Friday, 23 August, 2019

Military action possible in Venezuela, Pompeo says

Members of the Bolivarian National Guard who joined Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido fire into the air to repel forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro who arrived to disperse a demonstration near La Carlota Venezuelan Military Putsch Defeated as Leopoldo Lopez Takes Refuge in Spanish Embassy
Patty Aguilar | 02 May, 2019, 08:24

An opposition demonstrator passes by a government bus set on fire during clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after troops joined opposition leader Juan Guaido in his campaign to oust Maduro in Caracas, April 30, 2019. Maduro's forces began fighting back against pro-Guaido supporters.

"Secretary Shanahan will no longer travel to Europe as he has determined remaining present in DC would allow him to more effectively coordinate with (National Security Agency) and the State Department in Venezuela and to continue coordination with DHS for support along the Southwest border", said his spokesman Joe Buccino.

Maduro supporters were also called to rally Wednesday in another round of dueling protests between both sides. "We still expect that but we' re going to watch the situation very closely".

"We're doing what we can now to collect intelligence to make sure we have good visibility on what's happening down in Venezuela and be prepared to support the president should he require more from the USA military".

That has frustrated Guaido's bid to assume the day-to-day functions of government on an interim basis - which he says would be a prelude to calling new elections.

Maduro, who says Guaido is a puppet of the United States seeking to orchestrate a coup, called a march of his own supporters on Wednesday. Maduro with as many as 25,000 security forces.

They blew whistles and held Venezuelan flags as cars drove by honking their horns, even as only a handful of gas stations were open in Venezuela's second-largest city due to chronic shortages of fuel in the OPEC nation.

Carlos Alberto, a 70-year-old small-business owner, draped in a Venezuelan flag at the Caracas protest, said: "We are exhausted of this regime, that has brutally impoverished us". "My biggest fear is not repression, but rather that this does not get resolved".

Guaido called on the people of Venezuela and the army to take to the streets to complete the operation to overthrow Venezuela's legitimate president. "If that's what's required, that's what the United States will do", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business Network.

The unrest in Venezuela is turning into a battleground of rhetoric between the United States and Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Pompeo said Maduro was ready to flee to Cuba but was dissuaded by Russian Federation.

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Russian Federation rejected that allegation on Wednesday, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova calling it "fake news".

"Imagine if this regime that now is receiving a lot of worldwide pressure survives, is it or is it not potentially a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere", said Diaz-Balart.

"This is our hemisphere", he told reporters outside the White House.

"Washington's interference in Venezuelan affairs is a flagrant violation of worldwide law", the Russian foreign ministry quoted Lavrov as saying in the call.

"This is the time to go out and protest", Rachid Yasbek, an opposition leader told Al Jazeera.

"Today, fearless soldiers, courageous patriots, brave men supporting the constitution have answered our call", the 35-year-old said in a three-minute video posted on social media on Tuesday night, surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers and armoured vehicles.

The protest against Maduro on May Day, was a test for Guaidó in his ambition to claim the leadership of a country suffering from a crumbling economy that has left the population lacking food and medical care. "We have been confronting different types of aggression and attempted coups never before seen in our history".

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday evening issued an order prohibiting U.S. air operators from flying below 26,000 feet in Venezuela's airspace until further notice, citing "increasing political instability and tensions".

The annual marches across the Communist-run country, marking International Workers Day, provided the first opportunity to publicly protest a USA offensive against socialism in the region declared by Bolton late a year ago. Although Maduro was legally elected in 2013 to replace his mentor, Hugo Chavez, his 2018 election was denounced by both Venezuelan opposition leaders and the global community as being a sham.

President Trump is threatening a total blockade of Cuba over its support for Venezuela's Maduro regime. "He has destroyed the most successful country in Latin America".

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