Venezuela: Resistance or disintegration?


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
US Will Attempt Coup In Venezuela If Economic Pressure Does Not Work

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday that the United States was preparing a coup in Venezuela. An expert on Latin American issues looks at whether there are grounds for such a coup and whether the US can really escalate the situation in Venezuela anytime soon.

Threatening cooperation

For the director general of the Latin American Center Hugo Chavez, Egor Lidovskoi, the news on coup plans is perfectly plausible after recent visits of Nicolas Maduro to Russia and Turkey.

The Russian expert stresses that in addition to signing the agreements that have been announced, such as Russian investment contracts, there may be other secret deals aimed at developing the multipolar world and abandoning the US dollar in the economy.

“This will certainly affect the United States, because the dollar and the economy are a ‘weapon’ that they use even more than military force to impose their will on other countries. A country having their own independent policy is extremely dangerous, as they may lose their hegemony,” Lidovskoi said.

Disguised opposition and economic pressure

The analyst points out that Washington has always had a very negative attitude toward Caracas, in particular after the coming to power of Hugo Chavez and the consequent nationalization of oil production in Venezuela.

Thus, US companies lost the possibility of profiting from the Venezuelan oil sector, which led the US to resort to colossal economic pressure on Caracas, just as they did with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In this context, he believes, it is perfectly possible for Washington to escalate the situation.

“In the American establishment, there is always a dispute between those who are in favor and against an invasion in Venezuela. If they see that they have exhausted the economic measures of pressure… then it is quite possible that the US will attempt a military intervention or a coup using radical groups, which have already been generously sponsored in Venezuela,” Lidovskoi said.

According to him, although in Venezuela there are opposition parties, the opposition that is shown by American propaganda are disguised armed groups that carry out various operations such as the drone attack against the president in August of this year.

Given the relations of Venezuela to countries such as Russia, China and Turkey, the expert concluded that Washington can be expected to try to do more in this direction.

Nicolás Maduro visited Moscow in early December, having met with President Vladimir Putin and his government.

According to Maduro’s statements, the two countries have signed a series of agreements in the areas of oil, telecommunications, defense, mining and trade.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Pompeo's Remarks About Russia Sending Tu-160 to Venezuela Unacceptable - Moscow

Earlier, the US Secretary of State called Russia and Venezuela "two corrupt governments" which were "squandering public funds" after Moscow sent two Tu-160 bombers, an An-124 heavy-lift transport and an Il-62 recon plane to Caracas in a show of support to the Latin American country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comments about the deployment of Russian aircraft to Venezuela were not in keeping with his role as the US's top diplomat, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"We understand, of course, that the Twitter format does not usually oblige anyone in the United States to anything; users are free to speak out as they please, and decide for themselves whether they wish to step outside the boundaries of elementary decency. However, in this case we are talking about a public figure, therefore such a clear disregard for the norms of diplomatic etiquette cannot just be considered as just a passing episode. What was said by the Secretary of State is unacceptable, not to mention completely unprofessional," the ministry statement said.

Earlier, Pompeo tweeted about Russia sending its bombers "halfway around the world to #Venezuela," calling on "the Russian and Venezuelan people" to see the action "for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Pompeo's claims "quite a serious accusation," and said it was "absolutely inappropriate." Regarding the funds spent to carry out the flight, Peskov quipped that with the size of the US military budget, Washington could feed the whole of Africa if it wanted to.

Caracas: US Reaction to Russian Planes Hypocritical

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called Pompeo's reaction to the Tu-160 flight "outrageous" and hypocritical, hitting back at the secretary on Twitter.

Russia sent the military aircraft to Venezuela on Monday for joint drills aimed at helping to train Venezuela to protect against aggression.

Relations between Washington and Caracas have been rocky for nearly two decades, with US-allied political forces attempting to stage a coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002. Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, has accused the US and its regional allies of plotting another coup, and alleged that Washington has instructed Colombia to organize his murder following a failed assassination attempt in August.

