Escalation Between the US and Russia on Venezuela: General Overview

The distant and sometimes evasive treatment of the international media with respect to the figure of Juan Guaidó, has made its wearing out evident. Two months after having been self-proclaimed “President of the Republic”, the deputy for the state Vargas, invested by the United States and the Western media industry as a consensus figure with the ability to rearticulate anti-Chavismo in a common agenda, has failed to crystallize the forced exit of the constitutional government of Venezuela.

To the expectations that this would be achieved by an express blow pushed from anti-Chavista factions in the FANB, the disenchantment has happened. This was reported by an opinion article by Carlos Blanco, adviser to the far-right party “Vente Venezuela”, on March 27: “After that, all the stories of the universe can be cast, but the idea was that on February 23 or around that date there would be the entry of humanitarian aid, the breakdown of the High Military Command and the exit of Maduro, that was the offer that was sold, and it failed.”

What was said by Carlos Blanco, an influential analyst for the most politicized sector of the opposition, was not just words in the wind. After Guaidó announced the start of the so-called “Operation Freedom”, while calling a drill for April 6, the networks burned in criticism and remarks against him for continuing to prolong the long-awaited final blow against Chavismo.

But that the followers of the opposition believe this “final blow” awaits the imminent and total fall of Chavismo, is the consequence of a misguided handling of political and communication strategy by the local anti-Chavista leadership and Washington. Raising the expectations of regime change when the position of force is not strong enough to materialize them, has generated the wave of disappointment of the last hours.

The crisis of the opposition parties due to the cannibalization of Washington, which dragged its principal leaders to two failed revolutions of color (2014 and 2017), has given way to a phenomenon as strange as it is delirious: the only functional party that remains antichavismo is the Twitter social network; before the planned destruction of the few structures of political-electoral participation that were left alive, Popular Will is the final result of that process.

The mercenary and coup party, appendage of the neoconservatives, designed for this phase of regime change.

The sectors of the ultra – right Venezuela, minority in the polls and in organizational presence, but well connected with sectors of power in the United States (for example the close relationship of Maria Corina Machado with Senator Marco Rubio), use this social network as a mechanism of agitation to put pressure on Guaidó. According to them, the opinion on Twitter favorable to the intervention, is an expression of the whole country.  It’s there that this business becomes delerium.

Being historical adversaries of the traditional parties that currently hold quotas of legislative power, they demand from Guaidó that, under article 187 (number 11), he demands a foreign military intervention, preferably American. They have imposed a backward chronometer that frames the lifespan of their own leadership. They have the power of the brave Twitter bar that both the opposition leaders fear.

THE CRISIS OF GUAIDÓ IS THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER OF THE IRREGULAR WAR
The failure of the operation “humanitarian aid” of February 23 forced Washington to recalibrate plans of aggression against Venezuela. The next step was a cyber attack against the Guri Hydroelectric Power Plant (accusation by the Venezuelan State backed by Forbes magazine itself ), in the state of Bolívar, on the night of March 7.

The maneuver of force, which left the country without electricity for several days, extending its harmful effects to the water supply and oil production, revived at times the figure of Juan Guaidó. It gave a reason to relaunch the “need” to get rid of Maduro.

In parallel, a low-intensity irregular war plan was silently making its way. The head of Juan Guaidó’s office and a member of Voluntad Popular, Roberto Marrero, was arrested by the Venezuelan authorities after leading a plan to admit mercenary cells recruited in Central America, which would commit sabotage of public services and selective assassinations against Chavismo leaders.

The source of financing for this operation originated in the theft of the country’s oil assets, specifically from the Refidomsa refinery located in the Dominican Republic, in which the state subsidiary PDV Caribe de Venezuela holds 49% of the shares.

The manager of the legal department of the company Rosneft in Venezuela, Juan Planchart, who in turn is a cousin of Juan Guaidó’s mother, was the financial operator that would manage the fraudulent sale of this refinery, cutting off a billion dollars that would be used to guarantee the effectiveness of the plan.

