or shut-up! Oh, and by the way, Maduro, like Chavez, is ready to invest his life and soul into the Bolivarian Project; and as his behavior shows, he has No Fear.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 4 2019 3:31 utc | 70

The following is on topic, I promise.

I have wondered why Trump suddenly lifted waivers on Iranian oil; the withdrawal of all that crude would force Iran's former customers to buy their oil from other places on short notice, bidding up the price. And this could raise the cost of gas in the U.S. and destroy any hopes for re-election that The Donald may have. So why risk it?

Maybe the coup attempt is why. Maybe Trump was so confident of success, of stealing Venezuela's crude, that he thought he could replace Iran's oil.

The failure of the coup leaves Trump with some distasteful choices: (a) find, beg, or steal some oil from elsewhere; (b) back down on the waiver terminations; or (c) face the voters' wrath.

I suspect that Trump is very unhappy with Bolton and Pompeo The Not So Great.

Posted by: Cyril | May 4 2019 3:45 utc | 71

@karlofi 72

Have you read my previous posts addressed to arby and Krollchem? I said I have very little knowledge about Maduro and Venezuela for that matter; that is why I was asking if it was true that Maduro is somehow corrupt and have had ties with drug syndicates as alleged in mainstream media like NYT and Washington Post.

I am not making claims or accusations, I am verifying from knowledgeable folks in this site how true the accusation is and you're coming at me like an arrogant asshole.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 4:09 utc | 73

Thank you to S for being stubborn and letting us know about these brave people defending the Venezuelan embassy in the US. I had no idea this was happening. Thanks to karlof1 for the update.

Things are starting to look dangerous there. From the Embassy Protection Collective's Facebook page, posted 2 hours ago, an open communication that they ask readers to pass along:

Please share this letter to the US State Department widely and call secret service at 202-406-8800 and 202-287-0001.:

Dear Sirs,

At this moment, the violent mob that you have allowed to continually commit acts of violence against persons and property at the Venezuelan embassy is actively working to smash in the doors while your officers give permission to the assault and explicitly refuse to intervene.

As you know, and your officers have witnessed, members of this mob have physically attacked and made death threats to the peace activists who are inside and around the embassy. This presence inside the embassy, as you also know, is lawful, as the peace activists were invited inside the embassy by those lawfully in charge of the premises.

There has been no action that has divested them of the right to be inside the embassy or lawful process that could authorize removal.

Instead you are authorizing a vigilante group to attack the peace activists inside.

You must take action immediately to cease this assault, and ensure that there is no violence against the persons inside. They are in grave danger from the mob you have facilitated and authorized to besiege the embassy.

You are responsible for any acts of violence that will be committed against these peace activists inside the embassy.


Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Esq. on behalf of the Embassy Protection Collective.
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

I don't know if the system will allow a Facebook link so I'll post it in a following comment.

Posted by: Grieved | May 4 2019 4:12 utc | 74

This is the Facebook link. One doesn't need to belong or be signed in to view it:

Posted by: Grieved | May 4 2019 4:13 utc | 75

Jane @ 48, 61:

If you want people to confirm that Nicolas Maduro is not hanging out with drug lords or syndicates, then you have to put out here at MoA the evidence that he is.

You say you have heard stories that Maduro is corrupt and has links to drug syndicates. Let's see the evidence. If you cannot put up this evidence but you merely repeat what you have seen or heard, then how can we accept your comments as credible?

Maduro is not the Venezuelan government. If he were to fall tomorrow, the Venezuelan government would still continue and Bolivarian socialism would still continue. The issue the US has with Venezuela is not about a personality, no matter how much US government and media propaganda try to condense a complex situation into a simplistic personality contest.

Posted by: Jen | May 4 2019 4:14 utc | 76

@ 55 ben.. thanks! and thanks for the jefferson quote which is bang on - like your posts typically..

@69 s... keep the updates coming.. i appreciate knowing about that and agree with you...

@jane... you are going to have to do better here for people to take you temporarily have everyone's attention and it is focused on the lack of substance to go with your innuendo on maduro...

Posted by: james | May 4 2019 4:20 utc | 77

A section from Patrick Armstrong's latest piece at his blog.
"For some reason, Americans personalise everything. In meetings with US intelligence agencies I was always fascinated how they would reduce every complicated reality to a single individual. But it isn’t Saddam, or Assad, or Qaddafi, or Osama, or Aidid, or Milosevic, or Maduro, or Castro or any of the other villains-of-the-day, it’s a whole country: these people got to the top for good reasons. Removing the boss makes some difference but never all the difference. They go but they never leave a Washington-friendly country behind and Washington does it all over again somewhere else. This peculiar blindness drives Putin Derangement Syndrome and has infected everybody else."

