The Precursor – Yesterday there was a meeting at the White House between FL Senator Rick Scott, FL Governor Ron DeSantis, FL Senator Marco Rubio, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump. Florida is home to most of the Venezuela political exiles and opposition groups who oppose Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Today, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president while surrounded by thousands of supporters. At a rally that brought hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans into the east of Caracas, Guaido said Maduro had usurped power and promised to create a transitional government that would help the country escape its hyperinflationary economic collapse.
“I swear to assume all the powers of the presidency to secure an end to the usurpation,” 35-year old Guaido, the head of the opposition-run congress, told an exuberant crowd.
Minutes later, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Guaido as the legitimate interim president.
Within hours of the support for Juan Guaido being announced by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo,…. Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile and Guatemala followed suit and also voiced their support.
(Via Reuters) […] Guaido’s declaration takes Venezuela into uncharted territory, with the possibility of the opposition now running a parallel government recognized abroad as legitimate but without control over state functions.
In a televised broadcast from the presidential palace, Maduro accused the opposition of seeking to stage a coup with the support of the United States, which he said was seeking to govern Venezuela from Washington.
“We’ve had enough interventionism, here we have dignity, damn it! Here is a people willing to defend this land,” said Maduro, flanked by top Socialist Party leaders, although the defense minister and members of the military high command were absent. (read more)
It’s never a good sign for a dictator when the military isn’t standing next to him/her during the coup.
Keep in mind that China has invested hundreds of billions into Venezuela in an attempt to prop up the Maduro regime. Russia has also given Venezuela a lot of financial support.
China currently owns 49% of PDVSA (Venezuela oil production) and receives reimbursement for the continued inbound cash flow via oil exports. However, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin placed restrictions on that process last year; and said any nation that engages in oil sales may run the risk of economic sanctions from the U.S. Venezuela and China were both impacted financially. [Cuba and Russia became the fall back position]
If regime change is successful in Venezuela there’s a likelihood all of the prior investments by China, Russia and Cuba could be worthless instantly. Geopolitically this couldn’t come at a worse time for China given their economic softening…. then again, the timing here is almost guaranteed to be by design.
5:10 p.m. – Lawmakers in Russia, which has close relations with Venezuela, are sharply critical of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of an opposition politician who has declared himself the country’s legitimate interim president.
“I think that in this developing situation the United States is trying to carry out an operation to organize the next color revolution in Venezuela,” the deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, Andrei Klimov, told state news agency RIA-Novosti. “Color revolution” is a Russian term for the popular uprisings that unseated leaders in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
“I do not think that we can recognize this — it is, in essence, a coup,” another committee member, Vladimir Dzhabrailov, was quoted as saying by the Interfax agency.
Russia is a major political ally of Venezuela, and Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, is heavily invested in the South American nation’s oil fields, which produce less crude each month. (link)