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EEUU aprueba severo proyecto de ley para enfrentar crisis de Venezuela por Sonia Osorio – El Nuevo Herald – 22 de Mayo 2019

El senador estadounidense Marco Rubio dijo el 22 de enero de 2019 que Nicolás Maduro no es presidente de Venezuela porque no fue elegido según la Constitución de ese país. 

Un proyecto de ley considerado como la legislación más amplia y severa hasta el momento para enfrentar la crisis en Venezuela y restaurar la democracia en ese país fue aprobado este miércoles por el comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado de Estados Unidos.

El proyecto Ley de Ayuda de Emergencia, Asistencia para la Democracia y Desarrollo de Venezuela (VERDAD) es liderado por los senadores Bob Menéndez, demócrata por Nueva Jersey, y Marco Rubio, republicano de Florida, que lo presentaron junto a otros congresistas en abril pasado.

“El comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado está enviando un mensaje bipartidista de apoyo al pueblo de Venezuela al aprobar la Ley VERDAD. El camino de Venezuela hacia la restauración del estado de derecho y del orden democrático exigirán un esfuerzo significativo por parte de los Estados Unidos, nuestros aliados regionales y de la comunidad internacional”, dijo Rubio en un comunicado.

El senador aseguró que su país continuará proporcionando la asistencia humanitaria “que tanto se necesita y ayudará a coordinar los esfuerzos para una Venezuela post-Maduro“.

Menéndez, a su vez, calificó la aprobación del proyecto como un paso trascendental de Estados Unidos para apoyar a los venezolanos “en este oscuro y difícil capítulo de su lucha por recuperar a su país del régimen de Nicolás Maduro y restaurar un proceso democrático”.

“A través de este esfuerzo bipartidista basado en objetivos compartidos y una diplomacia vigorosa y de principios, estamos estableciendo la estructura para que la administración Trump fortalezca el movimiento democrático en crecimiento de Venezuela”, dijo el senador.

Entre las medidas que incluye VERDAD destacan $400 millones en ayuda humanitaria, revocar las visas de los familiares de funcionarios sancionados del régimen chavista, sancionar el endeudamiento indebido del régimen de Nicolás Maduro y el comercio del oro y coordinar sanciones internacionales, en especial con gobiernos de países latinoamericanos y europeos.

El proyecto de ley también amplía las herramientas actuales para abordar la cleptocracia, reconoce y apoya formalmente los esfuerzos del presidente interino Juan Guaidó para restaurar la democracia y acelera la planificación con instituciones financieras internacionales para avanzar en la reconstrucción de Venezuela posterior a Maduro.

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

This afternoon Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed our Human Rights Act & our Verdad Act supporting humanitarian aid & democracy in

Los senadores que copatrocinaron VERDAD fueron Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), y Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Estos son algunos de los elementos clave de la legislación que ahora deberá ir a discusión en el pleno del Senado estadounidense:

Ayuda humanitaria:

-Autoriza $200 millones para enfrentar la crisis humanitaria de Venezuela y se destinará igual monto para ayudar a los venezolanos que se han refugiado en países vecinos.

-Solicita al Departamento de Estado que celebre una conferencia de donantes para coordinar financiamiento internacional para enfrentar la crisis humanitaria de Venezuela.

-Requiere al Representante Permanente de los Estados Unidos ante las Naciones Unidas un incremento en los esfuerzos en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU y las agencias de esa organización para que se aborde la crisis de Venezuela.

Enfrentar la cohesión del régimen:

-Informe clasificado sobre la “disminución de la cohesión dentro del ejército venezolano y el régimen de Maduro”. Requerir reportes de inteligencia sobre la dinámica de las fuerzas de seguridad venezolanas y el régimen.

-Restricciones adicionales sobre las visas. Prohíbe y anula visas para la familia de los individuos sancionados y elimina las restricciones del visado si la persona sancionada reconoce al presidente interino de Venezuela.

-Exención para los funcionarios sancionados que reconocen a Guaidó.

-Elimina las restricciones a las personas sancionadas que no están involucradas en abusos a los derechos humanos si reconocen al gobernante interino.

Restaurar la democracia y abordar la crisis política:

-Designar un Enviado Especial para Venezuela y establecer un grupo de trabajo interinstitucional.

-Apoyo al Grupo de Lima.

-Apoyo del Congreso de EEUU a los esfuerzos para responsabilizar a los funcionarios venezolanos por crímenes de lesa humanidad.

-Apoyo del Congreso a los esfuerzos del Secretario General de la OEA, Luis Almagro, para lograr una respuesta hemisférica a la crisis venezolana, que incluya invocar la Carta Democrática Interamericana.

