More upheaval on the Venezuelan front. The head of Venezuela’s secret police has turned his back on disputed President Nicolas Maduro in an open letter made public a week ago.
Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the head of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), is the highest-ranking member of the country’s security forces. He suggested his security forces should break with, and withdraw their support for, Maduro. Guaidó had called for a military uprising, Tuesday morning. The authenticity of the letter was confirmed to The Associated Press by a U.S. official. Figuera wrote that while he always had been loyal to Maduro, “the time has come to seek new ways of doing politics” to try and “rebuild the country.”
Juan Guaidó – whom the U.S. and 53 other countries recognize as the nation’s legitimate leader – called for further protests in a statement on social media. “Maduro does not have the backing or respect from the Venezuelan armed forces, much less the Venezuelan people,” Guaidó said.
The only problem I can see with that is the Maduro regime has shut down the internet. So the fact that most citizens don’t have reliable electricity or predictable access to the internet puts any coordinated uprising attempt at a severe disadvantage.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Tuesday that embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro was preparing to leave the country for Cuba, but was talked out of it by Russia, a claim that Maduro denies. “We’ve watched throughout the day, it’s been a long time since anyone’s seen Maduro,” Pompeo said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “He had an airplane on the tarmac and was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it when the Russians indicated he should stay.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in a televised address, dismissed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claims that the embattled leader was ready to flee the country as he also vowed that protesters against his regime “cannot go unpunished.” Maduro was in part responding to Pompeo’s claim that the socialist leader had been on the brink of fleeing Venezuela before Russia thwarted those plans.
The unstated fear is, if the transfer of power from Maduro to Guaidó is not successful, Venezuela could continue to be doomed to starvation and unrest due to the current government’s influence for an indeterminate amount of time. Along with the fact that many other “bad actors” continue to gather in the vicinity and spread their influence. China, Russia,and Cuba to name a few, not to mention some from the Middle East
The defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, originally indicated he would support Guaidó. It is rumored that Lopez and his family went to the Spanish Embassy for protection. The stakes are very high for Guaidó and Lopez,” said Kevin Ivers, a Latin American expert and vice president of the DCI Group. “The regime has the authority to arrest and possibly kill them, which could be the end of what started in January, with Guaido’s move to declare himself president.”
Maduro does not have the backing or respect from the Venezuelan armed forces, much less the Venezuelan people,” Guaido said in a video message. But Lopez, his mentor, and the real leading opposition figure decided to enter the Spanish embassy in Caracas with his family for protection on Tuesday.
Guaidó’s push for a general strike and for Venezuelans to remain in the streets – which was met with cheers Wednesday by a crowd of thousands that had gathered to hear him speak in Caracas seems to have lost steam over the past 48 hours and it may be due to all the lives lost in the previous engagements between the Maduro loyalists and Guaidó’s supporters. Unfortunately for the Guaidó supporters the military is still wielded by Maduro. As of Thursday afternoon, the streets of Venezuela’s capital have remained calm, the Associated Press reports. The current situation is in contrast to clashes between Maduro loyalists and Guaidó’s supporters in La Victoria and Caracas over the past two days, which have left four dead, the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict announced. Human rights activists say at least 230 people were injured and 205 were detained during the violence.
More to come as the story continues to unfold. Remember, “it ain’t over til it’s over”.
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The Venezuelan Spring Continues to amaze me and I am truly concerned for the future of the people there!