Tillerson 2.0? Pompeo’s ‘undiplomatic’ remarks might land him in hot water with Trump, Kremlin hints

Donald Trump might have his own assessment of Mike Pompeo’s “undiplomatic” remarks about Russia, Moscow has suggested, referring to the president’s recent Twitter rampage aimed at his last secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov went on the offensive after Pompeo accused Moscow of “squandering” public funds by sending two strategic bombers to Venezuela. Describing Pompeo’s comments as unbecoming of a diplomat, Peskov slyly pointed out that Trump has a habit of airing his own opinions of those who hold the reins at the State Department. “Perhaps such an assessment will follow in respect to Mr. Pompeo’s undiplomatic speech,” Peskov quipped.

Peskov was undoubtedly referring to Trump’s recent Twitter-lashing of former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who the president lambasted as “dumb as a rock.” While Trump praised Pompeo’s brains in the same tweet, consistency may not be Trump’s strong suit: The president had previously hailed Tillerson as “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”

Pompeo tweeted out on Tuesday that the arrival of two Russian Tu-160 bombers was an example of “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.” The remark was quickly countered by the Kremlin.

“As far as the ‘squandering’ is concerned, we don’t agree with that,” Peskov stated, noting that half of the bulky US military budget “would be enough to support all of Africa.”

For now, Pompeo’s job appears to be safe. After all, there are no reports – at least not yet – that the current secretary of state called Trump a "moron” behind his back.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
It wasn't until this meeting - that someone actually took the initiative to seriously help Venezuela ...

United Nations General Assembly in New York: Sept. 26, 2018
Sergey #Lavrov met w/Pres. of #Venezuela Nicolás #Maduro.
Since then, there have been these developments:

* 07.10.2018 - Russia sets up Weapons Maintenance Database in Venezuela
Russia Sets Up Weapons Maintenance Database in Venezuela

* October 29, 2018 - Russia sends Officials to Venezuela to Advise on Crisis Reforms
Russia sends officials to Venezuela to advise on crisis reforms | Reuters

* 11.26.2018 - UN approves $9 Million in Aid for crisis-stricken Venezuela
World News |

* December 4, 2018 - Russia's Putin, Venezuela's Maduro to discuss financial help for Caracas
Russia's Putin, Venezuela's Maduro to discuss financial help for Caracas | Reuters

* December 4, 2018 - UN seeks $738 Million to help Venezuela's neighbors handle migrant flood
U.N. seeks $738 million to help Venezuela's neighbors handle migrant flood | Reuters

* 06/12/2018 - Venezuela signs oil, gold investment deals with Russia - Maduro
Venezuela signs oil, gold investment deals with Russia - Maduro

* 10/12/2018 - Russia sends 2 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela
Russia sends 2 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela

Several rounds of U.S. Sanctions have not helped the Venezuelan economy. Add to it, President Maduro inherited many of the problems that Hugo Chavez left behind. One of the biggest problems has been corruption within the oil industry and in Banking. Maduro has been working towards cleaning up the corruption.

* 11.27.2018 - Venezuela Ex-treasure who took $1 Billion in bribes sentenced to 10 years
Venezuela ex-treasurer who took $1 billion in bribes sentenced to 10 years | Reuters

* October 31, 2018 - PDVSA ex-executive admits taking bribes in guilty plea in US Court
PDVSA ex-executive admits taking bribes in guilty plea in U.S. court | Reuters

Ortega admitted that he and his co-defendant laundered $12 million through a sophisticated false-investment scheme,” reads the statement, which describes a “billion-dollar international scheme to launder funds embezzled from PDVSA.”

I find the timing of former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson sudden public appearance - interesting - considering PDVSA ex-executive admitted to taking bribes. I suspect, Tillerson, a former Mobile/Exxon CEO and prior to him becoming Sec. of State - might have been involved with the PDVSA scandal? Tillerson was the one pushing Trump to exercise a Coup against Maduro.

* Back-dated November 30, 2017 - Venezuela arrests ex-oil bosses for graft in widening purge
Venezuela arrests ex-oil bosses for graft in widening purge | Reuters

“We’re talking about the dismantling of a cartel of organized crime that had taken over PDVSA,” Saab said as state television flashed a video of armed military intelligence agents knocking on doors and images of the two men being handcuffed and arrested.