-Se autorizan $14.5 millones para apoyar a la sociedad civil democrática y $500,000 para la observación internacional de futuras elecciones democráticas.

Reconstrucción de Venezuela:

-Involucrar a las instituciones financieras internacionales para avanzar en la reconstrucción de la economía de Venezuela y la infraestructura energética.

-Recuperación de activos robados al pueblo venezolano. El Departamento de Estado debe trabajar con el de Justicia y del Tesoro para diseñar una estrategia para identificar, bloquear y recuperar activos de las personas y de las instituciones robados, por lavado de dinero u otros medios ilícitos.

Restaurar el estado de derecho:

-El Departamento de Estado coordine sanciones internacionales y fortalezca la capacidad de los gobiernos de América Latina y el Caribe para que las impongan. Se autorizan $3 millones para los esfuerzos relacionados con este objetivo.

-Solicitar información de inteligencia sobre la participación de los funcionarios venezolanos en actividades ilícitas, incluido el narcotráfico.

-Sanciones a personas responsables de la corrupción pública.

-Sanciones financieras al endeudamiento indebido por parte del régimen de Maduro.

-Sanciones al comercio de oro del régimen de Maduro.

-Transacciones de la estatal petrolera PDVSA con la empresa rusa Rosneft. Requiere que “el Presidente tome todos los pasos necesarios para evitar que esta compañía obtenga el control de la infraestructura enérgica en EEUU”, en referencia a las inversiones que Rosneft realizó en la filial estadounidense de PDVSA, Citgo.

-Recaudar información clasificada sobre las actividades de gobiernos y personas extranjeras en Venezuela.

-Sanciones a la criptomoneda

Vecchio: “Muy positiva” reunión con el Departamento de Estado y el Pentágono – Noticiero Digital – 20 de Mayo 2019

Apróximadamente a las 3:45 p.m. de este lunes, el embajador designado por Juan Guaidó en Estados Unidos, Carlos Vecchio, anunció la culminación de una reunión realizada este lunes con el enviado del Departamento de Estado para Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, y con Sergio Peña, Subsecretario de Defensa para Asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental.

El representante diplomático detalló, a través de @CarlosVecchio que en la reunión con el Departamento de Estado y el Pentágono se abordaron aspectos relacionados con la crisis que atraviesa Venezuela y el escenario actual. Aseguró que los resultados del cónclave fueron “muy positivos”.

“Esta fue una conversación franca con nuestros aliados, con la cual nos vamos satisfechos. Sobre todo porque no va a ser la última sino que seguiremos trabajando con nuestros aliados, particularmente con este Gobierno que es mi responsabilidad”, dijo luego de culminar la reunión, según video publicado en TV Venezuela.

Por su parte, el presidente encargado, designado por la Asamblea Nacional, Juan Guaidó, indicó en un tuit que, con la reunión, “avanzamos en la construcción de capacidades y la cooperación internacional que nos permita salir de la crisis e iniciar la reconstrucción de nuestro país”.

Vecchio aseguró que el almirante Craig Faller había informado que, por decisiones superiores, la reunión que un principio fue solicitada al Comando Sur, terminó siendo “elevada de nivel” por la “prioridad que la Administración (de Donald Trump), asigna al caso Venezuela”.

“La búsqueda de soluciones a nuestra crisis se quiere manejar al nivel más alto de Estados Unidos”, dijo el político.

Aclaró que el Comando Sur forma parte del Departamento de Defensa de EEUU y que la decisión del gobierno fue que se sostuviera la reunión en el Departamento de Estado de manera conjunta con el Pentágono.

“Discutimos todos los aspectos de la crisis y opciones. Nos vamos satisfechos con progreso alcanzado. ¡Seguimos!”, escribió Vecchio.

Más temprano, a través de una nota publicada por la Agencia EFE, se anunció la suspensión de la reunión de  Vecchio con representantes del Comando Sur.

El objetivo del encuentro es conversar sobre “ayuda humanitaria y el futuro de Venezuela”, dijo a Efe uno de los portavoces del Departamento de Defensa, Chris Mitchell.

Otro portavoz del Departamento de Defensa dijo a Efe que en la cita no participará ningún representante del Comando Sur, la rama del Pentágono responsable de las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses en Latinoamérica y el Caribe.

Concretamente, la conversación se centrará en “el papel del Departamento de Defensa a la hora de suministrar ayuda humanitaria y apoyo regional tanto en el pasado como en el futuro”, especificó, por su parte, una portavoz del Departamento de Estado encargada de Latinoamérica.

