This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 25, 2019:
This writer noted last week that the war raging in Venezuela isn’t about oil and it’s not really about the Marxist thug Maduro. It’s about the increasing influence of Cuba and Russia in Venezuela. That article explored Trump’s DNI (Director of National Intelligence) Dan Coats’ unwillingness to recognize that influence:
Coats delivered a presentation before the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewing the “2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment” put together by U.S. intelligence agencies. In that 42-page presentation, all he had to say about Cuba was this:
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will adhere to former President Raul Castro’s blueprint for institutionalizing one-party rule and socialism in Cuba through constitutional reforms. Diaz-Canel has acknowledged that Raul Castro, who still commands the ruling Communist Party, remains the dominant voice on public policy.
Coats had another chance to correct himself about Cuba’s (and by inference) Russia’s extensive influence in and infiltration of Maduro’s regime, but failed again, writing on his website:
The Kremlin has aligned Russia with repressive regimes in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela….
We expect that attempts by Cuba, Russia, and to some extent China, to prop up the Maduro regime’s security [with] financing will lead to additional efforts to exploit the situation [there] in exchange for access to Venezuelan oil.
Happily, Pompeo didn’t fall for it. On Sunday, the U.S. Secretary of State was quizzed about the role Venezuela’s vast oil resources is playing in Trump’s efforts to remove Maduro from power there. He responded:
We’re aimed at a singular mission — ensuring that the Venezuelan people get the democracy that they so richly deserve and that the Cubans and the Russians who have been driving this country into the ground for years and years and years no longer hold sway….
The media focused instead on the riots that have led to the killing of at least eight Venezuelan citizens and the wounding of hundreds more in clashes between Maduro’s forces – his “collectivos” (motorcycle gangs terrorizing neighborhoods thought to be harboring dissidents) and his regulars – and Maduro’s opposition on his country’s borders with Colombia and Brazil.
That opposition, led by self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, tried to deliver some 600 tons of food, medicines, and other supplies across the borders. They were inspired no doubt by Guaido’s declaration that Saturday was the deadline for getting those supplies to the citizens of Venezuela.
Some supplies made it. There were unconfirmed reports that at least two transports crossed into Venezuela from Brazil, but none made it at any of the three main portals that were shut down by Maduro.
Some of Maduro’s military sought asylum as well. Sixty of them, mostly lower ranking soldiers, turned against Maduro on Saturday and gave themselves up to Colombian officials.
Maduro played the hardline communist at rallies held in Caracas on Saturday. He told supporters gathered in Caracas on Sunday that, “It’s time for our people to tell Donald Trump, ‘Donald Trump, Yankee, go home, Donald Trump!’’’
He also ended relations with Colombia, giving its representatives in Venezuela 24 hours to leave.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear on Sunday that pressure on Maduro will be ramped up further in light of the dictator’s intransigence and defiance. On “Fox News Sunday,” Pompeo said “We’re going to do the things that need to be done to make sure that the Venezuelan people’s voice [is heard], that democracy reigns, and that there’s a brighter future for the people of Venezuela….”
Translation: unless Maduro backs down (highly unlikely, thanks to Cuban/Russian influence in his military), there will be military intervention, either directly or indirectly supported by the U.S., to get rid of Maduro. Pompeo made that clear when he Tweeted: “What kind of sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks with aid are sickening.”
Guaido’s Saturday deadline came and went, but the war is far from over. Guaido is meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday to plot the next step.
The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor: Why Hasn’t Maduro Been Given the boot?
The Washington Examiner: Venezuela standoff turns deadly as troops block aid delivery