Maduro has promised a vast anti-corruption purge to cleanse the oil industry of “mafias.” Some 65 executives have been detained so far, panicking PDVSA workers, depriving Venezuela’s oil industry of much of its top brass, and stalling decision-making in the company overseeing the world’s biggest crude reserves, insiders say.

They say authorities ridiculed and dismissed a report last year by the opposition-run Congress, which concluded that some $11 billion went missing at PDVSA over a decade when Del Pino and Martinez were both influential officials.

* Tue March 13, 2018 - Trump fires Tillerson, taps Pompeo as next secretary of state

US Will Attempt Coup In Venezuela If Economic Pressure Does Not Work

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday that the United States was preparing a coup in Venezuela. An expert on Latin American issues looks at whether there are grounds for such a coup and whether the US can really escalate the situation in Venezuela anytime soon.

Threatening cooperation

For the director general of the Latin American Center Hugo Chavez, Egor Lidovskoi, the news on coup plans is perfectly plausible after recent visits of Nicolas Maduro to Russia and Turkey.

The Russian expert stresses that in addition to signing the agreements that have been announced, such as Russian investment contracts, there may be other secret deals aimed at developing the multipolar world and abandoning the US dollar in the economy.
I would say, there is evidence to support Egor Lidovskoi's claim:

* 09.09.2018 - Venezuelan Foreign Minister Says Exposed US Plans to Support Coup
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Says Exposed US Plans to Support Coup

On Saturday Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza confirmed alleged plans by US agencies to support a coup against the Venezuelan leadership.

* 22.09.2018 - Expect US 'Actions' Against Venezuela in Coming Days - Pompeo
Expect US 'Actions' Against Venezuela in Coming Days - Pompeo

"You'll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people," Pompeo told the network. "We're determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say."

In August 2017, Trump issued his first round of sanctions against the country, calling it a "dictatorship." Then again, in May 2018, one day after Maduro again won the office of the presidency in a democratic election, the US imposed another round.

While Maduro has accused the US of engaging in economic warfare and sabotage, the US has at times taken a more active role in undermining the government. After an August 4 assassination attempt against Maduro involving a drone strapped with explosives, Caracas accused the US of backing the perpetrators.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Translated from Russian by Microsoft
Russian pilots #ВКС in Venezuela flew on strategic bombers #Ту160 over the waters of the Caribbean Sea. Almost ten hours of unprecedented flight in 40 seconds – directly from the cabin of the airplane – in our #видео #Венесуэла @EmbajadaRusaVe

Translated from Spanish by Microsoft
In the airfield of #Maiketia de #Venezuela, the crews of Russia and Venezuela carried out joint activities to prepare the aviation crews and the aeronautical machinery for the carrying out of flights @EmbajadaRusaVen

Dec. 12, 2018 3:20 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—Two Russian bombers that flew to Venezuela on Monday as a gesture of support for socialist President Nicolás Maduro will leave on Friday and return to Russia, the White House said, following a diplomatic spat over the visit.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement Wednesday the planned departure came after the Trump administration spoke with Russian officials.

The arrival of the Tu-160 bombers at an airport outside Caracas prompted a war of words between Washington and Moscow. The Trump administration has sought to isolate Mr. Maduro’s government and has issued sanctions against him and other members of his government.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a Twitter message this week that the flight was a case of “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denounced Mr. Pompeo’s comments as “unacceptable” and “unprofessional.” A spokesman for Russia’s Embassy in Washington said that Moscow has made no official statements on when the aircraft might depart.

The Pentagon recently made a similar message of its own to Russia when it carried out a rare flight mission over Ukraine under the international Open Skies Treaty to “reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine.”

Russia has flaunted its ability to conduct long-range bomber missions, including one in 2015 in which at least one Tu-160 bomber fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria, where Moscow is supporting another U.S. adversary, President Bashar al-Assad. But the 6,200-mile flight to Venezuela of the TU-160’s from an airfield near Saratov, Russia, was an unusual demonstration of Moscow’s ability to project power at a time of rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Syria, the 2016 U.S. elections, Ukraine and other matters.