“Como es una conversación diplomática privada, no compartiremos más detalles”, dijo a Efe la citada portavoz.

Otra fuente diplomática venezolana explicó a Efe que el encuentro se producirá a las 14.00 hora local (18.00 GMT) y no está previsto que las partes hagan ninguna declaración pública antes o después de la cita.

La cita se produce después de que, el 11 de mayo, Vecchio enviara una carta al jefe del Comando Sur, el almirante Craig Faller, para pedirle una reunión con el objetivo de conversar sobre cooperación militar destinada a “aliviar” el sufrimiento del pueblo venezolano y “restablecer” la democracia.

Venezuela atraviesa un pico de tensión política desde el pasado enero, cuando el presidente venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, juró un nuevo mandato de 6 años que no reconocen la oposición y parte de la comunidad internacional y, en respuesta, Guaidó, presidente del Parlamento, se proclamó mandatario interino del país.

EE.UU. fue la primera nación en reconocer a Guaidó como jefe de Estado y, desde entonces, ha tratado de presionar a Maduro con la revocación de visados a funcionarios venezolanos y sanciones a la empresa Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), principal fuente de divisas para Caracas.

Además, el presidente de EE.UU., Donald Trump, lleva meses insistiendo en que “todas las opciones”, incluida la militar, “están sobre la mesa” para resolver la situación en Venezuela. EFE

 

EEUU presiona al Gobierno español para que retire visas y frene la vida lujosa de los hijos de Padrino López por  Génesis Bastidas – Caraota Digital – 13 de Mayo 2019

padrino
Foto: cortesía

EEUU lleva meses tratando de ejercer presión sobre el Gobierno español de Pedro Sánchez para que le sean retirados los visados a los hijos del general Vladimir Padrino López y demás hijos de chavistas radicados en España. 

A consideración de Leopoldo López Gil, padre del líder Leopoldo López sugirió al periódico El Español que España no tiene decisiones tan fuertes desde que Sánchez llegó al poder en junio de 2019. Si bien está agradecido «por los pronunciamientos públicos» de Josep Borrell y el presidente del Gobierno, «siempre a favor del pueblo de Venezuela», tanto él como otros líderes de la oposición del país suramericano dudan de la fiabilidad de la diplomacia española.

La nueva posición tomada por España ha hecho que EEUU dude sobre el apoyo al presidente encargado de Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, algunas fuentes de El Español, calificaron de «equilibrista» la posición del país europeo.

EEUU no habría confiado en el Gobierno español para comentarle los planes de la Operación Libertad contra Nicolás Maduro, en donde presuntamente Vladimir Padrino fue pieza clave en busca de su salvoconducto.

Sus hijos lo esperaban en Madrid 

El pasado 30 de abril los hijos de Padrino esperaban a su padre, ellos viven como sus amigos venezolanos vinculados al chavismo, en apartamentos de lujo del barrio de Salamanca.

¿Cómo se puede frenar la vida de ricos que llevan? Salvo que se modifique la ley española como pide EEUU se puede frenar la residencia llena de lujos de los hijos de Padrino López.

El visado sin preguntas del que gozan los hijos del chavismo

En el año 2013, y escondido dentro de una nueva legislación de «apoyo a los emprendedores y su internacionalización», el Gobierno de España abrió la puerta a la concesión de visados sin preguntas.

Esa norma, se ideó en plena crisis española para captar a extranjeros, permitía que para empezar a residir en España con un permiso de residencia bastaba con llegar en bienes inmuebles.

Artículo 63.2.b) el texto explica los requisitos para que «la adquisición de bienes inmuebles en España con una inversión de valor igual o superior a 500.000 euros por cada solicitante» baste para que «los extranjeros no residentes que se propongan entrar en territorio español» soliciten «el visado de estancia, o en su caso, de residencia para inversores»

De esa manera, la los hijos de los chavistas han llegado a España y actualmente gozan de grandes residencias y gustos lujosos.

Aviso de desalojo Embajada de Venezuela en Washington – 13 de Mayo 2019

Carta del Embajador Carlos Vecchio al Comando Sur de EEUU – 11 de Mayo 2019

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Seeks Contact With U.S. Military by  Ezra Fieser  and  Andrew Rosati – Bloomberg – 11 de Mayo 2019

  • U.S. Southern Command head says open to meeting opposition
  • Maduro has cracked down since attempt overthrow failed
Juan Guaido on May 11.
Juan Guaido on May 11. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido told an emissary to meet with U.S. military officials in a bid to establish “direct” cooperation, a signal he’s warming to the idea of intervention by force after months of failed attempts to topple President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido told supporters during a rally in Caracas on Saturday that he’s sending his envoy in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, to meet immediately with Florida-based Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, “to be able to establish a direct and far-reaching relationship in terms of cooperation.”

