United States, Venezuela, Columbia, Russia, and 5,000 Troops

National security adviser John Bolton appeared to disclose confidential notes written on a yellow pad Monday that included a plan to send U.S. troops to Colombia amid escalating tensions with Venezuela.

During a briefing at the White House to announce sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry, Bolton held the notepad against his jacket with its pages facing outward.

Scrawled in tight print at the top of the cover page were two items: “Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks,” an apparent reference to ongoing peace negotiations with the Taliban, and “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Pentagon officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the Defense Department hadn’t received any orders to this effect.

SOURCE: Washington Post

US planes carrying aid for Venezuela land in Colombia

US military transport planes carrying humanitarian aid intended for Venezuelans have landed in the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

The food and medicines are being stored there as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro refuses to allow aid to enter the country. 

Saturday’s 180-tonne shipment includes high-energy food products and hygiene kits of soap, toothpaste and other goods for more than 25,000 people.

Socialist President Maduro alleges the aid shipments are part of a plot by the US and its allies to undermine his government and back opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president last month.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

Is a Foreign Military Intervention in Venezuela Imminent?

According to conventional wisdom, there should be no serious talk of foreign military intervention in Venezuela. But these aren’t conventional times. The conventional playbook would adopt a strategy of foreign coordination of the Venezuelan opposition, economic sabotage, infiltration of the military, and manipulation of popular movements against the elected government. All this is being done, however, so far, not successfully. The frustrations of the Bolivarian movement’s enemies is palpable. Does this mean intervention is imminent? And what would such an intervention look like?

We know that the Trump administration met with Venezuelan coup plotters in 2017 and the Venezuelan opposition speaks openly of its coordination with the United States government. Officials in the U.S. and internationally have repeatedly called for the Venezuelan military and business people to take power, denouncing and refusing to recognize legitimate elections, and even having the audacity to “recognize” a “new president” in Venezuela who was not elected and who has no legitimate claim to office. Recent events have included the first ever attempted coup-by-drone, in August 2018; and the January 22nd mutiny by 27 National Guard troops led by a sergeant. One might infer a sense of desperation among the enemies of the Bolivarian government.  

US National Security Advisor John Bolton called Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua a “Troika of Tyranny”, but the real triple threat faced by Latin America is the alliance of ultra-right administrations from the United States, Colombia, and Brazil of Donald Trump, Iván Duque, and Jair Bolsonaro, respectively. These Oligarchs of Overthrow have Venezuela in their sight, and military intervention is clearly an option on the table where they are seated.

FULL STORY: https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14252

Russian Missiles: Venezuela Holds Huge Stockpile of Surface-to-Air Missiles, Showing U.S. Fears Founded

Venezuela possesses 5,000 Russian-made MANPADS surface-to-air weapons, according to a military document reviewed by Reuters, the largest known stockpile in Latin America and a source of concern for U.S. officials amid the country’s mounting turmoil.

Venezuela’s socialist government has long used the threat of an “imperialist” invasion by the United States to justify an arms buildup. Much of that arsenal was obtained from Russia by Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, whose tenure lasted from 1999 until his death in 2013.

The missiles, which are shoulder-mounted and can be operated by one person, pose a serious threat to commercial and military aircraft. Weapons experts said there have long been fears that the weapons could be stolen, sold or somehow channeled to the wrong hands, concerns exacerbated by the current civil unrest in Venezuela and the economic crisis roiling the oil-producing nation.

According to a Venezuelan military presentation seen by Reuters, the South American country has 5,000 SA-24 Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS) missiles, also known as the Igla-S.

SOURCE: Newsweek

Putin taunts Trump: 400 Russian military contractors sent to Venezuela in support of Maduro

Russia is playing a high-stakes game in the mounting crisis in Venezuela, where socialist President Nicolas Maduro has been mortgaging part of the country’s oil resources in exchange for financial and military support from Moscow.

Latin America is far from Russia, and Venezuela is impoverished, surrounded by hostile neighbors and squarely in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. But for a variety of reasons, the government of President Vladimir Putin sees in Caracas an ally worth cultivating.

The Kremlin has managed to maintain a decades-long relationship with Cuba’s communist regime, whose intelligence services have worked closely with Russian advisers to make inroads into Venezuela’s military and its reserve-rich oil sector. The U.S. estimates Russia’s total investment in Venezuela to be $30 billion.

Under anti-U.S. populist leader Hugo Chavez, Mr. Maduro’s late predecessor and political mentor, Russia became one of Venezuela’s strongest allies with economic ties including crude oil, loans and arms sales.

That helps explain why Moscow has emerged as one of Mr. Maduro’s most vocal defenders and one of the biggest critics of the pressure campaign waged by Washington and a number of countries in Latin America.

SOURCE: Washington Times

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