Venezuela, the Bolivarian republic, has turned into a tense issue in geopolitics.
Media reports said:
The positions of Russia and the U.S. have turned as irreconcilable. Russia is going to form group of states to oppose the U.S., the chief in the imperialist camp.
On Wednesday, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, telling the US secretary of state that Washington’s interference in Venezuela’s affairs was a destructive approach fraught with “the most serious consequences.”
Lavrov has urged the U.S. to refrain from returning to the imperious “Monroe Doctrine” in its relations with Venezuela.
Lavrov indicated that while the Russian and US positions on the crisis in Venezuela remain incompatible, dialogue must continue.
“We agreed to maintain contacts, including on Venezuela, but I don’t see a way to reconcile our positions — ours, on the one hand, which is based on the UN Charter and the principles and norms of international law, and that of the United States, on the other, in which Washington assigns the acting president of another country,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Thursday.
“Our positions are incompatible, but we are ready to talk,” Lavrov stressed.
Disrespect to the people of Latin America
According to the Russian foreign minister, during their conversation Wednesday, he told Pompeo that the return of the Monroe Doctrine approach to US foreign policy was a sign of disrespect to the people of Venezuela and Latin America as a whole.
Commenting on the possibility of a US military intervention in Venezuela, Lavrov said that Russia plans to create a bloc of countries to counter such plans. This group is already being formed at the UN, he indicated.
“I hope that it will receive serious support from the organization, because we’re talking about a very simple issue — one that’s hard to distort: the defense of the fundamental norms and principles of international law as they are defined in the UN Charter.”
This is not true
Lavrov noted that earlier claims by Pompeo about Maduro’s supposed plans to escape the country and Russia’s efforts to dissuade him from doing so were simply not true.
“If one were to review everything that officials in the US administration say about Venezuela, an endless series of questions would arise. And all of these questions, as a rule, have one and the same answer. Putting it diplomatically: this is not true,” Lavrov said.
Asked why Pompeo may have called him in the first place, Lavrov said that as he understood it, “he called so that he could later say publicly that he called me and urged Russia not to interfere. Well, he did so.”
At the same time, Lavrov indicated that Russia does not interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, calling Pompeo’s allegations to that effect “rather surreal.”
“I told him that based on our principled position, we never interfere in the affairs of others, and urge others to do the same,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov and Pompeo spoke by telephone on Wednesday, a day after Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido announced the beginning of the “final phase” in his bid to seize power in Venezuela.
Before the talks, Pompeo told US media that the US could still US military force against the country “if that’s what’s required.”
Lavrov has warned Pompeo that the continuation of the US’ “aggressive steps” toward Venezuela is fraught with “serious consequences.”
“Only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their destiny, for which dialogue between all political forces in the country is needed, and for which the government has long called for. Destructive pressure from outside, especially force, has nothing to do with the democratic process,” Lavrov said, according to a statement summarizing his remarks which was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
The telephone call was requested by the US, with other issues, including future Russian-US diplomatic contacts, and the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Earlier, Pompeo said that while the US would prefer to see a peaceful ‘transition’ in Venezuela, it would not take the military option off the table.
“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said.
Earlier, the Russian foreign ministry dismissed Pompeo’s claim that Moscow supposedly convinced President Nicolas Maduro not to flee his country for Cuba. Foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the claim a ‘fake’ that was just part of the US information war aimed against the Latin American country. Venezuelan officials similarly dismissed Pompeo’s claim as “fake news,” adding that they demonstrated the failure of the ‘US-backed coup attempt.’
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed White House sources, that US President Donald Trump is unlikely to launch any long-term military intervention in Venezuela, while US National Security Adviser John Bolton was allegedly urging him to do so.
Trump on Thursday called for an end to the conflict in Venezuela, calling it a “brutal repression” of the country’s nationals.
The president stressed that it “must end soon.”
He said that Washington will “be there to help and we are there to help.”
The US president’s statement follows a report in The Washington Post published earlier in the day alleging that it was unlikely Trump will start any long-term military intervention in Venezuela, while US National Security Adviser John Bolton was reportedly urging him to do so. At the same time, the newspaper’s sources said that Trump had given Bolton wide authority over matters pertaining to the Venezuelan crisis.
Earlier in the week, Bolton said that US military forces were “ready to go” into Venezuela at a moment’s notice.
A lot of things next week, says Trump
Trump’s remarks come a few days after Guaido, the imperialist-backed self-proclaimed “interim president of Venezuela” initiated a coup attempt to oust President Maduro. The putsch had failed.