Venezuela Charge D'Affaires Carlos Vecchio Interview

Carlos Alfredo Vecchio

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Admiral Craig Faller, the head of Southern Command, said on Twitter this week he was open to meeting with Guaido and what he termed the “legitimate” government of Venezuela.

“I look forward to discussing how we can support the future role of those @ArmadaFANB leaders who make the right decision, put the Venezuela people first & restore constitutional order,” Faller said in the tweet, referring to the Venezuelan armed forces.

View image on Twitter

U.S. Southern Command

@Southcom

When invited by @jguaido & the legitimate gov’t of , I look forward to discussing how we can support the future role of those @ArmadaFANB leaders who make the right decision, put the Venezuela people first & restore constitutional order. We stand ready!

Guaido has thus far stopped short of openly calling for an invasion, though he’s increasingly floated the idea as an option as the opposition faces an aggressive crackdown from the Maduro regime.

On Friday, he told Italy’s La Stampa newspaper he “would probably accept” an intervention if the U.S. proposed it. While the Trump administration has said all options “are on the table,” neighboring Latin American countries have repeatedly rejected the idea of military intervention by Washington, and there’s no indication the U.S. is preparing to send troops.

Interim Government

The 35-year-old Guaido in January launched an interim government by invoking Venezuela’s constitution after Maduro began another six-year term following 2018 elections widely regarded as rigged. The head of the National Assembly has since won the recognition of more than 50 countries.

Maduro has cracked down on Guaido’s supporters since a failed coup attempt on April 30. This week, the Sebin secret police jailed the National Assembly’s Vice President Edgar Zambrano, 10 lawmakers were stripped of their immunity from prosecution, and others have taken refuge in embassies or have gone into hiding.

Against that backdrop, Guaido’s call for major street demonstrations Saturday in response drew meager crowds.

Facing intense international pressure and increasingly tight economic sanctions, Maduro has warned of U.S. intervention. The government said that the U.S. is “promoting, organizing, and financing” a series of actions designed “to produce a change of government by force,” state-backed Telesur TV reported Saturday.

Venezuelan Embassy’s Power Cut Off in Tense Washington Standoff by Patricia Mazzei and Zach Montague – The New York Times – 9 de Mayo 2019

Greisy Correa, left, and Michelle Valoz outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.CreditCreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

A chaotic political standoff with international diplomatic implications began unfolding quietly weeks ago on a leafy side street in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, as a group of American activists moved into the five-story Venezuelan Embassy and made themselves at home.

They were there, they said, to keep the United States from going to war.

With some 100 Venezuelan diplomats still working inside during the day, the activists from Code Pink and other antiwar groups brought their things to spend the night, sleeping on couches to keep the building occupied around the clock. They said they were guests, invited by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, and their mission was to oppose any American military intervention in the troubled South American nation.

Appointees of Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the United States and some 50 other countries as Venezuela’s interim president, had pledged to take over the embassy, a move those now occupying the facility fear could lead to a reciprocal siege of the American Embassy in Venezuela, and an armed conflict.

Late last month, local Venezuelans who support Mr. Guaidó learned of the occupation and descended on the building, demanding that the activists, whom they view as unlawful trespassers, get out.

 

The extraordinary stalemate has challenged local authorities and the Trump administration, turning the inoperative embassy into a stand-in for the much larger crisis vexing Venezuela, as Mr. Maduro’s supporters maintain control in spite of efforts by the opposition and the United States.

“We are in a lawless kind of situation,” said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of Code Pink.

The occupying groups, which call themselves the Embassy Protection Collective, plan to rally outside of the building on Saturday. The gathering seems likely to also draw out more Venezuelans to demonstrate in opposition.

The antiwar activists have been alone in the embassy building since late April, when the American visas for the shoestring embassy staff expired, forcing the diplomats to go home.

Venezuelans have set up a perimeter of tents and canopies outside the embassy.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Ms. Benjamin said she is trying to preserve the peace until a neutral third party, such as the government of Switzerland, takes over the embassy. Mr. Guaidó’s supporters insist they are not making a case for American military intervention in Venezuela, but only want the Americans to leave a building that does not belong to them.

 

The occupiers have filled windows in the upper floors with block-letter posters spelling out “COUP FAIL.” Washington police and the Secret Service have set up a barrier separating the pro-Guaidó camp from Maduro sympathizers and other activists across the street.

