The legislation would require for the U.S. State Department to provide a threat assessment and strategic approach for dealing with Russia’s military cooperation in Venezuela.
The House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress approved Monday a bill to assess Russia’s influence in Venezuela, as well as its implications for the U.S. and its allies.
The “Russia-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act” is a bi-partisan legislation introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), which would require for the U.S. State Department to provide a threat assessment and strategic approach for dealing with Russia’s military cooperation in Venezuela. The bill now must be passed by the Senate and then be signed by Donald Trump to become law.
This comes as two Russian air force planes landed in Caracas on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports. An operation confirmed by National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, which was part of the ongoing military technical and strategic cooperation program with the Bolivarian government.
The United States will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling with the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law. The Venezuelan military must stand with the people of Venezuela.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 25, 2019
Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza criticized the U.S. position asserting that “such cynicism that a country with more than 800 military bases around the world, much of them in Latin America, and a growing military budget of more than US$700 billion, intends to interfere with the military-technical cooperation program between Russia and Venezuela.”
Yet it seems that, once again, this has to do more with Venezuela’s oil than “democracy”, as they put it. The legislation focuses the need to evaluate “the national security risks posed by potential Russian acquisition of Citgo’s energy infrastructure holdings in the U.S.” The main shareholder of Citgo is Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA.
Russia has not been silent on this issue. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced Monday that “Washington’s attempts to organize a coup d’état in Venezuela and (U.S.) threats against the legitimate government are in violation of the UN Charter.” And went on to say that the U.S. is conducting an “undisguised interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”
While China also weighed on the matter. A spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, declared Tuesday that Latin American nations are sovereign countries, able to decide by their own account with which States to collaborate, adding that the region “does not belong to any country and it is not anyone’s backyard.”