Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Venezuelan peer Jorge Arreaza,
Russia has made clear it supports the legitimate and constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro after the failed US-backed coup attempt of April 30.
After meeting on Sunday in Moscow with his Venezuelan peer, Jorge Arreaza, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underscored Moscow’s support for Maduro administration ‘principled, consistent and firm’.‘We now see an unprecedented campaign, led by the United States, to overthrow the legitimate authorities of Venezuela. We condemn this campaign for violating the principles of international law,’ Lavrov stressed.
Lavrov further said Russia never meddles in the domestic affairs of other states, ‘and we urge all others to act precisely like this’, he added.
Attempts at a forced change of power in Venezuela undermine the crisis settlement process and carry a risk of catastrophe, the Russian minister warned.
Attempts to forcibly change the government in Caracas, of course, have nothing to do with the democratic process, but only hamper the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis, and the continuation of this line is fraught with the most serious consequences’, Lavrov added.
He stressed that Moscow condemns the unprecedented US campaign aimed at overthrowing the legitimate Venezuelan government.
The minister went on to say that Moscow and Caracas are set to strengthen their strategic cooperation.
Venezuela has been trapped in a political crisis since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, challenging the outcome of the country’s last presidential election.
The move was promptly backed by the United States, which vowed to support Guaido and imposed a row of sanctions against the Latin American country, seizing billions of dollars’ worth of the country’s oil assets, Sputnik News recalled.
Moreover, a number of senior US officials, including President Donald Trump, have repeatedly stated that all options remain on the table with regard to the Venezuelan crisis, including military action.
As technical director of the Sinaloa Dorados soccer team in Mexico, famed former player Diego Maradona dedicates Dorado victory to Maduro, jabs at Trump.
World renowned former Argentine soccer play who brought his team to victory at the 1986 World Cup, Diego Maradona took a jab at ‘Yankee’ interventionism in Latin America and dedicated the win of his Mexican team to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“I want to dedicate this triumph to Nicolas Maduro and to all Venezuelans who are suffering. The sheriffs of the world—who are these Yankees?” asked the FIFA Player of the 20th Century Sunday night to the press.
“Just because they have the biggest bombs in the world they think are so much more advanced than us. No, they are not” Maradona declared at a press conference after a soccer match in Mexico that the Dorados de Sinaloa, the team Maradona is the technical director of since September 2018, won 3-2 over the Tampico Madero Sunday night.
“We don’t buy that ‘chirolita’ they have as president,” added Maradona referring to an Argentine vantriloquist puppet famous in the 1970s that resembles United States President Donald Trump and was famous for its rogue, childish personality.
Since January the U.S. and its allies have tried unsuccessfully to replace Presidennt Maduro with the so-called ‘interim president’ Juan Guiado.
President Donald Trump began his soft coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro after taking office in 2017, implementing a growing list of economic sanctions on Venezuela and its people that have cost the government billions.
Named the best player in the history of the World Cups, Maradona called Maduro a “dear friend” and came out in defense of Maduro when the Venezuelan president faced an assassination attempt last August.
The Argentine denounced the attack on Maduro over social media and that Venezuela “does not surrender.” Maradona was a close friend of the deceased leftist presidents Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
When Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was declared victor of last July’s Mexican presidential elections, Marado said: “He finally won the elections in Mexico and the truth is he made us all very happy.”
The Government of Venezuela has denounced the forced and illegal occupation of its diplomatic offices located in the United States, in clear violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In a statement published in the Twitter account of Chancellor Jorge Arreaza, it is claimed that this action has the backing of US authorities and has political interests.
“To tolerate or promote any threat or intimidation against Venezuelan diplomatic agents by citizens residing in the United States constitutes a very serious violation of the international obligations of the US Government,” he says.
They also reiterated that the diplomatic headquarters should only be used by official diplomatic agents who have been appointed and represent the democratic government of President Nicolás Maduro.
In this regard, they demand the US authorities. “That they comply with their legal obligations and take the necessary measures to immediately reverse such de facto forced occupation”.
In case the US Government continue with the breach of its international obligations, warned that Venezuela “reserves the corresponding legal and reciprocal decisions and actions” in its territory.
For his part, the official designated for the USA. by the self-proclaimed opposition deputy Juan Guaidó, Carlos Vecchio, reported that there were three occupied diplomatic headquarters, two in Washington (capital) and a consulate in New York. (Cubadebate)
The US-Funded CANVAS Organization That Trained Juan Guaido And His Allies Produced A 2010 Memo On Exploiting Electricity Outages And Urged The Opposition “To Take Advantage Of The Situation…Towards Their Needs”
A September 2010 memo by a US-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido and his allies identifies the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”
The memo has special relevance today as Guaido moves to exploit nationwide blackouts caused by a major failure at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam – a crisis that Venezuela’s government blames on US sabotage.