The former ambassador is long gone, recalled months ago by Mr. Maduro. Even before the rest of the diplomats left, the embassy had stopped providing services like passport renewals. Carlos Vecchio, the ambassador named by Mr. Guaidó and recognized by the White House, has showed up at the embassy steps twice in the past week, but has not been let in.

Francisco Márquez, Mr. Vecchio’s political adviser, said that once the United States recognized Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s constitutional leader, those inside the embassy lost their legitimacy as guests of Mr. Maduro. The State Department has also said it considers their presence to be “unauthorized.”

“There’s no doubt of who has authority over the embassy,” Mr. Márquez said. “We literally have foreigners trespassing on Venezuelan territory. They’re actually committing a crime.”

No one has gone in to forcibly remove anyone. Ms. Benjamin said doing so would violate an international treaty that protects the sovereignty of diplomatic missions. Mr. Márquez said the treaty applies to the recognized government in question — that is, Mr. Guaidó’s — and would not protect Code Pink and the other groups.

When Pepco, the power utility, sent an employee to go into a manhole on Wednesday night and cut the building’s electricity, Ms. Benjamin questioned whether Pepco had faced political pressure from the Trump administration. She said the electrical bill has been paid through the end of May.

Mr. Márquez said Pepco acted after Mr. Vecchio reached out to the utility and explained the situation. Ben Armstrong, a Pepco spokesman, declined to comment, “out of respect for customer privacy and public safety.” The embassy still has running water, according to Ms. Benjamin.

Corali Rodriguez at a back entrance to the embassy. Late on Wednesday, the power company shut off electricity to the embassy, leaving the activists inside in darkness.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has called on the occupiers to leave the building, compared the shut-off electricity at the embassy to power shortages in Venezuela.

“Now they know what life is like for the people of #Venezuela under #Maduro,” Mr. Rubio wrote on Twitter.

At the peak of the embassy occupation, some 50 people were inside, sleeping on the floor, sharing cooking duties and engaging in art and music activities. But only about 15 people remain in the building, Ms. Benjamin said. The others have been unable to return ever since protesters arrived and effectively blockaded most entrances.

Two activists have been arrested in recent days for trying to deliver food. One tossed bread and lettuce onto the embassy patio, Ms. Benjamin said. Another tried to toss a cucumber. An attempt to bring in food via a window rope-and-pulley contraption proved unsuccessful.

“Every time we’ve tried to bring food in, we have been physically attacked by the opposition,” Ms. Benjamin said, accusing the Secret Service of siding with the Venezuelan protesters. The Secret Service said it was not interfering with the delivery of food or supplies into the building.

“They’re not hostages — they can come outside and eat,” said Gabriela Febres, a Venezuelan who has been at the site for 10 days. “They can protest, but so can we, and that’s what we’re doing. They can protest all they want, but not inside the building. They can go to the Capitol and express their dislike with Trump at the Capitol with their senators.”

On Thursday, Ms. Benjamin scheduled a news conference to denounce the cutoff of electricity. But those gathered outside the embassy blared a loud horn and banged empty pots and pans, making it nearly impossible for her to speak. Later in the afternoon, at least 30 people were scattered outside; that number typically swells to more than twice that in the evening and on weekends when people are off work. Speakers on a sound booth out front periodically play music.

Mr. Guaidó’s supporters have covered a wall with pictures of prominent anti-Maduro activists, including several whose deaths they blame on the government. A handwritten poster out back laid out, in Spanish, a code of conduct urging people to respect the embassy site and “be assertive, not offensive.” Ms. Benjamin accused those assembled outside of shoving her and making sexist and racist comments; the Venezuelans said one of the activists shoved a pregnant woman.

“We’re not trying to hurt anyone by doing what we’re doing,” said Ms. Bustillos, who is now preparing to enter her ninth day outside the embassy. “We’re just asking them to please come out.”

A frustrated Trump questions his administration’s Venezuela strategy by Anne Gearan, Josh Dawsey, John Hudson and Seung Min Kim – The Washington Post – 8 de Mayo 2019

GettyImages-632487484

President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.

Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment he has made in jest in the past but that now belies his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.

The administration’s policy is officially unchanged in the wake of a fizzled power play last week by U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó. But U.S. officials have since been more cautious in their predictions of Maduro’s swift exit, while reassessing what one official described as the likelihood of a diplomatic “long haul.”

U.S. officials point to the president’s sustained commitment to the Venezuela issue, from the first weeks of his presidency as evidence that he holds a realistic view of the challenges there, and does not think there is a quick fix.

