An AP report headlined “Trump administration to triple democracy aid to Venezuela” said:

“The Trump administration is more than tripling U.S. support for pro-democracy work in Venezuela and for the first time directly funding opposition leader Juan Guaidó as he attempts to set up a government to rival the socialist administration of Nicolás Maduro.

“The $52 million in new aid was announced Tuesday by Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, following a meeting in New York with Guaidó’s envoy Carlos Vecchio, whom the Trump administration recognizes as Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington.”

The September 25, New York datelined report said:

“The funding was mostly repurposed from aid originally earmarked for Honduras and Guatemala that President Donald Trump cut last year after accusing the Central American countries of failing to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S.

“The funding boost shows the level of U.S. support for Guaidó, who has drawn recognition as Venezuela’s rightful leader by more than 50 nations. But he has been unable to translate the international support and popularity at home into real power capable of helping regular Venezuelans suffering from hyperinflation and an economic collapse akin to the destruction wrought by war.

“A senior Trump administration official said the new U.S. aid package seeks to address that deficit, providing about $19 million to pay for secure communication devices, travel stipends and training in budget planning and other tools to effectively govern should they manage to force Maduro from power.

“The U.S. official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to publicly discuss details of the aid package.”

The report said:

“Guaidó’s team said in a statement that it would not administer the money directly or give it to any institution or political party. It said it hoped to work with the U.S. in the coming days to decide how the funds would be spent and leave it to the American authorities to distribute the funds and audit their use.

“The decision aimed at boosting transparency comes after a string of accusations earlier this year that Venezuelan opposition groups mismanaged humanitarian aid for migrants in Colombia.

“The Trump administration had budgeted $9 million during the 2017 fiscal year and $15 million in 2018 to promote free press, the monitoring of human rights abuses and anti-corruption initiatives — work by civil society groups that will be greatly expanded by the additional funding.”

Trump, speaking at the UN on Tuesday, delivered a sharp warning to Venezuela, declaring that he awaited the day “when Venezuela will be free and when liberty will prevail throughout this hemisphere.” He also called socialism “the wrecker of nations” and “destroyer of societies.”

President Donald Trump speaks to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. He said Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is just a “Cuban puppet” and the U.S. stands ready to help the people.

The U.S. announcement for aid increase came just a day after the United States and more than a dozen Latin American countries agreed to investigate and arrest associates and senior officials of Maduro’s government who are suspected of crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering and financing terrorism.

Venezuela’s opposition is relying heavily on the international community to force Maduro from power.

Punish Maduro

In addition to the Trump administration funds for pro-democracy work, the U.S. Treasury Department also moved to block any U.S. assets controlled by four transport companies that it says keep delivering Venezuela oil to Cuba, another act aimed at punishing those who support Maduro’s government.

UK’s fund

The UK also announced funding for Venezuelans in countries.

But it said it would not reveal which groups are receiving the funds for security reasons.

“The people of Venezuela are needlessly suffering as a direct result of Maduro’s refusal to accept the scale of his country’s worsening humanitarian crisis,” said Alok Shark, UK international development secretary.

Lilian admits her NGO works with paramilitaries

Lilian Tintori, wife of U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, admitted publicly Tuesday during the 2019 Concordia Americas Summit in New York that her NGO ‘Rescue Venezuela’ knowingly work and deal with paramilitaries and irregular groups.

“Our foundation is in the capacity to have humanitarian aid camps in each [Venezuelan] state. And the people who help us do this are people who are in those states and are irregular and paramilitary groups,” Tintori clearly said while talking about her non-governmental organization.

However, due to the gravity of the declarations, the well-known opposition figure later issued a statement arguing that it was a “mistake” due to her lack of knowledge of English, despite the word ‘paramilitary’ sounding and meaning the same thing in Spanish (paramilitares).

Yet this is not the first time, the U.S.-backed opposition has been accused of having ties with illegal paramilitary groups.

Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented a video on September 20 in which the Colombian narco-paramilitary Ivan Posso Pedroso explains the links that the opposition lawmaker Guaido has with the narco-paramilitary group ‘Los Rastrojos’, after pictures surfaced of the opposition figure with the known criminals during his border cross to Colombia in February.

Presented at a press conference held in Caracas, the video shows Posso Pedroso, aka ‘Nandito’ providing details of the secret operation that made Guaido’s transport from El Vigia in Venezuela to Santander Port in Colombia, Valero’s municipality.

Right-wing media PanamPost reported that Tintori said her organization “Rescue Venezuela” works with paramilitaries to distribute humanitarian aid in Venezuela.

Far-right groups

While back in March 2019, the Venezuela government revealed the members and plans of a far-right “terrorist” group called Cocoon 2.0, based off of information provided by Roberto Marrero Borgas and other found in his cell phone after his March 21 capture.

Borgas alleged “chief of staff” for lawmaker Juan Guaido, was arrested after the Venezuelan intelligence agencies and the Public Prosecutor’s Office found a link between him and violent far-right organizations, that aimed to aggravate plans in order to destabilize the Bolivarian government.

In Borgas’ cell phone, a group chat was found with members such as Juan Guaido, Ricardo Hausmann, Carlos Vecchio, Leopoldo Lopez, among others.

The three forms of aggressions

In the chats from the group, there are three forms of aggression planned against Venezuela. The first is the threat to obstruct transactions with debit and credit cards causing the payment system to collapse; the second is to appropriate and distribute in a right-wing corruption network more than US$400 million of state assets from Citgo; and finally to grab army deserters, put them in other uniforms, take a photos and issue fake statements.

Chavista lawmakers open to dialogue

As Chavista lawmakers return to their seats in the National Assembly, they have signaled that they are prepared to begin a dialogue for the reinstitutionalization of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

The Assembly is dominated by the opposition and was deemed to be no longer legitimate after breaking the law in 2017.

The overtures by Chavista lawmakers is part of the ongoing peace talks between the government and some of the opposition.

On Tuesday, Francisco Torrealba, spokesperson for the Chavista ‘Gran Polo Patriotico’ (a coalition of pro-government Chavista parties), said that he is prepared to implement mechanisms for dialogue that would work towards the institutionalization of the National Assembly.

He said to reporters; “We want to rescue respect, tolerance and willingness to dialogue…we know that the right wing is a majority, but that doesn’t block the possibility that in this National Assembly we can dialogue with respect and tolerance”

The National Assembly, of which Guaido was appointed President under their rotation system, was ruled to be in ‘in contempt’ by Venezuela’s supreme court in 2017. This was due to the fact that three opposition lawmakers were admitted into the Assembly despite being elected with serious voting irregularities in their district.

The Supreme Court told the Assembly that they could continue to operate legally if they opened a new session without the three disputed deputies. Nevertheless, the Assembly again refused.

The entry of Chavista lawmakers and their work towards reinstitutionalization is part of the ongoing dialogue with some sections of the opposition, following calls by President Nicolas Maduro for peaceful solutions. The opposition parties that have taken part have agreed to join the government in calling on the U.S. to lift economic sanctions, meanwhile the government has agreed to release some prisoners, create a new electoral council, and set up ‘dialogue tables’ on a number of issues.

The “dialogue tables” have been formed to discuss eight topics, they include: 1. Electoral power and electoral guarantees, 2. Truth commission, 3. Sovereignty and territorial integrity, 4. National Economy, 5. Institutional and political balance; 6. Social rights; 7. Political parties; 8. Social movements.

However, only some opposition parties have joined the dialogue, more extremist factions around Juan Guaido have rejected the possibility of peace talks, and have instead worked with the U.S. to call for sanctions and intervention.

Putin backs Venezuela talks in meeting with Maduro in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support of Venezuela’s new round of dialogue Wednesday as he met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Kremlin to discuss further cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting took place as both Putin and Maduro skipped the UN General Assembly taking place in New York.