Trump has told Fox Business that the next few days may see what he described as lots of developments pertaining to the current situation in Venezuela.
“It’s an incredible mess […]. The place is so bad and so dangerous […] so something is going to have to be done. A lot of things will be going on over the next week and sooner than that. We will see what happens,” Trump said.
He also pledged to continue to support Guaido, saying that “we are doing everything we can do, short of, you know, the ultimate” and that “there are people who would like to have us do the ultimate”.
When asked to elaborate, Trump noted that “some of them [options] I don’t even like to mention to you because they are pretty tough”.
The interview comes as Venezuelan President Maduro suggested earlier on Thursday that if the conflict in Venezuela had further escalated and turned violent, the US would use this massacre to launch a military intervention in Venezuela.
“They [the opposition] want to lead us to a civil war. I am asking — what would happen if we sent the tanks, armored vehicles and specials forces that we have? There would be a slaughter among Venezuelans and Washington would celebrate and order beginning of a military intervention in order to occupy the land of Bolivar,” Maduro told a Labour Day demonstration in Caracas.
Pompeo in an interview said top Venezuelan officials have not been as clear about abandoning President Maduro as Trump administration officials had alleged just 24 hours ago.
Bolton on Tuesday claimed that Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Presidential Guard Commander Rafael Hernandez Dala and Supreme Court Chief Judge Maikel Moreno had pledged to support the opposition’s attempted coup.
“They made that very clear to other members of the opposition. And today they haven’t indicated that as clearly,” Pompeo told NBC News on Wednesday.
Pompeo acknowledged that political conditions remained unclear in Venezuela and that Maduro retained the loyalty of key figures in the government despite the calls of US-backed Guaido for an uprising to topple him.
Whereabouts of Lopez
Lopez had escaped from his home early Tuesday morning, allegedly with the help of rogue officers from the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN). He then appeared alongside Guaido outside La Carlota Air Base in eastern Caracas, with the men claiming to have control over key units of the armed forces and calling for them to oust Maduro.
Later that day, SEBIN Director Christopher Figueroa was dismissed by President Maduro and replaced with his predecessor, Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez.
Treason and conspiracy
Likewise on Thursday, National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano was charged by Venezuela’s Supreme Court with “treason, conspiracy, incitement to insurrection,” among other charges. Zambrano was one of several opposition figures who joined Guaido and Lopez in the Altamira overpass on Tuesday morning.
Violence also broke out in other parts of the country, such as in Barquisimeto, Lara State, with opposition demonstrators torching a local government building charged with child protection services allegedly claiming that there were Chavistas inside.
Tulsi Gabbard, one of the Democratic candidate seeking nomination for presidential election, declared in a campaign video that the media only supports Trump when he talks about military actions towards other countries.
“Neocons/Neolibs and MSM all sing from the same song sheet: War war war!!! Trump never gets positive media unless he’s threatening war/carrying out military action. Today, Venezuela. Tomorrow, Iran? Cuba? Who will be next? No wonder North Korea won’t give up their nukes”, the caption under the video posted by Gabbard on her social media reads.
Gabbard promised to end “counterproductive wasteful regime change wars” and work to end what she called “The New Cold War” at the end of her statement, asking for support to redirect resources towards domestic policy needs.
Gabbard’s video comes on the same day as The Washington Post published an article saying that US National Security Adviser John Bolton was reportedly urging Trump to start a long-term military intervention in Venezuela.
Arrest warrant for Leopoldo Lopez
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez had not applied for asylum. Lopez took refuge in the Spanish embassy in Caracas after fleeing house arrest.
Court issues arrest warrant for Lopez
The statement specifies that the arrest warrant was issued given the fact that Lopez violated a 2017 court-imposed order to remain under house arrest.
In 2015, Lopez was sentenced to 14 years in prison for having a role in the 2014 violent protests, which claimed the lives of over 40 people. Since summer 2017, he was held under house arrest.
On Tuesday, Lopez escaped house arrest with the help of Guaido. After escaping from house arrest, Lopez with his family first took refuge in the Chilean embassy in Caracas. Later they moved on to the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas.
Two people died during protests that the Venezuelan opposition has been conducting since Tuesday, said local police sources.
A 27-year-old woman died from a gunshot wound in her head, which she received during unrest at the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas. Another person was killed in the Aragua state.
There has been no official information about these cases.
Maduro leads military exercise
President Maduro led military exercises involving some 4,000 soldiers at the south Caracas Fort Tiuna military base Thursday alongside Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino and other high ranking officers.