The supersonic bombers, which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has code-named Blackjack, are capable of carrying nuclear as well as conventional weapons. Moscow hasn’t said if the bombers were armed, but most experts believe it is highly unlikely they carried nuclear weapons.

Flights of Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela, while uncommon, have occurred before. Russian Tu-160s flew to Venezuela in 2013 and in 2008, when the U.S. and Russia were at odds over Russia’s war with Georgia.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced the current mission on Monday, saying that the strategic bombers also were accompanied by an An-124 military transport plane and an IL-62 passenger aircraft, which carried support staff and Russian officials.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a recent meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart that Moscow would continue its military cooperation with the Maduro government.
Maduro says meeting with Putin most useful in his career
December 13, 1:34 UTC+3
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with the Russian leader during his visit to Moscow last week
MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described his last week's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the most useful session in his whole political career.

"This was the most useful meeting in my career. We strengthened the process of cooperation between Russia and Venezuela in the sphere of military-technical cooperation," Maduro told a press conference.

Last Friday Maduro finished his visit to Moscow. As a result, the sides signed agreements on cooperation in the oil extraction and mining industries, servicing Venezeulan weapons systems and delivering wheat to the South American country. According to the Venezuelan president, bilateral projects are worth over $6 billion of investment.

Russia and Venezuela are implementing joint investment projects in energy, agriculture, geological exploration, pharmaceuticals, as well as in the spheres of information technologies, nuclear medicine, military-technical cooperation and others.

Press review: Russia to set up Caribbean base and meet Israeli brass to discuss Iran
December 12, 13:00 UTC+3
Media: Russia to set up military base in the Caribbean
Moscow is gearing up to establish a long-term military presence in Latin America and the current mission of the Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela is part of this plan, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

According to military envoys, Russian authorities have made a decision (and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not object) to deploy strategic aircraft to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea, which has a naval base and a military airfield. Ten years ago, Russian experts and Armed Forces commanders had already visited the island of La Orchila, located 200 kilometers northeast of Caracas. Venezuelan laws prohibit the setup of military bases in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible.

"It is the right idea to include Venezuela in long-range aviation missions," military expert Colonel Shamil Gareyev told the newspaper, adding that it was also economically reasonable. "Our strategic bombers will not only not have to return to Russia every time, but also won't perform aerial refueling while on a patrol mission in the Americas. Our Tu-160 aircraft arrive to their base in Venezuela, conduct flights, execute their missions and are then replaced on a rotating basis. This is how it should be done," he said.

Tu-160 strategic bomber © Marina Lystseva/TASS
Venezuela: Recent developments and opinions concerning the possibility of an open military ‘intervention’ by the United States & Co
01.10.2018 Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront
A recent article by Rubén Castillo for Misión Verdad (republished by Resumen Latinoaméricano) provides a succinct analysis of the most likely attack options and the Bolivarian Republic’s defence capabilities in the respective scenarios (without ruling out the concurrent implementation of all three – an all-out ‘shock and awe’ aerial attack, immediately followed by medium to large-scale frontier invasions primarily from Colombia and perhaps Brazil, accompanied by ‘low intensity’ but extremely destructive terrorist attacks and sabotage from all directions, internal and external). Indeed the latter scenario, low intensity terror attacks and sabotage, has already been underway for some time, as envisaged in the confidential ‘Masterstroke’ strategy document prepared by SouthCom that was subsequently revealed in the international press (discussed previously by the same author; Daniel Edgar, 2018).

While the new Colombian president Iván Duque affirmed unequivocally during the election campaign that he was not in favour of Colombia participating in a military attack against Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana did not support a recent declaration by the ‘Lima Group’ categorically rejecting military intervention and Duque is taking every opportunity to antagonize and demonize the Venezuelan government and demonstrate his absolute loyalty to his masters in Washington and Miami.

