Venezuela Crisis: US Iron Hands in Gentle Aid Gloves
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Venezuela Crisis: US Iron Hands in Gentle Aid Gloves

While Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition who unconstitutionally announced himself the acting president of the Latin American country, claimed the aids to be desperately needed, President Nicolas Maduro argued that the US seeks to intervene in his country under the guise of the humanitarian support. Different nature of humanitarian aids Both the US and Russia have tried to send aid convoys to the embattled country. But apparently each side’s intention is different. So far, the US administration has sent two aid convoys to Venezuela under humanitarian excuses. On Saturday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that a plane carrying second air convoy landed in Colombia’s Cucuta twon on the border with Venezuela. The value of the second aid was said to be $100 million. The US President Donald Trump, who since the outbreak of the crisis has been playing as the friend of the Venezuelans, tweeted “God bless the people of Venezuela.” This comes while recent reports reveal that the president two years ago planned military action against Venezuela, a policy the US has long implemented in Latin American nations, like Panama and Granada in the 1980s. The decision was opposed by his former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who argued that the military action will reduce the regional support to Washington. On the other side is the aids presented by such countries as Russia. A Russian plane carrying medical aid arrived in Venezuela on Friday. The news outlets said that the Russian aids were delivered through the World Health Organization and with the presence of the Russian ambassador to Venezuela. The ambassador, cited by the journalists, said that Venezuela will “continue to be provided by Russian aids in a civilized way through the related international organizations.” According to the Venezuelan authorities, the Russian equipment will cover 15 days of hospitals work. Course of Venezuelan developments Among the regional countries, Brazil and Colombia back Maduro opposition. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, of the right-wing Social Liberal Party, is close in policies to the US president. His help to the US violations against the sovereignty of Venezuela pushed Caracas to close the border with Brazil, arguing that the aids supply was no more than a humanitarian show while the US Department of Treasury on January 28 imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA. The ban targeted diluting agents, such as naphtha, exported to the company. Washington broadened the embargo by banning non-American companies from dealing with PDVSA through the US financial system or American agencies. But the biggest opposition to Maduro comes from Colombia. Guaido on Saturday crossed the border into Colombia and in a symbolic move together with the Colombian president ordered the movement of the aid convoy to the border with Venezuela. This resulted in clashes between the opposition and security forces on the border Simon Bolivar Bridge, named after the revolutionary leader who freed Latin American nations from the European colonialism. Maduro told President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia to avoid meddling into Venezuela, warning that in case of any Colombian military intervention, Caracas will hold him responsible for the consequences. Shortly after a couple of Venezuelan army officers defected to Colombia, Maduro cut off the diplomatic relations with Bogota and gave Colombian diplomats 48 hours to leave Caracas. The hasty policies of Trump and his warlike National Security Advisor John Bolton have unleashed chaos to Venezuela and division to the regional countries. In a press conference, Maduro noted that Bolton pursued a project of spreading turmoil in Venezuela to topple him. He added that he had credible information showing that Bolton determines various missions for others to do provocations on the Venezuelan border. On Saturday, Pompeo threatened to take action against Caracas in a tweet in which called the security forces “Maduro thugs.” The US manner in Venezuela has so far failed to bear any fruits. The Reuters reported that the aid trucks finally returned to Colombia-based storehouses. Venezuelan oil and US military threats The late president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez did deep reforms to the national economic structure upon his arrival to power in 2002. He augmented his country’s role in the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) organization and expelled the American managers of the oil company. Washington found Chavez and his predecessor Maduro in stark contrast to the American interests. The past 20 years saw the US spending and doing much to overthrow the pro-independence government in Caracas. With 297 billion barrels of oil reserves, Venezuela has 19 percent of the global resources and is a key country in the determination of oil prices. Having in mind that the US share from the global oil reserves is only 1.5 percent, the American interests lie in controlling the administration in Caracas. In addition to Trump, other Republicans seek a full hegemony of the US over Latin America. They show zero-tolerance policy to the different-minded governments there. On Saturday, in an interview with Telemundo channel, Pompeo said that the Trump administration intends to support the opposition in Cuba and Nicaragua as it does in Venezuela. The Venezuelan developments are of high sensitivity for the US, to an extent that Bolton canceled a scheduled visit to South Korea to focus on Venezuelan issue. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman to the Russian foreign ministry, told of the US plan to arm the opposition and send special forces to Venezuela. "We have evidence that US companies and their NATO allies are working on the issue of acquiring a large batch of weapons and ammunition in an Eastern European country for their subsequent transfer to Venezuelan opposition forces," Zakharova told the journalists in a briefing. The US provocations are driving Venezuela to the brink of a Syria-style home conflict. Following the Saturday border clashes, Guaido in a Twitter post said that the border incident pushed him to officially propose to the international community to consider all of the options to guarantee the freedom of Venezuela. Mark Stammer, the commander of the US Southern Command which is tasked with addressing Latin American military affairs, visited Colombia last week, triggering speculations about the possibility of US military action against Venezuela. After Guaido’s meeting with the US Vice-President Mike Pence on Monday, it appears that Washington and its allies will embark on tougher actions against Caracas.

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