It was authored by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a Belgrade-based “democracy promotion” organization funded by the US government that has trained thousands of US-aligned youth activists in countries where the West seeks regime change.
This group reportedly hosted Guaido and the key leaders of his Popular Will party for a series of training sessions, fashioning them into a “Generation 2007” determined to foment resistance to then-President Hugo Chavez and sabotage his plans to implement “21st century socialism” in Venezuela.
In the 2010 memo, CANVAS’s Popovic declared, “A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector.” Popovic explicitly identified the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant as a friction point, emphasizing that “water levels at the Guri dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry.”
Speculating on a “grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010,” the CANVAS leader stated that “an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.”
Flash forward to March 2019, and the scenario outlined by Popovic is playing out almost exactly as he had imagined.
On March 7, just days after Guaido’s return from Colombia, where he participated in the failed and demonstrably violent February 23 attempt to ram a shipment of US aid across the Venezuelan border, the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant experienced a major and still unexplained collapse.
Days later, electricity remains sporadic across the country. Meanwhile, Guaido has done everything he can “to take advantage of the situation and spin it” against President Nicolas Maduro – just as his allies were urged to do over eight years before by CANVAS.
Rubio Vows “A Period Of Suffering” For Venezuela Hours Before The Blackout
The Venezuelan government has placed the blame squarely on Washington, accusing it of sabotage through a cyber-attack on its electrical infrastructure. Key players in the US-directed coup attempt have done little to dispel the accusation.
In a tweet on March 8, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo framed the electricity outage as a pivotal stage in US plans for regime change:
At noon on March 7, during a hearing on Venezuela at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Sen. Marco Rubio explicitly called for the US to stir “widespread unrest,” declaring that it “needs to happen” in order to achieve regime change.
“Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history,” Rubio proclaimed.
At 5:18 PM, a clearly excited Rubio took to Twitter to announce the blackout and claim that “backup generators have failed.” It was unclear how Rubio had obtained such specific information so soon after the outage occurred. According to Jorge Rodriguez, the communications minister of Venezuela, local authorities did not know if backup generators had failed at the time of Rubio’s tweet.
Back in Caracas, Guaido immediately set out to exploit the situation, just as his CANVAS trainers had advised over eight years before. Taking to Twitter just over an hour after Rubio, Guaido declared, “the light will return when the usurpation [of Maduro] ends.” Like Pompeo, the self-declared president framed the blackouts as part of a regime change strategy, not an accident or error.
Two days later, Guaido was at the center of opposition rally he convened in affluent eastern Caracas, bellowing into a megaphone: “Article 187 when the time comes. We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else.”
Article 187 establishes the right of the National Assembly “to authorize the use of Venezuelan military missions abroad or foreign in the country.”
Upon his mention of the constitutional article, Guaido’s supporters responded “Inteervention! Intervention!”
Exploiting Crisis To “Get Back Into A Position Of Power”
As Dan Cohen and I reported here at the Grayzone, Guaido’s rise to prominence – and the coup plot that he has been appointed to oversee – is the product of a decade-long project overseen by the Belgrade-based CANVAS outfit.
CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means “resistance” in Serbian, was the student group that worked alongside US soft power organizations to mobilize the protests that eventually toppled the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
CANVAS has been funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cut-out that functions as the US government’s main arm of promoting regime change. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the “shadow CIA,” CANVAS “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.”
A leaked email from a Stratfor staffer noted that after they ousted Milosevic, “the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words a ‘export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;).”
Stratfor subsequently revealed that CANVAS “turned its attention to Venezuela” in 2005, after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.
In September 2010, as Venezuela headed for a parliamentary election, CANVAS produced a series of memos outlining the plans they had hatched with “non-formal actors” like Guaido and his cadre of student activists to bring down Chavez. “This is the first opportunity for the opposition to get back into a position of power,” Popovic wrote at the time.
In his memo on electricity outages, Popovic highlighted the importance of the Venezuelan military in achieving regime change. “Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency,” the CANVAS founder wrote, “malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support.”
While the scenario Popovic envisioned failed to materialize in 2010, it perfectly describes the situation gripping Venezuela today as an opposition leader cultivated by CANVAS seeks to spin the crisis against Maduro while calling on the military to break ranks.
Since the Grayzone exposed the deep ties between CANVAS and Guaido’s Popular Will party, Popovic has attempted to publicly distance himself from his record of training Venezuela’s opposition.
Today, however, Popovic’s 2010 memo on exploiting electricity outages reads like a blueprint for the strategy that Guaido and his patrons in Washington have actively implemented. Whether or not the blackout is the result of external sabotage, it represents the “watershed event” that CANVAS has prepared its Venezuelan cadres for.
