Executive Intelligence Review


Amidst Venezuelan-U.S. Standoff, Provocations Abound

Feb. 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Attention is now being focused on Feb. 23, the date on which Venezuelan “interim president” Juan Guaidó has said humanitarian aid will begin to enter Venezuela, but no indication of how.

Tensions along the Colombian-Venezuelan border are running high. Neo-con Florida Sen. Marco Rubio showed up in the Colombian city of Cucuta, site of an international bridge into Venezuela, to loudly demand that aid, only for the self-declared acting president Guaidó, be allowed in. Aid is also being collected at Boa Vista and Pacaraima in Brazil, in preparation for Feb. 23. Octavio de Rego Barros, spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, told the BBC that aid collection is “being coordinated with the U.S.” Recall that the Brazilian military had expressed caution about getting involved in the aid effort at all.

President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday that 300 tons of humanitarian aid from Russia would be delivered today at the Caracas airport and that additional aid would be arriving soon from “several countries,” with the aid of the United Nations.

Despite the fact that the situation is currently at a standoff, it would only take one act of violence, or a few dead bodies at the border, to blow the situation apart. That seems to be in the works. Colombia’s El Tiempo reported today that Adm. Craig Faller, head of the U.S. Southern Command, and Gen. Luis Navarro, head of the Colombian Armed Forces, met in Miami and issued a joint statement urging the Venezuelan military “to do the right thing” and let the U.S. humanitarian aid into the country on Feb. 23. General Navarro said that the duty of the Venezuelan military is to protect the country’s citizens, but added that Colombia’s military has logistics in place to deal with “any risk to the [Venezuelan] civilian population.” Asked what he would do were violence to occur on Feb. 23, he replied “we protect the civilian population.”

Provocations are also coming from Europe. On Feb. 18, five right-wing Members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party Group (EPP, Christian Democrats), landed in Caracas at the invitation of the opposition-run National Assembly, but were prohibited from entering and had to leave. Venezuelan diplomats in Europe had told the five they wouldn’t be allowed into the country, as they were conspiring against the Maduro government, but they went anyway. Now, they are using their “expulsion” to demand further retaliatory actions against Maduro and are holed up in Colombia to lobby against Maduro and participate in whatever occurs on Feb. 23.