On March 11th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the withdrawal of all remaining US diplomatic staff from Venezuela.
The decision reflects the “deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.”
The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from @usembassyve this week. This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 12, 2019
Pompeo also gave remarks on the situation in Venezuela, speaking about Cuba and Russia’s support, as well as Venezuela’s oil.
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 11, 2019
He reminded that Venezuela enters its 5th day of blackouts and “patients awaiting treatment in hospitals are dying, food is rotting, telecommunication networks are entirely collapsing.”
The entirety of the situation was blamed on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro:
“It’s worth spending just a minute on how we got here. Nicolas Maduro promised Venezuelans a better life in a socialist paradise, and he delivered on the socialism part, which has proved time and time again is a recipe for economic ruin. The paradise part, not so much. Just consider the facts. The World Bank ranks Venezuela’s business environment 188th out of 190 countries. Only Somalia and Eritrea are worse. The United States did not do that. The expropriations of land and industry and an end to the rule of law did that. Agriculture production is down 70 percent since 2006, manufacturing down by 75 percent, oil production down by half since Maduro took power in 2013. The United States didn’t do all that. Maduro did that.”
Maduro wouldn’t achieve these alleged “results” if it weren’t for his “enablers”: Russia and Cuba, according to the US Secretary of State.
“First, Cuba. No nation has done more to sustain the death and daily misery of ordinary Venezuelans, including Venezuela’s military and their families, than the communists in Havana. Cuba is the true imperialist power in Venezuela. The Cuban government of Miguel Diaz-Canel provides political cover for Maduro and his henchmen so that they may stay in power. It’s Cuba that has offered Maduro its unwavering solidarity. It’s Cuba that calls Venezuela’s true government, led by Interim President Juan Guaido, which 54 of the world’s democratic nations recognize as a legitimate government – the Cubans call this a puppet government of the United States.
Yet it’s Cuba that’s trained Venezuelans’ secret police and torture tactics, domestic spying techniques, and mechanisms of repression the Cuban authorities have wielded against their own people for decades. Members of the Cuban military and intelligence services are deeply entrenched in the Venezuelan state. Cuban security forces have displaced Venezuelan security forces in a clear violation of Venezuelan sovereignty. I even hear that Maduro has no Venezuelans around him.”
He furthermore claimed that Venezuela’s Maduro doesn’t decide the direction the country is heading, but rather that is being done by the “Cuban regime.”
This Cuban influence is due to two reasons, according to Pompeo. Firstly, a deeply corrupt ruling class in both countries and Maduro apparently “learned” from the Castros that corruption of military top brass is the way to remain in power. The second reason is the strong economic relationship between Venezuela and Cuba: Maduro allegedly sends 50 000 barrels per oil daily to Cuba, at a cheap price and in return Cuba helps him in exercising repression and remaining in power.
The second enabler, Russia: “It, too, for its own reasons is thwarting the Venezuelan people’s legitimate democratic hopes and their dreams,” Pompeo claimed.
Pompeo reminded that Russia blocked the US-proposed draft resolution at the UNSC, as well as is allegedly using its “disinformation organs like Russia Today and Sputnik to divert attention from the humanitarian disaster of the Maduro regime.”
“Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft continues to purchase crude oil cargoes from PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company in defiance of U.S. sanctions. And Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, continues to throw a lifeline to the regime. Recently, Sechin ordered Rosneft to sell even more oil to the Maduro regime. You’ll recall that PDVSA was once known as the crown jewel of the Venezuelan people. PDVSA is today now a personal ATM for the Maduro regime and for Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats.”
Pompeo was also asked by AP’s Matt Lee about US plans in regard to Venezuelan oil. The answer was that this was not being done for oil:
“For the Venezuelan people. We are attempting to restore basic rule of law, transparency, democracy, and the wealth that sits in the property basin of Venezuela is for the Venezuelan people.”
In Venezuela, US-Proclaimed President Juan Guaido and the opposition-controlled National Assembly of which he is the speaker made two decisions:
- The National Assembly announced a state of emergency over the blackouts, proposed by Guaido, using his “constitutional powers as President.”
Cumpliendo con mis atribuciones constitucionales como Presidente (E), he enviado a la @AsambleaVE la solicitud para que se decrete estado de alarma en todo el territorio nacional debido a la tragedia que vive el país a causa del apagón nacional sostenido. #ANSesiónDeEmergencia pic.twitter.com/et5WjL8uy0
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 11, 2019
“In compliance with my constitutional powers as President (E), I have sent the @AsambleaVE request for a state of alarm throughout the national territory due to the tragedy that the country is experiencing because of the sustained national blackout.”
- All crude exports to Cuba, following the collapse of the national electrical grid were suspended. Insurance companies and flag carriers that facilitate these give-away shipments to Cuba are now on notice.
The Venezuelan National Assembly has decreed the suspension of crude exports to Cuba following the collapse of the national electrical grid. Insurance companies and flag carriers that facilitate these give-away shipments to Cuba are now on notice.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 11, 2019
Por eso, hemos decidido tomar medidas inmediatas: no vamos seguir financiando la injerencia de los cubanos en nuestras fuerzas armadas. Y solicitamos la cooperación internacional para hacer efectiva esta medida.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 11, 2019
“That is why we have decided to take immediate action: we will not continue to finance the interference of Cubans in our armed forces. And we ask for international cooperation to make this measure effective.”
On the side of the Maduro government, President Maduro announced an extension of the suspension of work and school activities until March 13th.
Furthermore, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez claimed that since March 7th, 5 attacks took place on Venezuela’s electrical system.
Maduro provided a clarification on the three phases of the alleged attack on the Venezuelan electrical system:
El presidente de Venezuela, @NicolasMaduro, explicó cómo fueron los #AtaquesCibernéticos perpetrados contra el sistema eléctrico de la nación que dejó en la penumbra a la población por varios días → https://t.co/RUL40nWXPl pic.twitter.com/3zjKkEqBib
— teleSUR TV (@teleSURtv) March 12, 2019
- Cybernetic attack: An attack on the computerized system of the company CORPOELEC at the El Guri hydroelectric plant; A group of cyber warfare experts was used to recover the system.
- Electromagnetic Way: Mobile devices with high frequencies were used to knock down communications;
- Physical Way: The burning and direct bombings of substations and electrical stations.
The president denounced that the sabotage is “a great violation of human rights in our country by the right wing, who celebrate national suffering.”
In a televised message to the nation, Maduro claimed that “the time for active resistance” had arrived and called that pro-regime formations to take active measures against “traitors.” He also accused the National Assembly of being guilty of “treason.”
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 12, 2019
“I am sure there have been serious crimes against human rights and treason to lead us into a state of despair and calls from the Assembly for an intervention. It’s a demonic strategy. It’s time for justice against the internally responsible,” Maduro said.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- US Pressures India To Stop Purchasing Venezuelan Oil Amid Developing Indo-Pakistani Tensions
- Venezuela Enters Fourth Day Of Power Outages As Military Moves In To Protect Power Lines
- Blackouts Continue In Venezuela After Another Alleged Cyber-Attack