But Trump has nonetheless complained over the last week that Bolton and others underestimated Maduro, according to three senior administration officials who like others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

Trump has said Maduro is a “tough cookie,” and that aides should not have led him to believe that the Venezuelan leader could be ousted last week, when Guaidó led mass street protests that turned deadly.

Instead, Maduro rejected an offer to leave the country and two key figures in his government backed out of what Bolton said had been a plan to defect. Maduro publicly mocked Trump in response and said he wasn’t going anywhere, saying the United States had attempted a “foolish” coup.

Bolton publicly revealed the defection plan to apply pressure to Maduro, which U.S. officials said has worked. They claim Maduro is sleeping in a bunker, paranoid that close aides will turn on him.

But Trump has expressed concern that Bolton has boxed him into a corner and gone beyond where he is comfortable, said a U.S. official familiar with U.S.-Venezuela policy.

Bolton’s tweets egging on Maduro to begin an “early retirement” on a “nice beach” and urging for mass defections have been widely viewed as cavalier, raising unrealistic expectation for how quickly his ouster can be engineered, the U.S. official said.

Despite Trump’s grumbling that Bolton had gotten him out on a limb on Venezuela, Bolton’s job is safe, two senior administration officials said, and Trump has told his national security adviser to keep focusing on Venezuela.

The open threat of U.S. military involvement in Venezuela has grown alongside the administration’s increasingly confrontational approach to Iran, with Bolton announcing last weekend that a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group would be deployed to counter Iranian plots to harm U.S. forces in the Middle East.

In both cases, the administration has adopted a get-tough policy that appeals to Trump’s instincts to project American power abroad but that also echoes the kind of military adventurism he has long ridiculed.

Trump appears to be more comfortable with the Iran policy, which is grounded in his own strong belief that President Barack Obama miscalculated in striking a nuclear bargain with Tehran. He is less comfortable with the escalating rhetoric on Venezuela, which does not pose a direct military threat to the United States. Any U.S. military involvement there risks a proxy fight with Russia, which backs Maduro and has sold him arms.

Trump spoke approvingly of Russian actions in Venezuela following a lengthy phone call with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on Friday, saying that Putin “is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid.”

His comments stood in contrast to earlier statements from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Bolton, who accused Russia of propping up Maduro with money and military equipment.

During the Putin call, Trump expressed his concern about the security and humanitarian situation on the ground in Venezuela, a person briefed on the call said. Putin agreed with Trump’s assessment but said that the U.S. position has solidified Maduro’s grip on power in Venezuela.

Putin also told Trump that Moscow was not selling new weapons to Venezuela but maintaining existing contracts and he downplayed Russia’s financial investments in the country.

The events of April 30 have effectively shelved serious discussion of a heavy U.S. military response, current and former officials as well as outside advisers said. Rather, U.S. officials think time is on their side and that Maduro will fall of his own weight. That waiting game poses its own risk, however, if Guaidó asks for U.S. military assistance.

Pompeo brushed off criticism from British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about U.S. “interference” in Venezuela during an interview Wednesday in London.

“Providing food to starving children isn’t interference. It’s support; it’s what we do,” Pompeo said. “It’s in our deepest traditions of humanitarian assistance. The interference has taken place; the Cubans are there. They’ve interfered. So I hope Mr. Corbyn will ask the Cubans to cease their interference in Venezuela.”

Vice President Pence was measured in his threats to Maduro during remarks at a gathering of Latin American leaders in Washington on Tuesday, saying that “Maduro must go,” but also signaling that it might not happen quickly.

Pence announced the pending deployment of a Navy hospital ship to the region in June, and said the United States would lift sanctions on one senior Maduro aide who had switched sides. That was a shift from previous rhetoric about the tightening yoke of sanctions, and meant to emphasize that there are carrots in the U.S. policy as well as sticks, one senior official said.

The famously hawkish Bolton has been the loudest voice within the administration in support of a potential military response to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, where escalating U.S. sanctions have not forced Maduro to cede power. He was not the first, however. Trump mused about invading or bombing Venezuela in 2017, comments that were at first dismissed as fanciful.

Trump is now not inclined to have any sort of military intervention in Venezuela, two officials and an outside adviser said.

Trump has, in Oval Office meetings and phone calls with advisers, questioned his administration providing such strong support of Guaidó. Some White House officials said Trump likes the charismatic leader, whom he has called courageous, but has wondered aloud whether he is ready to take over and about how much the administration really knows about him.

Guaidó’s many supporters within the administration say he has proved himself as the first Venezuelan opposition leader to unite factions and pose a credible threat to Maduro. His standing within the country is borne out by the fact that Maduro has not seized or harmed him, fearing a backlash, some officials said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he has no concern that the United States is making a bad bet on Guaidó.