I was reminded of it when reading your post. I had thought this targeting of a leader was purely for propaganda purposes, but it appears this is what the dimwitted leadership of the exceptional nation actually believes.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 4 2019 4:28 utc | 78

@Jen 78

The accusation that Maduro is corrupt and have had ties with drug syndicates come from mainstream media like Washington Post and CNN. I do not know how true that is that is why I am asking the experts in this site who I assume would have real ground knowledge on Venezuela.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 4:28 utc | 79

The US Empire is well and truly dead if it cannot even manage a colour revolution in a Latin American banana republic.

Posted by: Jiri | May 4 2019 4:46 utc | 80

@ Jane with the undocumented negative assertions about Maduro

I would like to suggest that you read a book called Agnotology. It is a scientific term referring to the manufacturing of ignorance that was done for example with the connection of tobacco to cancer....are we sure we are sure we are sure we are sure...

Barflies at MoA are quite sensitive to the vacuous nature of your negative assertions and calling you on it.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 4 2019 4:53 utc | 81

Question for those educated on this: is there any sizable resistance to be expected from the left wing in Brazil, Columbia..etc in case of a US military operation backed by those currently right wing governed states? What would that resistance consist of in the possibility if the militaries of Brazil and Columbia invaded Venezuela in cooperation w US troops/mercenaries?

Posted by: Jason | May 4 2019 5:05 utc | 82

Jane, a good rule of thumb on corruption, especially if it is a country under attack from the US, is that corrupt people can be bought. Look at how many military and government officials the US has been able to buy so far in Venezuela. Very few. It points to very little corruption within the Venezuelan government and military. And these people that cannot be bought are sticking with Maduro.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 4 2019 5:14 utc | 83

The success rates of coup d'etat and similar endeavors is not as great as many here think. Even the archetypical banana war in Guatemala 1951 was a relatively long slog, after months of reversals and a stalemate the government finally succumbed as the head of the army and I forgot who else accepted bribes of 100,000 each (considerable amount 70 years ago). You must bear in mind that back then the government could have a hazy idea of what is happening few hundreds of kilometers away etc.

What makes the latest coup attempt special is an extremely public admission of top US officials that they attempted to overthrow the government by bribes with a little street show on a side. What are they thinking? Who will shed tears of compassion? "There, there, my little poor Bolton. Don't be so sad. See -- this is a video game, a simulator of directing an invasion on Venezuela, and this cartridge allows to play with Iran. But Johnny, remember to play only on level 1."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 4 2019 5:26 utc | 84

Yet more reasons why the US and the world needs the only sane candidate for POTUS 2020 - Tulsi Gabbard.

See the powerful video the DNC made the Gabbard campaign delete from their Twitter feed on basis of DNC loyalty clause to be in the primaries:

Posted by: PJB | May 4 2019 5:27 utc | 85

Folks, let me re-state/clarify where I'm coming from.

1. I do not want the Maduro gov't to succumb to the unrelenting aggression of criminal neocon war freaks who, if they succeed in their scheme, will then impose a cruel neoliberal regime in that country as they did in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, etc.

2. I fear that if there is somehow any grain of truth to the accusation from Maduro's enemies through their mouth pieces in the mainstream media that he is corrupt, has ties with drug syndicates, and is clinging to power only by bribing his military generals those are fatal weaknesses that will be exploited to the max by the hyenas surrounding him now.

3. I am amazed that my inquiry on the truthfulness of those accusations were met by silly retorts that I should first prove those accusations. Duh.

4. Nonetheless, I am grateful to Krollchem for providing useful links re my inquiry.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 5:50 utc | 86

Maybe of some interest:
Leaked: USA’s Feb 2018 Plan for Coup in Venezuela

Posted by: Blue | May 4 2019 6:54 utc | 87


There is a steep learning curve at MoA - but do not give up on your search for knowledge of the world today. You can go back in the archives to see the depth of the analysis by b and many of his barflies.

