The claim that Hezbollah has ties to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was reinforced by a report by the Jerusalem Post, citing former Venezuelan Intelligence Chief Hugo Carvajal.
The article was originally published on February 24th, but US National Security Adviser shared it on twitter on February 27th, with accusations that no longer mention “Maduro and his cronies,” but rather Maduro and “a counsel of terrorists and Cuban minders.”
While the people of Venezuela starved and the economy was destroyed, Maduro surrounded himself with the counsel of terrorists and Cuban minders. For the sake of Venezuela, Maduro must go. https://t.co/JP6wo1O6cd
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 27, 2019
According to the Jerusalem Post article, which itself cites a NYT report, Carvajal revealed powerful ties between the administration of President Nicolás Maduro and the Hezbollah terrorist group, as well as wide-spread corruption and drug activity.
Allegedly, those who were meant to combat drugs were engaged in trafficking them, Carvajal said.
El Aissami was not only a drug kingpin, said Carvajal, but also had connections to Hezbollah, and attempted to arrange Hezbollah terrorists to work with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] through Venezuela.
The claim that Hezbollah has ties with the Maduro government was initially suggested by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo close around 14 days earlier.
On February 24th, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif expressed his country’s support of Maduro’s government and slammed any foreign intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Thus, it is also possible that accusations of Iranian influence to being circulating the media soon.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported, citing opposition Legislator Angel Alvarado and three anonymous government sources who claimed that Nicolas Maduro had removed at least 8 tons of gold from the Venezuelan central bank’s vaults between February 20th and 22nd.
This was done while there were no regular security guards present at the bank. According to Alvarado they plan to sell it illegally abroad.
The anonymous sources and Alvarado did not say where the gold would be sold. They said the operation took place while central bank head Calixto Ortega was abroad on a trip.
Separately, on February 27th the containers were also placed on the Simon Bolivar bridge to block it as well. It is a major pedestrian crossing between Colombia and Venezuela. It is also the place where the “humanitarian aid truck” was set on fire allegedly by the Venezuelan military.
The Tienditas bridge, which is blocked for passage all year round was also blocked by shipping containers in January.
US-Proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido who travelled to Colombia, despite a travel ban imposed by the Venezuelan Supreme Court also travelled to Brazil on the evening of February 27th to meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as part of a tour of several nations to ratchet up international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Maduro said that Guaido should face justice after he returns to Venezuela because he went against the supreme court’s ruling.
Meanwhile, in his address to the UN Human Rights Council Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza suggested that Maduro and Trump should meet and “try to find common ground and explain their differences.”
“We’re calling for dialogue, dialogue with the United States – why not between Presidents Maduro and Trump? Why shouldn’t they meet so that they could try to find common ground and explain their differences?”
“Under the pretext of humanitarian aid, an intervention against Venezuela is intended,” he also said.
US Vice President Mike Pence discarded the suggestion, saying that the only thing to discuss is the exact “time and date of his [Maduro’s] departure.”
The only thing to discuss with Maduro at this point is the time and date for his departure. For democracy to return and for Venezuela to rebuild—Maduro must go. #VenezuelaLibre https://t.co/14U8qzWn4N
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 27, 2019
On Thursday, both the US and Russia submitted their own draft resolutions on the Venezuelan crisis.
The decision to submit the Russian draft resolution was announced by Russian mission to the UN Fyodor Strzhizhovsky.
An anonymous diplomatic source told TASS that the vote on Russia’s draft resolution on Venezuela at the UN Security Council is planned for Thursday.
“Voting on Russia’s draft will be held on Thursday after the vote on the US draft document,” the source said.
Maduro’s vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, is also to travel to Moscow for talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on March 1st. Russia has continued to support Maduro government throughout the crisis and despite continuing false media reports that it is doubting the “regime.”
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