The Revolutionary Government strongly condemns the sabotage perpetrated against the Venezuelan electrical power system, which is a terrorist act intended to harm the defenseless population of an entire nation, and taking it hostage in the non-conventional war launched by the government of the United States against the legitimate government headed by comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic and military union of the Bolivarian, Chavista people.
Several U.S. politicians have rushed to celebrate an action that deprives the population from an essential basic service; leaves hospitals without the power they require to work; disrupts other basic services which are indispensable in the everyday-life of people, such as food, water supply, transportation, communications, public safety, trade, bank transactions, and crtedit card payments. Such acts affect work in general and the proper functioning of schools and universities.
The sequence and modality of these actions remind us of the sabotage perpetrated against the oil industry in 2002 by a U.S. company that owned and operated the automated system that controlled production, refining, transportation, and distribution of oil.
This adds to the ruthless economic and financial warfare imposed on Venezuela with the clear intention to subjugate, through shortages and deprivation, the political and sovereign will of a people that has not been brought to its knees.
This is an escalation of a non-conventional war led by the U.S. government against this sister nation, which is taking place after the failed provocation orchestrated on February 23 with the intention of introducing by force alleged humanitarian aid into Venezuela, thus challenging the legitimate authorities of the country and violating international law and the principles and norms of the United Nations Charter, with the purpose of causing widespread death and violence as a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention.”
The experience of Cuba’s own history and the history of other countries in the region show that these actions are a prelude to violent acts of a larger scope, as was the case of the armed invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The international community has accumulated sufficient evidence to be on the alert.
The usurper and self-proclaimed “president” made in the U.S. has publicly said that, when the time comes, he would invoke Article 187 of the Constitution to authorize the use of foreign military missions in the country; and has repeated exactly the same phrase used by his U.S. mentors: “All options are on the table.”
He just needs to receive an order from Washington, since it is known that, during his tour through South America, he has already asked certain governments to support a military intervention in his country.
The offensive launched against Venezuela has been accompanied by a ferocious campaign of McCarthyist propaganda and lies coordinated by U.S. National Security Advisor, John Bolton, as a pretext to apply by force the Monroe Doctrine, for which he has counted on the active participation of anti-Cuban Senator Marco Rubio, who has frantically resorted to social networks, thus evidencing his personal interest and conspiratorial involvement in the maneuvers perpetrated against Venezuela.
One of the most relentless and shameless statements made is the slanderous assertion that Cuba has “between 20 and 25 thousand troops in Venezuela” which “exercise control” on that sovereign sister nation and “keep” the members of the glorious and combative National Bolivarian Armed Forces “under threat”. Cuba categorically rejects that lie and equally strongly refutes any insinuation that there is some level of political subordination of Venezuela to Cuba or Cuba to Venezuela.
John Bolton is a well-known liar, whose trajectory goes back a long way. He was the U.S. government official who, in 2002, accused Cuba of having a program to develop biological weapons, a fallacy that was publicly denied by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was his superior at the time; and by former President James Carter. This falsehood also obliged Bolton to undergo a U.S. Congress investigation.
Back in 2003, Bolton was also among those who disseminated the lie that the government of Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and a program to develop them. Such a lie, after being repeated at every level of the U.S. government and magnified by the corporate media, served as a pretext for the aggression and military occupation of that Middle East country by the United States at a cost of almost one million deaths and millions of displaced Iraqis, plus thousands of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded during a military campaign whose goal was also oil.
As has been publicly announced and is known by all honest and well-informed persons, bilateral relations between Cuba and Venezuela are based on mutual respect, true solidarity; a shared commitment, based on the ideas of Bolivar, Marti, Fidel and Chavez , with the integration of an independent and sovereign “Our America”; the willingness to practice complementary cooperation among all peoples of the South and the common effort to implement and defend the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
The projects contained in the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement that was signed between the two countries involves the participation of a little more than 20,000 Cubans, most of them women. Ninety six per cent of them are devoted to the provision of health services to the population. Others work in other sectors such as education, culture, sports, and agro-food production.
Just to mention some figures, the historical impact of that cooperation in Venezuela has been reflected in the 1,473,117 human lives that have been saved; the 717,029,310 medical diagnoses made; the medical assistance received by 62,031,309 persons suffering from eye problems; the 12,915,648 vaccines against measles and tuberculosis administered; and the 3,095,564 persons who have learned to read and write.
It is absolutely not true that Cuba is taking part in operations carried out by the National Bolivarian Armed Forces or security services. This is a slanderous rumor deliberately disseminated by the government of the United States. When Bolton as well as other politicians and officials of the U.S. government rely on such rumors, they are deliberately lying to pursue aggressive political purposes. They have sufficient data and information and know the truth.