“Oh God, no. Smart money,” Graham said. “I think he’s the future of Venezuela. He’s young, he’s the solution — not the problem.”

Graham also said Trump has been well served by his advisers, including Bolton.

Pompeo was also bullish about Maduro’s ouster last week, saying after the plan faltered that Maduro had been heading to the airport before Russian advisers talked him out of leaving. Maduro denied it.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has been influential in shaping the administration’s Venezuela response, said Trump and Bolton are on the same page. Rubio, who said he spoke to Trump about Venezuela on Tuesday evening, backs the policy of waiting out Maduro.

“He’s in the same mind-set that I’m in, and that is that we’ve got to stay the course, it’s working,” Rubio said in an interview.

Rubio said some of the harshest U.S. sanctions are only now having full effect, including sowing dissension among Maduro aides: “Only now are you starting to see it burn and I think that’s what’s causing some of this internal friction in the regime.”

U.S. defense leaders regard any military scenario involving boots on the ground in Venezuela as a quagmire, and warn that standoff weapons such as Tomahawk missiles run a major risk of killing civilians. The White House has repeatedly asked for military planning short of an invasion, however.

Officials said the options under discussion while Maduro is still in power include sending additional military assets to the region, increasing aid to neighboring countries such as Colombia and other steps to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced Venezuelans outside of Venezuela. More forward-leaning options include sending ships to waters off Venezuela as a show of force.

Other steps under discussion are intended for after Maduro is gone, when U.S. military personnel might be permitted inside Venezuela to help with humanitarian responses.

John D. Feeley, a former U.S. ambassador and Univision political analyst, said there is another reason that military intervention is unlikely.

“It runs counter to Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection narrative,” Feeley said. “At a time when you’re pulling people back from Syria, back from Iraq, back from Afghanistan, how do you say we’re going to commit 50-, 100-, 150,000 of our blood and treasure to a country where you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys?”

Qué intereses tienen Rusia y EE.UU. en Venezuela y por qué se pelean por él – BBC News – 7 de Abril 2019

Desde la pasada semana, el juego de pulsos y fuerzas de Estados Unidos Rusia por derrocar o mantener a flote el régimen de Nicolás Maduro en Venezuela ha ido a peor

Vladimir Putin y Donald Trump sostuvieron un diálogo sobre Venezuela, informó la Casa Blanca.

Vladimir Putin y Donald Trump sostuvieron un diálogo sobre Venezuela, informó la Casa Blanca. Foto: GETTY IMAGES, vía BBC Mundo

Venezuela es la nueva “manzana de la discordia” del escenario global: dos de las grandes potencias del mundo se pelean por su destino.Pero desde la pasada semana, el juego de pulsos y fuerzas de Estados Unidos y Rusia por derrocar o mantener a flote el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro ha ido a peor.

Tras el fallido “levantamiento” promovido por el líder opositor Juan Guaidó, ambas naciones reforzaron su retórica y se acusaron duramente de interferir en la crisis interna del país sudamericano.

Washington responsabilizó a Moscú de frustrar la salida de Maduro, mientras el Kremlin fustigó a Washington por promover una “guerra de información” contra Caracas.

Pero las tensiones dieron un giro inesperado este viernes, después de una larga llamada entre Donald Trump y Vladimir Putin en la que el inquilino de la Casa Blanca contradijo las versiones que, hasta ahora, habían mantenido altos miembros de su propio gobierno -y él mismo- sobre la influencia rusa en Venezuela.

Este es el video que muestra a Guaidó y López juntos en Caracas. Video vía BBC Mundo

Este es el video que muestra a Guaidó y López juntos en Caracas. Video vía BBC Mundo

Putin no quiere en absoluto implicarse en Venezuela, más allá de que le gustaría ver que ocurre algo positivo para el país”, dijo Trump, pese a que en marzo afirmó que los rusos “tenían que salir” del país latinoamericano.

El jueves, el jefe de la diplomacia estadounidense, Mike Pompeo, también conversó sobre la crisis venezolana con su homólogo ruso, Serguei Lavrov.

Y es que, pese a las declaraciones del viernes de Trump, Venezuela ha sido en los últimos tiempos un punto de fricción frecuente para ambos países que generó incluso acaloradas discusiones en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU.

“Han llegado al punto que, por momentos, parece que la situación en Venezuela ya no se trata de la rivalidad entre Maduro Guaidó, sino de Rusia y Estados Unidos”, asegura a BBC Mundo James Dobbins, analista en Diplomacia y Seguridad de la RAND Corporation, un think thank que asesora a las fuerzas armadas de Estados Unidos.

