Russia Describes Trump’s Calls On Venezuelan Military To Defect As ‘Blackmail’




Venezuela

Map of Venezuela

 

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, on Tuesday slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls for the Venezuelan military to accept opposition leader Juan Guaido’s offer of amnesty as blackmail.

Trump on Monday said that the military of the Latin American country could either accept Guaido’s “generous” offer or “lose everything” as there would otherwise be no way out for them.

Trump said this in a speech to Venezuelan Americans in Miami.

Prior to the speech, the White House warned that the U.S. knew where Venezuelan military officials were hiding their money abroad.

“Media: ‘Trump called on Venezuelan military to accept Guaido’s offer of amnesty and warned that they would “lose everything” otherwise.’

Blackmail as a means of returning ‘democracy’ to the Venezuelan people,” Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

After Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president in January, the country’s military voiced support for President Nicolas Maduro.

This was in spite of the fact that dozens of countries around the world had backed Guaido, supporting the opposition’s claims that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was illegitimate and that he had usurped power.

In an op-ed for The New York Times published later in January, Guaido wrote that the military’s support was necessary for the transition of power.

It further revealed that the opposition had had secret meetings with security forces, promising amnesty to all those, who had not committed crimes against humanity.

On Feb. 6, U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, also said that Washington was prepared to lift sanctions on senior Venezuelan military officers if they pledged their allegiance to the opposition leader.

Maduro, in turn, accused Guaido of acting at the instructions of the U.S. and stated that Washington was plotting together with the opponents of his government to overthrow him and get hold of Venezuela’s oil assets.

Trump warned members of Venezuela’s military, who remain loyal to President Maduro that they were risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

“If the Venezuelan military continues supporting Maduro, “you will find no safe harbour, no easy exit and no way out. You’ll lose everything.”

Maduro retaliated late on Monday that Trump’s speech was “nazi-style” and said he acted as if he were the owner of Venezuela and its citizens his slaves.

Trump offered strong backing for Guaido, whom the U.S., many of Venezuela’s neighbours and most Western countries have recognised as interim president of Venezuela.

Maduro retains the backing of Russia and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions, including the security services.

Guaido said that aid would enter Venezuela from neighbouring countries by land and sea on Saturday.

The U.S. has sent tons of aid that is being stockpiled on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, but Maduro has refused to let it in.

Maduro called the aid a U.S.-orchestrated show and denies any crisis in spite many Venezuelans’ scant access to food and medicine.

“We will not make of the honourable Venezuela a Venezuela of beggars,” he said in televised comments on Monday. “We will not accept it.”
Maduro said Venezuela already received “humanitarian assistance” on a daily basis.

Russia, for example, was sending 300 tonnes of aid to the country by plane on Wednesday, he said, albeit clarifying this was not a donation but supplies for which Venezuela had paid.

“We seek a peaceful transition of power but all options are open,” Trump said.

It was a further hint of Trump’s repeated insistence that military options remain on the table, though most Latin America experts believe such action is unlikely.

But so far, few military officers have turned against Maduro.

Sputnik/NAN


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