Most of the posters are seasoned world travellers with an extensive library of books and tens of thousands of articles saved on their computers.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 4 2019 7:33 utc | 88

On the question of why the putschists talked to so many people in the government: if we take it as a given that the top three alleged turncoats were solidly pro-government from start to finish, I think there are two particular aspects from the government side why the putschists should be induced to talk to as many people as possible:

1) by ensuring they talk to a majority of the top level people in the government, they maximise the risks of the coup failing and maximise the government knowledge of what is going on;

2) clearly there may be a few people in the administration susceptible to bribes - by getting them to talk to the putschists the government is exposing them and flushing them out.

Therefore I think that this is just another clever aspect of the snookering. Probably in the initial stages of the dialogue, the Defense Minister and Supreme Court Chief Justice deliberately and fully as part of the deception encouraged the putschists to consider making contact with 2 or 3 officials "who might I think be interested in cooperating" but actually trusted colleagues. Together they gradually persuade the putschists to talk to a couple more, a couple more, including trusted core, somewhat untrusted officials to be tested, and maybe also a larger band of somewhat trusted but not altogether sure. The most trusted core are in on the plot and have horizontal communications, while the others are on their own and have only vertical communications so they cannot see the overall picture. Al the while the intelligence services are monitoring all the communications and discussing the results with the core, to make sure everything is under their control. It is all one big and thorough counterintelligence operation, including Russian advisors. Excellent job done!

Another touch I like is that just after the failed coup "Elliott Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, told reporters Tuesday that the United States had expected Padrino, along with the head of the Maduro-appointed Supreme Court and the head of the national guard, to declare their support for the Venezuelan constitution, if not necessarily for Guaidó himself." - well of course the Defense Minister and Supreme Court Chief Justice have full support for the constitution - but in the strict legal sense of the real meaning, not the perverted misreading of it used by the putschists. I can imagine their quiet smile as the putschists ask them to declare support for the constitution and for Random Guy, and they say "well, yes, I can certainly make a statement of strong support for the Venezuelan Constitution"! They did that very effectively by switching off their mobile phones!

Posted by: BM | May 4 2019 7:51 utc | 89

There is a very persistent troll on this thread, which for some inexplicable reason many regular contributors seem to be taking seriously. As B says from time to time, "Don't feed the trolls". They get paid by the number of other commenters who refer to them. Trolls are not genuine persons with genuine beliefs and opinions, they are stooges paid to manipulate and obstruct the dialogue.

Posted by: BM | May 4 2019 8:05 utc | 90

It is worth watching this video at the Saker site in conjunction with the Zuesse piece,linked several times in these threads on the US game plan for Venezuela

"The U.S. wants to change the government in Venezuela and use Colombia to do that. The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Igor Kostyukov, stated that. He made that statement at the conference on international security. It was held last week in Moscow."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 4 2019 8:31 utc | 91

BM @ 93 So who is the persistent troll? Name names, unsubstantiated statements of this kind are useless: 'Commentator at Moon of Alabama told us on condition of anonymity', like US media.

Posted by: Quentin | May 4 2019 9:33 utc | 92

US game plan for Venezuela

US appears to understand it as a fixed schedule instead of an objective driven plan, they stage posterior phases before achieving success implementing previously set ones. The dwindling adherence of Venezuelans to their purpose while obsessing with advancing the plan reveals how pressured for time they are.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | May 4 2019 10:55 utc | 93

Peter AU 1 @ 79:

Personalising complicated issues or situations seems to be an ingrained aspect of American culture. It serves a great many functions, not the least of which is to avoid telling the truth about something. It is easier to sell the prospect of going to war or invading another country by telling the public "we must get rid of Dictator X" because Dictator X does this, that or the other, rather than admitting that war or invasion is necessary so as to seize the other country's resources or get rid of its government because it might serve as a role model for humane governance.

Also personalising issues fits right into the black-and-white binary view of the world that generations of Americans have had banged into their heads by religious fanatics of one stripe or another. It also is part and parcel of a shallow and infantile culture made so by its history of continual warfare (against the British, the Mexicans or Injuns) and dependence on slavery of one kind or another, belief in itself as perfect and an example to others, and its obsession with technology, technical fixes and violence to solve problems that should be solved by collective action.