Although the operation was linked the main staff of Voluntad Popular (from Leopoldo López, to Freddy Guevara and Juan Guaidó himself), it seems to have the intellectual authorship of Elliott Abrams, a proven expert in forming mercenary armies to carry out prolonged wars of attrition. The Nicaragua case, widely reviewed by MV.

Logically, the window of opportunity to employ these mercenary fighters was the new electrical sabotage of March 25, which makes the early detection action of the Venezuelan State acquire a superior strategic value for peace and the stability of Venezuela.

The so-called “Operation Freedom”, promoted by Guaidó as a new “D-Day”, had the mercenary and sabotage component as a functioning structure, before which Guaidó could rethink its role in the context of the conjuncture. Become a kind of gendarme of peace in a country with outbreaks of irregular conflict and civil war induced by the United States. The step prior to the preventive intervention for the “cessation of the usurpation”.

But the dismantling at the operational level of this maneuver of irregular war, also adds to the negative balance of the figure of Guaidó two months after his self-proclamation, because as time progresses his “interim” wears away its credibility by not having effective control of the institutionality of the State and its main lever of stability: the FANB.

Plan B for the “humanitarian aid” operation was not as expected either, while the idea of ​​a direct, unilateral or consensual military intervention in the style of a “coalition of the willing” continues to be challenged by the majority of the international community , even the one that supports the figure of Guaidó. And as the “president in charge” does not achieve the “cessation of usurpation”, it seems that the United States has only the option of military force to try to crystallize the forced exit of Maduro.

ARRIVAL OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY AND THE MUELLER REPORT
Within the framework of cooperation agreements in the military field with Russia, 99 military personnel and 35 tons of equipment from the Eurasian nation arrived at the Maiquetía airport in Venezuela, in an Antonov An-124 and a passenger aircraft Ilyushin Il-62 , both of the Russian Air Force, under the command of the head of the Main Command of the Russian Land Forces, Vasily Tonkoshkurov.

This occurred in the midst of perhaps the most important geopolitical event so far in 2019: the special prosecutor Robert Mueller concluded that Russia did not intervene to alter the election results of the 2016 presidential elections in favor of Trump.

 

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Immediately upon the arrival of the Russian military, in the midst of the conclusion of the Mueller report that ruffles Russophobia as a foreign policy weapon, the alarms went off in Washington.

Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Marco Rubio and Mike Pence questioned the fact and assured that they would not remain idle. The language of the Cold War quickly appeared to justify a greater pressure on Venezuela, sheltering in the Monroe Doctrine.

Specifically, the head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, contacted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and told him that Russia should “cease its destructive behavior.” Hours after this happened, a major fire set in the transformers of the Guri hydroelectric power plant collapsed electric service again in most of the country.

Meanwhile, the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakhárova, said that the presence of Russian military personnel in Venezuela is attached to the Venezuelan constitution. In turn, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, criticized the United States demanding the departure of the military, questioning the extensive military presence of Washington in different regions of the planet.

Later, President Donald Trump and Fabiana Rosales, wife of Juan Guaidó, insisted in the oval office that “Russia has to leave” Venezuela, closing the arch of statements of the US administration that aggressively criticized the military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela. The Lima Group, and the OAS countries themselves, echoed this line of argument, drawing the situation as a “violation of sovereignty”, because the arrival of the military was not approved by Guaidó, who also made statements against Russia.

 

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Washington saw in this action a challenge to the Monroe Doctrine, again resurrected to justify the United States geopolitical dominance over the continent over China and Russia, which after the globalization process of the last two decades have been inserted as partners with an increasingly important presence.

And in a certain sense the word challenge fits this time. The United States insists that “all options are on the table”, making a dangerous wink at the military option, before which the landing of the Russian military implies a deterrent action that not only hinders the possibility of military intervention, but also is blurring Washington as the only geopolitical actor that can have a presence in Latin America.