Moscow´s support has been essential for the South American country over the last months as the U.S. government continues to seek regime change in the oil-rich South American country.

In a reference to the blockade the U.S. has imposed on Venezuela, Maduro said this meeting was very important, giving the difficult situation his country is in due to external pressure.

The Russian head of state offered humanitarian aid to Venezuela in forms of medicine and food. He announced plans for Moscow to deliver 1.5 million flu vaccines to Venezuela.

The Russian help extends further to include technology and the military sector.

Before leaving Venezuela, Maduro said his agenda includes holding meetings with “important business groups”.

On his Twitter account, President Maduro said: “I had a positive working meeting with President Vladimir Putin (…) We went through the entire bilateral cooperation map and drew new routes for deepening the system of cooperation and exchange between our peoples”.

Addressing the talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition parties, Putin said: “We believe that any refusal to have dialogue is irrational, harms the country, and only threatens the population’s well-being.”

Maduro gives Bolivar’s SWORD to Putin

After an ‘extraordinary workday’ with Russian President Vladimir Putin that saw him presenting a replica of Simon Bolivar’s saber to the Russian leader, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro took the time to enjoy the iconic Moscow landmark.

A video posted on Maduro’s official Twitter account shows the Venezuelan president and his entourage braving the Moscow chill and taking a stroll in the heart of the Russian capital, the Red Square, on Wednesday night.

In the video, Maduro sends greetings to the Venezuelans and announces the ratification of a strategic cooperation map with Russia “to culminate victorious 2019 and ensure prosperity of future years.”

The updated cooperation framework was ironed out during the bilateral meeting at the Kremlin earlier in the day. In the meeting that featured high-ranking Venezuelan and Russian officials, Putin noted that he was “glad” to be able “to continue … direct personal contact” with Maduro.

Despite the “difficult situation” in the Venezuelan economy, throttled by the layers of crippling US economic sanctions, the Russia-Venezuela trade grew some 10 percent in the recent months, Putin said, adding that the increase is due to mutual exports, including agricultural products.

In addition to farm products shipped from Russia to Venezuela, “essential” in the time of food shortages, Moscow also supplies medicine, having recently delivered 1.5 million doses of the influenza vaccine, Putin said.

The highlight of the meeting was the gift-giving ceremony, which saw Maduro giving Putin a replica of the saber used by Simon Bolivar, leader of the independence movement in the early 19th century that saw much of South America liberated from Spanish rule.

Maduro said that the saber was modeled after one that Bolivar used in the 1821 Battle of Carabobo, a key moment in the Venezuelan War of independence, and was given to Putin “in gratitude of his support for Venezuela, and his respect to the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.”

It was the first meeting of the two leaders since the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January. Putin and Maduro had met the month before, in December 2018, when Caracas and Moscow signed some $5 billion worth of contracts related to oil production.

Russian companies may invest $1bn in Venezuela

Russian miners are interested in mining gold and diamonds in Venezuela and may invest up to $1 billion for mining projects in the country, Russian media reported as the leaders of the two countries met in Moscow on Wednesday.

“According to Venezuela’s estimates, Russian investments may reach around $1 billion,” documents for the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro read.

During Maduro’s previous visit to Russia, in December 2018, the two countries signed a memorandum of cooperation in geology and mineral resources, allowing Russian firms to mine in the Bolivarian Republic.

Various US sanctions against Venezuela did not stop Russia from taking part in joint exploration and production projects. For example, Russia’s major oil company Rosneft cooperates with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, jointly developing five energy projects. Overall geological reserves in the joint ventures amount to 80 million tons of oil. Other companies such as Gazprom Neft, Gazprom and Inter RAO are also involved in energy projects in the country.

The two countries also enjoy promising industrial cooperation, with Russia’s Kamaz delivering trucks, bus chassis and spare parts to the country.

Russia also supplies the South American state with grain. Last year, more than 254,000 tons worth $57 million were exported, and there are plans to more than double the shipments to reach 600,000 tons in 2019.



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