Moreover, in a recent budget statement he announced a projected increase to the military budget of over 50% (matched by a similar level of cutbacks to funding for education and implementation of the now all but defunct peace process with the FARC), largely to fund the acquisition of an air-defence system which in current circumstances could only be used against a possible (counter-)attack from Venezuela (it is unthinkable that such a system would be used to defend the country against an attack by the United States, which already has a very substantial military and intelligence presence in Colombia). The increase is on top of already record levels of military spending; while the FARC-EP disarmed completely following the signing of the Peace Accord, the Colombian State has not relinquished one piece of military equipment or ended compulsory military service. To the contrary, it continued to increase military spending.

This reveals a considerable dilemma for the would-be aggressors: while Colombia has one of the highest levels of military spending and possesses one of the most formidable military apparatuses on the continent, it has been designed and operated with the exclusive objective of fighting against the Colombian people in order to defend and preserve the extravagant luxuries and privileges of the political and economic elite and ‘foreign investors’ rather than defending the country and the people in an external conflict with a well-armed opponent (much less conducting a large-scale offensive military campaign outside the country).


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
December 12, 2018 - Russia tells US their bombers to leave Venezuela Friday: White House
Russia tells U.S. their bombers to leave Venezuela Friday: White House | Reuters

Russia has told the United States that two of their strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons will leave Venezuela on Friday, the White House said on Wednesday, ending a deployment that angered Washington.

“We have spoken with representatives of Russia and have been informed that their military aircraft, which landed in Venezuela, will be leaving on Friday and going back to Russia,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email sent to Reuters.

December 12, 2018 - Ex-Venezuela Oil Minister Martinez dies in State Custody
Ex-Venezuela oil minister Martinez dies in state custody | Reuters

Former Venezuela oil minister Nelson Martinez, who was arrested in 2017 as part of a sweeping graft probe at state oil company PDVSA, has died in state custody, the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Oil Minister Nelson Martinez talks to journalists before the beginning of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

Martinez, a chemist who also ran PDVSA and its U.S. subsidiary Citgo Petroleum, had been transferred to a military hospital from prison because of kidney problems, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier. He had a heart attack while receiving dialysis, they said.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said Martinez had a “serious chronic disease” that led to his death and offered condolences to his family.

Martinez was jailed after the country’s top prosecutor said he allowed a poor refinancing deal for Citgo to go ahead without government approval. He was arrested alongside Eulogio del Pino, another former oil minister and PDVSA president, who remains jailed.

Martinez’s death will likely fuel debate over the conditions of imprisoned former politicians and government officials, who in recent years have increasingly included former top leaders whom President Nicolas Maduro has accused of wrongdoing.

The death two months ago of a municipal legislator, Fernando Alban, sparked a nationwide scandal, with the government saying he committed suicide and opposition leaders insisting he was murdered in prison.

“The death of Nelson Martinez is the responsibility of Nicolas Maduro, who...held him hostage for a year knowing he was ill,” Rafael Ramirez, a fugitive oil minister and PDVSA president under late President Hugo Chavez who is wanted on corruption charges, wrote on Twitter.

The prosecutor’s office said Martinez was given adequate care.

“Until the last moment, the citizen in question received treatment and the required medical attention,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement.

The opposition to Maduro’s socialist government, which has overseen a collapse of the OPEC nation’s economy, dismisses the probe as an internal power struggle within Maduro’s inner circle, noting that the industry has been under tight control of the ruling Socialist Party since early in Chavez’s 14-year rule.

Martinez had yet to appear before a judge at the time of his death, and the date for his preliminary hearing was pushed back several times, two of the people said. His lawyers began asking authorities months ago for Martinez to be granted house arrest, citing his ill health, one of the people said.

Martinez started having health problems while leading Citgo, based in Houston. Maduro named him oil minister in January 2017, and he assumed the dual role of PDVSA president later that year, replacing del Pino.

He had joined PDVSA in 1980 and oversaw the company’s offices in London, Argentina and Ecuador before being tapped to lead Citgo.