Cuba does not interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, just as Venezuela does not interfere in Cuba’s internal affairs.
Unlike the United States, which has some 80 military bases in Latin America and the Caribbean, including one on usurped Cuban territory in Guantánamo; and around 800 across the entire planet, with more than 250,000 quartered troops, Cuba does not have any bases in any country; or specialists in torture and police repression; or secret prisons; or naval or air forces prowling around the coasts or the immediate air space of sovereign states; or satellites watching every single detail.
It was through the use of lies that imperialism promoted the bloody coup d’état of Augusto Pinochet in Chile and many other coups and repressive dictatorships in the region. It was through the use of lies that more than 10,000 defenseless citizens were assassinated during the military invasion against Panama in December of 1989. It was through the use of lies that the military aggression and destabilization of Libya was perpetrated.
It was with lies that the United States and other powers fully supported, until the very last minute, the opprobrious apartheid regime in South Africa.
The Revolutionary Government warns and denounces the tendency of the government of the United States to lie without limit or restraint whatsoever, which has already had dangerous consequences in the past, that could be replicated in the present.
This is the second session of the Security Council held to discuss the political situation in Venezuela following a meeting on Jan. 26 in the U.S.
Representatives from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Poland, Peru, The Dominican Republic, Belgium, South Africa, Kuwait, Germany, Indonesia, and Venezuela spoke to the international delegation.
Despite the position held by some countries opposed to the Venezuelan Government, its representatives have reiterated the rejection of the use of force by U.S. authorities.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the international aggression a threat to Venezuela’s sovereignty and the rights of a free people as well as a violation of the United Nations charter.
“Now is the time for us to return to sanity and respect international law and respect the Venezuelan constitution. We are waiting to see the members of the Venezuelan opposition. Mr. Guaido and whoever else- they will decide who will sit down with the constitutional government of Venezuela, then among Venezuelans, we can build our own solution. Without intervention, interference from anyone, much less the United States,” Arreaza said.
The Bolivarian official thanked the members of the Montevideo Mechanism for its support for peaceful dialogue and allowing the country to solve its differences domestically.
“We are prepared to sit down and to come up with solutions with Mr. Guaido and whoever else wishes to sit down with us, but they don’t wish to sit down with us. They say there is no time for dialogue, Mr. Maduro has to go, the regime has to change, there has to be an invasion in Venezuela. But there’s no call in this security council to say, ‘You have to sit down,’” the minister said.
Arreaza asked UN security council members to consider the fact that the United States is threatening to shoot migrants along its southern border and what would happen if Venezuela, Nicaragua, or Cuba- all countries which have been burdened with U.S. intervention- were to intervene, citing a “humanitarian crisis.”
#LIVE | Venezuela’s @jaarreaza at the UN: “What would the US do if Cuba and Nicaragua attempted to enter their country, to provide aid for the humanitarian crisis that is clearly taking place at the US border.”
“Venezuela is staying out of the internal affairs of the United States and the electoral campaign here… There’s a lot of hypocrisy and arrogance at play here. And this is what the UN security council should address.
“The security council is not here to make war, the Security Council is not here to establish conditions for others to make war, the council is not here to endorse violent breaches of the United Nations Charter, rather the security council is here to maintain international peace and security and to preserve future generations from the scourge of war… let’s save Venezuela and this generation because the threat of war is here today,” Arreaza said.
Arreaza’s arguments were supported by a number of countries, among them the Russian representative, who stated that “Washington’s sole aim was not resolving the problems of Venezuela, their aim is regime change via foreign intervention.”
#LIVE | Russia at the UN security council: “Washington’s sole aim was not resolving the problems of Venezuela, their aim is regime change via foreign intervention.”
China also joined in the chorus against intervention by saying that “We oppose using so-called humanitarian aid for political purposes to destabilize Venezuela and the wider region”
#LIVE | China at the security council: “We oppose using so-called humanitarian aid for political purposes to destabilize Venezuela and the wider region”
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, confirmed on Tuesday the need to create a multipolar world committed to respecting the diversity of ideas, opposed to what imperialism intends to impose.
“We believe in a multipolar world, in which the diversity of ideas is respected. We have our model, which is opposed to the only thought that the supremacists of the White House intend to impose on us, “the Head of State wrote on the social network Twitter.
The National President confirmed on Tuesday that Venezuela is under attack from imperialism because of its democratic vision.
“We do not seek it, we do not ask for it, but Venezuela is today in the world geopolitical epicenter of the dispute between the imperial vision, unipolar, aggressive of the gringo empire or the democratic, multipolar vision of coexistence and harmony and dialogue of the people of the world. “, Said the Head of State, during the graduation ceremony of students of Integral Community Medicine.
Since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution, 20 years ago, the United States Government has not ceased its aggressions and interference against the sovereignty of Venezuela.