Now, according to Trump , “all options are on the table” for Russia to leave Venezuela. Do not forget: this is being said by the president of a powerful nation with tens of military bases on the continent that have brought little security and prosperity in its long history.

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The neoconservatives in command of the White House took advantage of the situation to increase their war rhetoric and to recompose the anti-Russian narrative that was weakened by the conclusion of the Mueller report. However, they tried to project as a threat and a danger something that isn’t in any sense: the military, financial and energy cooperation of Russia and Venezuela has been in process of consolidation for 10 years, which have resulted in Venezuela having a defensive system, composed of anti-aircraft guns ZU-23, missile systems Buk-2M, Pechora-2M and S-300, which hinders attempts of military aggression.

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Evidently, behind the ideological discourse of the Monroe Doctrine, is the declaration of real purposes of the geopolitical agenda of Washington on Venezuela: the change of regime that allows it to regain its immense energy resources, managing to stop its decline on a global scale, for that it is necessary to remove Russia as an oil and military partner of Venezuela.

With this, in their calculation of foreign policy, they would close the Latin American front definitively, recovering the geopolitical balance after the defeat of Syria. For them it would imply a revenge against the Russians. Revert its crisis of hegemony.

In this sense, the “presence of Russia” was not only used at the narrative level to delimit the conflict in its real sphere: geopolitics. There, where Guaidó has little to do with, do or opine.

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RUSSOPHOBIA, THE LAST MOTIVE: NOTES TO THE CLOSING
Seen in retrospect, after the failure of February 23 the method of “humanitarian aid” as a method of intervention was weakened, especially in the narrative hook to justify it. A new attempt by the United States in this way, would carry the weight of the lack of credibility after the report of the New York Times, which revealed how the anti-Chavista mercenaries in Cúcuta burned trucks that also did not carry “humanitarian aid”.

Along the same line, the B plan to attack by indirect means the national electrical system to open the way to an irregular war of low intensity that leads the country to a state of shock and anarchy, was not effective because of the detection capacity of the Venezuelan State .

On this topic, Venezuelan diplomacy has been smart to promptly denounce before international bodies the paramilitary intervention plans that the United States has attempted.

On the other hand, the disclosure of CNN (and previously, of the Bloomberg financial medium ) on how the United States was aware of the frustrated assassination on August 4, makes any mercenary orientation maneuver quickly identified with Washington. A cost of public opinion they wish to avoid.

On a national scale, understanding that it is increasingly reduced in the case of Guaidó and Voluntad Popular, the absence of a breach of the FANB that generates the conditions of chaos for an intervention, or the exit of Maduro after an express military coup, reduces its credibility at international level, provoking a distancing from the international media but also from those who under pressure from Washington to support their “interim”.

The political costs begin to be measured, and many circumstantial allies do not want to see their prestige compromised, supporting a “government” that does not govern. The decision of the nerve center of the European Union, Germany, not to recognize the envoy of Guaidó as ambassador in his country, is a glaring example of this.

The partial closing of the highways of the intervention raised so far, has forced the reason for the war against Venezuela to focus on “getting the Russians out of Venezuela.” In the hierarchy of American discourse, now the central problem is not so much the “humanitarian crisis” as it is that Russia supports the “regime” of Maduro.

Russophobia imposes itself, at the convenience of the moment, as the last-minute resource to justify actions against Venezuela, trying to project that beyond what Mueller said, “Russia continues to be a threat”, not in the United States but in the United States. Its most immediate sphere of influence and rearguard, where the Bolivarian nation occupies a critical position.

Meanwhile, the country is trying to recover from a new massive blackout to return to its everyday life.

And there, the United States continues to expand its visibility as a directly responsible party, while trying to convince the country that the “real threat” to the country, and the reason for its besieged daily life, guess: it’s Putin.

 

Source URL: Mision Verdad

Translated by JRE/EF

 

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