Jedi Master
Venezuela crisis: the view from Caracas farmers' market - BBC News [2018]
Venezuela's economy has been in recession since 2014 - it's economy has shrunk by a third since then and the IMF thinks things could get worse next year with an estimated drop of 18% more.

As the G20 nations meet in Buenos Aires, Venezuela is a worry nearby the summit for many of those attending including the host president Mauricio Macri.

It's rare for international correspondents to be granted access to report from Venezuela, but the BBC's Vladimir Hernandez managed to send this report from Caracas.
Why Colombia has taken in 1 million Venezuelans [Vox 2018]
Colombia is currently dealing with a massive wave of refugees coming from Venezuela. Venezuelans are fleeing their home because of a severe economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro. There are high inflation rates and there isn’t enough food available for people within Venezuela to even eat. Thousands of Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar bridge located at Cúcuta every day and Colombia doesn’t seem to be turning anyone way.

This borders episode looks at why Colombia doesn’t turn away these refugees, the shared history of the two nations and how there may be a limit to Colombia’s acceptance of incoming Venezuelans.

Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I find the timing of former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson sudden public appearance - interesting - considering PDVSA ex-executive admitted to taking bribes. I suspect, Tillerson, a former Mobile/Exxon CEO and prior to him becoming Sec. of State - might have been involved with the PDVSA scandal? Tillerson was the one pushing Trump to exercise a Coup against Maduro.
December 23, 2018 - Venezuela Navy intercepts Exxon Oil Ship in Guyanese waters: Guyana
Venezuela navy intercepts Exxon oil ship in Guyanese waters: Guyana | Reuters

GEORGETOWN/CARACAS - Venezuela’s navy on Saturday “intercepted” a ship exploring for oil on behalf of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) in Guyanese waters, neighboring Guyana’s foreign ministry said in a statement, in the latest incident in a century-old border dispute.

A series of offshore oil discoveries in recent years have given Guyana the potential to become one of Latin America’s largest producers. In OPEC member Venezuela, by contrast, crude output has tumbled to its lowest levels in nearly 70 years amid an economic crisis.

The Ramform Tethys vessel, which belongs to Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and was conducting seismic survey work on behalf of Exxon, stopped exploration and turned east after being approached by the Venezuelan navy, PGS spokesman Bard Stenberg said in a statement.

“Guyana rejects this illegal, aggressive and hostile act,” Guyana’s foreign ministry said in a late Saturday statement, adding that the move “demonstrates the real threat to Guyana’s economic development by its western neighbor” and “violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.”

The ministry added that it would report the incident to the United Nations and send formal communication to Venezuela’s government. It said it would inform the governments of the various homelands of the 70 crew members aboard the vessel, flagged by the Bahamas, of the “threat to their safety.”

An Exxon spokeswoman said seismic explorations in the western portion of Guyana’s Stabroek Block “have been paused until they can be safely continued,” and that the vessel was operating in Guyana’s exclusive economic zone.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro has previously criticized Guyana’s decision to allow oil exploration to go ahead in the waters off the shore of the Essequibo region, a sparsely populated and dense jungle area equivalent to around two-thirds of Guyanese territory that Venezuela also claims.

Guyana says Caracas agreed to relinquish the area after a ruling by an international tribunal in 1899, but Venezuela later backtracked on that decision. The United Nations earlier this year referred the dispute to the International Court of Justice, a move welcomed by Georgetown but criticized by Caracas.

The dispute has heated up in recent years as Exxon has announced the discovery of more than 4 billion barrels of oil off the shore of Guyana, an English-speaking nation of 750,000 with no history of oil production.

The latest incident comes less than a day after Guyana’s parliament toppled the current government in a no-confidence vote, paving the way for elections in three months.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member said:
The National Assembly in contempt declares the "usurpation" of the Presidency of Venezuela

he agreement was made this Tuesday during a session of Parliament, whose acts have been declared null and void by the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice.

