On February 5th, US President Donald Trump held his “State of the Union” address. In it he reinforced his support for Venezuela’s US-proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido. President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has accused Guaido and his allies of staging a coup. Maduro also says the US and other foreign powers are waging an “economic war” aimed at removing him from power.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair,” Trump said.
A Politico correspondent, Nahal Toosi, said the following regarding Trump’s claims.
“Trump says Venezuela’s government failed because of its socialist policies. The reality is more complicated. Nicolas Maduro’s opponents say his government has failed because it runs more like a corrupt narco mafia state.”
Meanwhile, a bank in Portugal blocked Venezuela’s attempt to transfer $1.2 billion to Uruguay a member of opposition said on February 5th.
Portugal-based Novo Banco halted the $1.2 billion transfer of Venezuelan government financial assets to Uruguayan banks, legislator Carlos Paparoni said during a congressional session. On the previous day Guaido warned that the Venezuelan authorities were attempting to move funds.
“I’m pleased to inform the Venezuelan people that this transaction has until now been halted, protecting the resources of all Venezuelans,” Paparoni said.
Venezuela’s Information Ministry has not yet provided comment. Lisbon-based Novo Banco, which is 75 percent-owned by U.S. private equity firm Lone Star Funds has also not yet commented.
Furthermore, Pope Francis said he had received a letter from Maduro, but he had not yet read it. Maduro told Italian broadcaster Sky TG24 on February 4th that he had sent the letter to the pope “for help in the process of facilitating and reinforcing dialogue.”
Asked about a possible direct mediation effort by the Vatican, the pope said, “I will read the letter and see what can be done, but the initial condition is that both sides ask for it. We are willing.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RIA Novosti that the Venezuelan crisis can only be solved through dialogue between the government and opposition.
“We continue to believe that the only way to exit this crisis is by sitting the government and opposition down at the negotiating table,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by RIA. “Otherwise it will simply be the same regime change that the West had done many times.”
During the same speech, Lavrov said that the EU member states are completely disregarding Russia and China as sides in the efforts to alleviate the Venezuelan crisis. That, according to him, is strange.
“It is strange why our interest in participating in the search for opportunities for the Venezuelan parties to negotiate is not taken into account, the same goes for the Chinese interest,” Lavrov said
Venezuelan authorities seized a US weapons shipment, RT reported. US-made weapons were discovered at the storage yard of Arturo Michelena International Airport in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, the Interior Ministry claimed.
✔118 cargadores de fusil
✔4 porta fusil
✔3 miras para fusil
✔90 antenas de radio
✔6 teléfonos fueron hallados en el patio de almacenamiento del aeropuerto de Valencia los cuales ingresaron al país el #3Feb en el Air Bus N881YV procedente de Miami,EEUU #5Feb pic.twitter.com/5wnBFnxaFt
— GD Endes Palencia Ortiz (@PalenciaEndes) February 5, 2019
— MPPRIJP (@MIJPVenezuela) February 5, 2019
The stash included at least 19 rifles and 118 magazines, high-caliber ammunition, as well as 90 radios and six mobile phones – and was likely sent from Miami, Florida on February 3rd.
An investigation has been launched to determine the intendent recipient.
On February 6th, the Guardian published an article looking into the Venezuelan Faes Special Forces, who reportedly strike fear into people at Maduro’s behest.
“Faes – the special action force – has earned notoriety since the uprising against Maduro began last month. Graffiti artists have daubed Caracas’ walls with messages denouncing its operatives as ‘murderers of the people.’”
In a recent post on Instagram, the group said that its responsibility was to “guarantee security, tranquility and peace” for all Venezuelans. It also called out Juan Guaido on attempting to spread “fake news” regarding the group.
View this post on Instagram
#Venezuela #31ene #2019 Las Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales del @cpnb_ve Leales a nuestro Presidente Constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moros, y apegados siempre a la CRBV y demás leyes de la República. Informamos a la opinión pública nacional e internacional; que no, nos prestamos a los Fake News que pretenden generar elementos de la derecha criminal en nuestro país. El pueblo de #Venezuela lo sabe: “Nuestra lucha es contra los criminales que azotan nuestras comunidades” todo el que le teme al #FAES es porque es criminal. #NosotrosVenceremos
However, activists claim that since the attempts to oust Maduro they’ve assumed a more “political role” to tackle the challenges that the authorities face.
In an Instagram video, a Faes commander urges troops to show “absolute loyalty to Maduro” given the “extremely difficult moments” his administration was facing. “As soldiers who are faithful to the revolution, let’s go for it, let’s really go for it – without hesitation,” he says.
Asked about alleged killings by the group on Venezuelan television last week, the attorney general, Tarek William Saab, said the criminal responsibility for such acts was “individual. Those who commit violations … will be prosecuted, whichever part of the police they are from.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- The Saker: “The US Aggression Against Venezuela as a Diagnostic Tool”
- Colombia Deploys More Troops, Equipment Near Border As ‘Lima Group’ Declares Support To Guaido
- Trump Says Military Intervention In Venezuela Is “On The Table”, Maduro Warns Of Latin American “Vietnam War”