Posted by: Jen | May 4 2019 11:15 utc | 94

The previous 4 articles have been about Venezuela. This is understandable in a way given the tendencies of b to give Trump the benefit of the doubt (and when there aren't any doubts he seemingly creates them ad hoc in his own mind), the commonplace social media misdirection meme of blaming the MSM, the need of commenters to over inflate the importance of relatively minour events like this fake GOP Venezuealan coup attempt into "world historical developments of the first rank, and of course viewing these two bit gangster moves by a mob-inspired administration in a false context as being reflective of the US as a whole nation, the dying evil empire pushing for war with Venzuela, Iran, Russia, China, etc. blah blah blah.

At the same time there are ghastly events occurring in reality which go unreported and this is not coincidental: the Attorney General of the United States defending/excusing/apologising criminality in the White House, will he face imprisonment for contempt of Congress or will the Demotards take the wuss road once again for fear of angering some unknown constituency of white nationalist mobs who will impede progressivism in 2020.

Or what about "the fake news" of "enlightened world saviour" China's incarceration and re-education of more than a million muslims inside its hallowed prison system?

Or yet another obvious example of the Trump regime coordinating its staged antics with the Putin Regime, in yet another "good cop/bad cop" globalist marionette dance performance for the delusional masses.

Global capitalism is rushing headlong towards a worldwide fascist takeover and alt media is consumed with a fake "new cold war" which amounts to nothing more than business competition between competing Military Industrial Complexes for arms sales among fascist US and fascist Russia.

The Vz story ran its course around Tuesday this week, coincidentally the day before Barr's clownishly deplorable performance art. One could even speculate that Trump's reality show presidency loudly promotes this fake Vz crisis all week to keep the "intelligent people who really should know better" focussed on nothing burgers rather than the constitutional crisis and the world gangster capitalist takeover under our effete, impotent noses.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 4 2019 11:19 utc | 95

Jane @89

Links to counterclaims are all fine and good, but learning to use your own logic and reason to evaluate claims is far more valuable.

Did the Washington Bezos Post or the CIA News Network (CNN) offer any proof or evidence that the Venezuelan government or Maduro himself were corrupt or trafficking in drugs? No, of course not. They simply asserted it with nothing but their reputations to support their claims. But what of their reputations? Have the Washington Bezos Post or the CIA News Network (CNN) or other corporate mass media based in the US ever made false assertions (what we normally refer to as lying) about governments and leaders that the US was trying to regime change? If this has happened before then we must be suspicious of their claims. Intellectual honesty would require that you maintain deep skepticism of their assertions unless real evidence is provided to support those assertions.

So what are the reputations of Washington Bezos Post or the CIA News Network (CNN) and their corporate peers? Their track records are perfect. 100%. Totally and absolutely uniform. In ever single instance in their entire existence they have reinforced and perpetuated false claims of corruption and evil-doing by targets of US regime change operations. The only counterexamples you will find in America's entire history, in which corporate mass media reveals that concerted and coordinated demonization of target individuals and governments by their peers to be false, will be from after they have successfully ginned up war against those targets.

Since we know that this is the established behavior of the corporate mass media it becomes your responsibility, assuming that your are an intellectually honest and emotionally mature adult, to recognize their efforts to demonize America's victims as preludes to attack and to suspend your belief of their assertions. Note that at no point here do you require counterclaims to neutralize the claims being made by the corporate mass media. Even if there are no counterclaims it remains the duty of any sentient adult to disregard unsubstantiated emotional appeals to violence from the corporate mass media.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 4 2019 11:43 utc | 96

"UPDATE (May 5)" ?

Posted by: Brendan | May 4 2019 11:57 utc | 97


Gee thanks, Krollchem. I can see it's quite difficult to get a straightforward answer for a straightforward question from all the condescending resident experts on this site whose trove of knowledge about most everything under the sun are undoubtedly impeccable.

1. Is Maduro corrupt? Yes. No. Maybe.

2. Does he have connections with drug syndicates? Yes. No. Maybe.

3. Does he bribe his military officials for their loyalty? Yes. No. Maybe.

Again, esteemed gents and ladies, those are not accusations, those are inquiries. Please know the difference. Thank you.

Posted by: Jane | May 4 2019 12:17 utc | 98


1. Are you a child rapist, Jane? Yes. No. Maybe.

Provide links to prove your claim.

See how that works?

Posted by: William Gruff | May 4 2019 12:27 utc | 99

The person is a troll who first started off with a completely different accusation about Maduro also without evidence.
Now it is trying to act the helpless innocent who just doesn't know but continues to insert unfounded accusations in every post

It is a liar.

Posted by: arby | May 4 2019 12:39 utc | 100

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