The Venezuelan National Assembly (AN), which is in contempt, on Tuesday approved an agreement on the "usurpation of the presidency" by President Nicolas Maduro, who was recently sworn in by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) for the period 2019-2025 and ratified by the plenipotentiary National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

The president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, who in recent days assumed the "charge of the presidency", a figure that according to legal experts is not contemplated in the Venezuelan Constitution, reported on the decision through his Twitter account. National Assembly, which has been in contempt since 2016, and whose acts are null and void, according to several judgments of the Venezuelan highest court, bases its agreement, described as "historic" by Guaidó, on Articles 233, 333 and 350 of the Magna Carta of the South American country.
Translated with


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A possible Coup? Venezuela has captured a group of military officers who stole weapons and kidnapped four officials, hours after a social media video showed a sergeant demanding the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.

January 21, 2019 - Venezuela captures rogue officers after uprising at Military outpost
Venezuela captures rogue officers after uprising at military outpost | Reuters

Venezuelan National Guards fire tear gas during clashes with demonstrators during a protest close to one of their outposts in Caracas, Venezuela January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins


The Living Force
FOTCM Member said:
Pence Urges Venezuelans To Rise Up Against "Dictator" Maduro After Failed Military Revolt

It appears the White House is ready to stoke the flames of anti-Maduro unrest following Monday's dramatic failed military revolt launched by 27 low-ranking officers and their subsequent arrests in the Cotiza neighborhood of Caracas, which sparked overnight protests and sporadic clashes with police after opposition leader Juan Guaido made a broad appeal to the military in a speech, urging them to demand Maduro step down. Guaido and other opposition leaders in the National Assembly have declared Wednesday a nation-wide protest day seeking to topple the regime itself a historic date commemorating the end of Venezuela's military dictatorship in 1958.

On Tuesday US Vice President Mike Pence urged the Venezuelan people to "make your voices heard" in follow-up to Guaido's risky appeal, which appears a continuation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comments throwing the United States' full weight behind Venezuela's opposition seeking to depose President Nicolás Maduro, which he made over a week ago while in the Middle East after Maduro was sworn in to a widely contested six-year second term.

VP Pence's words were issued in a video posted to social media wherein he asserted, “Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to to power." The video begins with Pence greeting in Spanish “Hola, I’m Mike Pence” but ending with a somewhat grimmer tone: “Vayan con Dios!” or “Go with God.”

Pence also praised Guaido, head of the opposition held National Assembly who previously called himself Venezuela's "legitimate" power, as the "courageous" leader of “the last vestige of democracy in your country,” referencing the legislative body. This week the government-stacked Supreme Court declared it would throw out recent measures by the National Assembly that declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate.

Pence said in the video he was delivering the message on behalf of Trump and the American people. Referencing the planned Wednesday protests, the vice president said:

As you make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say to all the good people of Venezuela, ‘Estamos con ustedes,’ we are with you.”

The country remains on edge Tuesday as following the mutiny and subsequent successful government crackdown, which further involved the rebellious unit briefly kidnapping several officials stealing weaponry at a police outpost a mere kilometers from the presidential palace, pockets of anti-Maduro protests were sparked in the capital city demanding the release of the detained soldiers, whose actions the government condemned as "treasonous" and "motivated by the dark interests of the extreme right," according to a statement announced on state TV. Maduro's right-hand man, Diosdado Cabello, also boasted on Twitter while speaking of the rebels: "They were neutralized, surrendered and captured in record time."

Pence's video remarks calling Maduro a "dictator" and essentially calling for a coup comes after months of both the Trump administration and US Congressional leaders becoming increasingly unrestrained in publicly calling for outright regime change. After Monday's coup attempt Florida Senator Marco Rubio went so far as to encourage more such military defections.

Meanwhile Venezuelan Foreign Minister Arreaza just days ago told Democracy Now that "Nothing that the opposition does is without the permission or authorization of the State Department... They say, 'We have to make consultations with the embassy. We have to make consultations with the Dept of State.'"

Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter


The Living Force
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Quote from: Mabar
Pence Urges Venezuelans To Rise Up Against "Dictator" Maduro After Failed Military Revolt said:
Pence Urges Venezuelans To Rise Up Against "Dictator" Maduro After Failed Military Revolt
VP Pence isn't the brightest light bulb in the pack but he is spotlighting himself, not only as opposition to Maduro but as a possible accessary to the opposition party "Popular Will" and "to the Coup"? I haven't come across any comments by Trump on Pence's position yet? Maybe, Trump is too distracted from the Shut-down and a possible "Coup" scenario on his end?

Venezuela’s government said on Tuesday that a group of military officers who stole weapons as part of a failed revolt on Monday had delivered the arms to opposition party Popular Will, which the party dismissed as “lies” and an attempt to divert blame.
January 22, 2019 - Venezuela Government says opposition linked to Military revolt; party denies charge
Venezuela government says opposition linked to military revolt; party denies charge | Reuters
Demonstrators stand behind a burning barricade during a protest close to a National Guard outpost in Caracas, Venezuela January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Some two dozen officers attacked a National Guard outpost in the Caracas neighborhood of Cotiza, a km (0.6 mile) from the presidential Miraflores palace, leading to opposition demonstrations in nearby parts of Caracas.

Popular Will called the allegation the “same lies and manipulation” and said the party’s struggle to re-establish constitutional order was peaceful. In a statement on Twitter, Popular Will accused Rodriguez of trying to mask discontent within the military by accusing the party of stealing the arms.

Government officials often describe Popular Will as a terrorist organization, which the party dismisses as an intimidation tactic.

Rodriguez said the officers involved stole 51 rifles but that authorities had only recovered 40. The officers were arrested after the incident.

Congress has called on citizens to take to the streets to protest against President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, the 61st anniversary of the collapse of a military dictatorship.

The marches are held every year, but the opposition is unusually energized following Maduro’s Jan. 10 inauguration to a disputed second term that governments around the world have decried as illegitimate.

Popular Will lawmaker and congress chief Juan Guaido, who was briefly detained by intelligence agents this month, has received international support amid growing criticism of Maduro. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence released a video on Tuesday in which he expressed support for Venezuela’s opposition and Guaido.

January 22, 2019 - "Hola, I'm Mike Pence': US VP delivers message of support to Venezuelans
'Hola, I'm Mike Pence': U.S. VP delivers message of support to Venezuelans | Reuters

A spate of protests in Caracas on Monday, sparked by a brief military uprising, have spread hope that a new leader of the congress, Juan Guaido, could unify the opposition and dislodge Maduro, who this month began a second term under a barrage of criticism that his election was illegitimate.
January 23, 2019 - Venezuela's opposition takes to streets to seize momentum against Maduro
Venezuela's opposition takes to streets to seize momentum against Maduro | Reuters
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with supporters in Caracas, Venezuela January 22, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Guaido has said he would be willing to replace Maduro as interim president, with the support of the military, to call free elections. The opposition-controlled congress, considered by many abroad as Venezuela’s last remaining bastion of democracy, has declared Maduro a “usurper” and the United States has thrown its backing behind Guaido.

Guaido, 35, has called for the military to disavow Maduro and has promised a future amnesty for those that help bring about a return to democracy.

Addressing members of the military on Monday, Guaido said: “We’re not asking you to launch a coup d’etat, we’re not asking you to shoot. We’re asking you not to shoot at us.”


Padawan Learner
hmm some developments today.

Venezuela: US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaims himself interim President
source: Venezuela: US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaims himself interim President

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has taken an oath and sworn himself in as interim president, as droves of protesters take to the streets calling for President Nicolas Maduro’s exit.
followed a short time after by
Trump recognizes US-backed head of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido as country’s interim president
source: Trump recognizes US-backed head of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido as country’s interim president

US President Donald Trump has recognized Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in a provocative move against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
"Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela," Trump said in statement.
He added he would use "the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy" and encouraged other governments in the Western Hemisphere to also recognize Guaido.
US-backed Guaido, who is currently the President of the National Assembly, swore an oath and declared himself interim president on Monday as thousands took to the streets calling for Maduro to leave office.
Of course ... that is not considered as meddling in another country's internal affair...
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