Intense Diplomatic Activity Occurring Around Venezuelan Situation
May 17, 2019 (EIRNS)—A flurry of diplomatic activity has been taking place around seeking some resolution to the Venezuelan crisis, as it’s become clear that the neocon regime-change strategy of National Security Adviser John Bolton et al. has been an abject failure. Yesterday, several days of talks between representatives of the Nicolas Maduro government and the opposition concluded in Oslo, Norway. Norway’s NRK radio network reported May 16 that this is the second time talks have taken place in Oslo, and that talks have also taken place in Cuba.
No specifics have emerged from the Oslo meetings, or whether there will be future meetings. What is clear is that Cuba is playing a role, seen in the fact that Cuba’s First Deputy Foreign Minister was in Oslo on May 14-15. And, while the media are giving Canada much credit for involving Cuba, a more important question is what role the Trump Administration may be playing—particularly given Donald Trump’s anger at Bolton’s war-mongering antics.
On May 7, the Miami Herald reported on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “surprising” May 5 remarks on CBS’s Face the Nation that “we’re working with the Cubans to try and get an outcome” which would include the Cubans ceasing their support for Maduro, supporting new elections, etc. For the first time, Pompeo placed the Cuban presence in Venezuela at 2,300—a far cry from the 20,000 normally cited by Bolton. Pompeo’s remarks provoked so many questions that the State Department had to publicly explain that “we regularly engage with the Cuban government.” The period of May 3-6 saw meetings and phone conversations among President Trump, Vladimir Putin, Pompeo and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which Venezuela was a prominent topic of conversation.
On May 3, the 14-member Lima Group, of which Canada is a member, issued a statement promising to “take the steps necessary for Cuba to participate in the search for a solution to the crisis in Venezuela.” Yesterday, Canadian Foreign Minister Christa Freeland met in Havana with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, after which the Canadian Foreign Ministry issued a statement stressing that “it is of critical importance that our two countries meet to discuss the economic, political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and the work we can undertake together to address it.”