On April 14th, Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez revealed information of the alleged right-wing “terrorist cell.”
US-Proclaimed President Juan Guaido’s adviser Roberto Marrero is accused of being a part of it. So are Juan Guaido, Ricardo Hausmann, Leopoldo Lopez, and others.
#LIVE | #Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information @jorgerpsuv: "#Guaido's brother among others were in charge of taking out money from the oil company of #Venezuela and also they were trying to take control of the money that was stolen from the Bank of England. pic.twitter.com/0s1OAAZZXD
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 11, 2019
Roberto Marrero was arrested on March 21st, after the Venezuelan intelligence services and the Prosecution allegedly discovered a link between him and “violent right-wing organizations.”
According to Rodriguez, the information Marrero provided voluntarily to the prosecutor’s office, in addition to information discovered on his cell phone, presented a large operation of political, military and financial aggression.
“In Mr. Marrero’s phone there are groups of fascist, terrorist factors of the Venezuelan right, planning violent actions and to steal state assets,” the information minister said.
“One of the groups is the so-called “Cocoon 2.0”, whose members are Juan Guaido, Ricardo Hausmann, Freddy Guevara, Leopoldo Lopez, Octavio Lara, Alejandro Plaz, Baquero, Carlos Vecchio, Enrique Sanchez Falcon, Fernando Martinez Mottola, Gerardo Blyde, Gustavo Tarre, Jose Ignacio Hernandez, Juan Andres Mejía, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, Julio Castillo, Sergio Vergara, Victorino, Gina Montiel, Douglas Barrios, Mike Penfold, Jose Joaquin Da Silva, Luis Vezga Godoy, and Tuto Quiroga,” teleSUR reported.
In the discovered chats from the group, there are three forms of aggression that were planned:
“The first is the threat to obstruct transactions with debit and credit cards causing the payment system to collapse;
The second is to appropriate and distribute in a right-wing corruption network more than US$ 400 million of state assets from Citgo;
Third is to grab army deserters, put them in other uniforms, take a photos and issue fake statements.”
“We have managed to weaken them by the action of the Attorney General of the Republic, by the action of the State Security Corps, but that does not mean that don’t have moles planted to continue attacking the peace of the people”, stated Rodriguez.
Russia will also assist in the investigation into the alleged cyber attacks on the Venezuelan state power grid.
“Russia is providing the Venezuelan friends with all the necessary cooperation in response to the requests of the government of President Nicolas Maduro,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said.
According to Syromolotov, the alleged perpetrators knew the vulnerabilities of the system and were seeking to take advantage of them, because it was Western-made.
“Of course the masterminds of the attack knew well the operative algorithms, the vulnerabilities of the equipment and the corresponding systems,” he said. “They and the instigators of sabotage are responsible for the deaths of people, including of those in hospitals which were left without electricity.”
Also on April 14th, the International Monetary Fund’s director Christine Lagarde said that the World Bank and the IMF decided to not recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, but they will support whoever the Venezuelans choose internally.
Meanwhile, Juan Guaido himself wrote a piece, that was published by Bloomberg, appealing to China to “switch sides in Venezuela.”
In his article, Guaido appealed to China, citing the worsening situation in Venezuela and saying that:
“I trust that China, whose leaders know exactly what’s happening here, will contribute as the great power that it is and help facilitate the political transition that we so urgently need. Nicolas Maduro has lost his popular support and we want to see a peaceful transition as soon as possible. We have already been in contact with Chinese authorities who know our position and disposition to work together in the future.”
He also cited the US, EU and “most of” the Latin American countries that already support the opposition.
He concluded with the call for China to “add its voice to the chorus.”
Guaido’s appeal came several days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed China for worsening the situation in Venezuela while speaking at Santiago, Chile.
“China’s bankrolling of the Maduro regime helped precipitate and prolong the crisis in that country,” Pompeo said, adding that China invested over $60 billion, “with no strings attached.”
“It’s no surprise that Maduro used the money to use for tasks like paying off cronies, crushing pro-democracy activists, and funding ineffective social programs,” he said.
“I think there’s a lesson, a lesson to be learned for all of us: China and others are being hypocritical calling for non-intervention in Venezuela’s affairs. Their own financial interventions have helped destroy that country.”
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang dismissed Pompeo’s claims as slander and said that China’s position on Venezuela is clear and consistent and in line with UN Charter.
“We have taken note of the groundless accusations Secretary Pompeo leveled against China on the Venezuela issue. I would like to point out that China’s position on the Venezuela issue is clear and consistent. We are committed to upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and peace and stability in the region. US Secretary of State Pompeo’s attempts to slander China and sow discord between China and Latin American countries are irresponsible and nonsensical. We are strongly opposed to it. The US has long been treating Latin America as its backyard, where it would resort to willful use of pressure, threat or even subversion. People can tell right from wrong. I am sure Latin American countries are fully capable of telling a true friend from a false one who is ignoring rules and spreading chaos.”
He also said that China noted that certain US officials have been “touring the globe with the same script in their pockets to smear China, starting fires and fanning the flames and sowing discords. Such behaviors are really beneath their dignity. A lie will remain a lie, even if repeated a thousand times. Monsieur Pompeo might as well take a break.”
On April 14th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finished his tour of four South American countries trying to popularize the regime change in Venezuela.
On the final day, Pompeo met with Colombian president Ivan Duque and visited a refugee shelter at Cucuta, at the border Colombian border with Venezuela.
In a very Ronald Reagan-esque fashion, Pompeo called on Venezuelan President Maduro to “open these bridges, open these borders,” as well as to give up power. Attempting to create the notion that the refusal to allow US humanitarian aid is somehow comparable to the Berlin Wall.
“I hope you will care now when you see the horror, when you see the tragedy, to change your ways and to leave your country,” Pompeo said.
During his stop in Peru one day earlier, Pompeo praised the Lima government for “generously” taking in 700,000 Venezuelans who have escaped the crisis in their homeland.
“They fled their home country to escape the breakdown of health services, the limited water supply, the bare breadshelves, rolling blackouts and hyperinflation – part of the reason the United States has provided more than $30 million in humanitarian aid to Peru, complimenting your government’s efforts to provide protection for these Venezuelans,” Pompeo said.
He also thanked Peru for supporting US-Proclaimed President Juan Guaido.
“We have exactly the same objective (as Peru),” Pompeo said. “Our objective is to allow people to stay in their home countries… We want to create conditions in these countries where they can stay in their own country and they don’t have the need to migrate somewhere else from Venezuela.”
Peru’s foreign affairs minister, Nestor Popolizio said that the Lima group was trying to coordinate efforts to isolate the Maduro government.
Separately, Canada on April 15th, announced that its expanding its sanctions on Venezuelan individuals tied to the Maduro government. 43 individuals were added to the list of 70, making the total number 113.
“These measures are being taken in response to the Maduro regime’s anti-democratic actions, particularly relating to the repression and persecution of the members of the interim government, censorship, and excessive use of force against civil society, undermining the independence of the judiciary and other democratic institutions.”
This is Canada’s fourth round of sanctions against the “Maduro regime,” since the previous three presumably didn’t prove too impactful.
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