El presidente de Venezuela afirmó que "la escaramuza golpista no puede quedar impune".

El presidente de Venezuela afirmó que “la escaramuza golpista no puede quedar impune”.

Ha sido para muchos un viejo recuerdo de los años tensos y oscuros de la Guerra Fría, en los que Cuba era la moneda de cambio entre las dos mayores potencias del mundo.

Pero ¿por qué Estados Unidos y Rusia se pelean ahora por Venezuela? ¿Qué intereses están en juego?

Analistas consultados por BBC Mundo explican que la respuesta no es sencilla: razones políticas y económicas se mezclan con otras que trascienden la propia crisis de Venezuela.

¿Cómo Rusia y Estados Unidos se volvieron amigo y enemigo del gobierno de Venezuela?

Pese a las frecuentes críticas de Chávez, Estados Unidos y Venezuela fueron durante su gobierno importantes socios comerciales.

Estados Unidos fue por muchos años, de hecho, el principal comprador de petróleo venezolano y varias refinerías del país del norte se dedicaban especialmente a tratar el crudo enviado por el gobierno de Caracas”, recuerda Dobbins.

Pero a medida que la crisis arreció durante el gobierno de Maduro, Washington comenzó a cortar sus relaciones, sus importaciones de Venezuela y a imponer sanciones contra empresas y miembros del gobierno bolivariano.

A medida que Washington se alejaba, Putin comenzó a estrechar su cercanía con el país sudamericano, que comenzó a apoyar a Rusia en muchas de sus cruzadas y políticas internacionales.

La anexión rusa de Crimea en 2014 provocó una dura condena de Occidente y una oleada de sanciones económicas contra el Kremlin que todavía continúan.

PeroVenezuela fue uno de los pocos países que la apoyó.

Moscú, desde entonces, “busca a países que aún quieran lidiar con ellos, y eso incluye a Venezuela”, explica Steven Pifer, exembajador de Estados Unidos en Ucrania e investigador del centro de análisis Brookings Institution.

Pero a medida que Estados Unidos cortaba sus vínculos comerciales y petroleros con Caracas, Rusia los aumentaba.

Desde hace más de una década, la petrolera rusa Rosneft se empezó a involucrar de manera significativa en el sector petrolero venezolano.

Según cálculos de algunos especialistas, el gobierno ruso y Rosneft habrían concedido unos US$20.000 millones de dólares en préstamos y líneas de crédito a Caracas desde el año 2006 a cambio de petróleo.

Dobbins por su parte, aclara que Venezuela no ha sido capaz de pagar la deuda, por lo que un cambio de gobierno anularía la posibilidad de que la petrolera rusa vea su dinero de vuelta.

¿Se trata entonces del interés por el petróleo?

Es el argumento preferido del gobierno de Venezuela: Maduro acusa a la Casa Blanca de querer hacerse con el control de sus reservas de petróleo.

“No hay dudas de que Venezuela fue un importante socio comercial y petrolero de Estados Unidos y que la Casa Blanca estaría interesada en recuperar eso. Pero no creo el argumento de que quieran controlar el petróleo”, señala Dobbins.

En contraste, el gobierno venezolano destaca la solidaridad de Rusia y el apoyo de su gobierno en los “momentos difíciles”.

Venezuela vivió unas intensas jornadas de protesta la pasada semana.

Venezuela vivió unas intensas jornadas de protesta la pasada semana. Foto: Getty images, vía BBC Mundo

Vladimir Rouvinski, profesor de Política y Relaciones Internacionales en la Universidad ICESI de Cali, Colombia, considera que hay otros objetivos además del interés de Moscú por el petróleo venezolano.

“Desde 2014, este tipo de inversiones fueron muy cuestionados desde la perspectiva de negocio, porque estos yacimientos de Venezuela requieren una gran inversión y las empresas tendrían que poner muchísima plata para poder aprovecharlos”, afirma.

“Lo que estaban haciendo realmente los rusos era dar una ayuda camuflada al gobierno de Maduro, porque no tenía sentido hacer este prepago por petróleo venezolano para una empresa que tiene sus propios yacimientos de petróleo (Rosneft)”, añade.

Dobbins señala además que la explotación petrolera y la extracción de gas de esquisto hizo a Estados Unidos cada vez menos dependiente de las importaciones de petróleo, lo que restó importancia a su interés en el capital probado de hidrocarburos de Venezuela.

Entonces ¿por qué otros motivos mira Moscú hacia Caracas?
El editor del servicio ruso de la BBC, Famil Ismailov considera como punto fundamental el mensaje que puede vender Putin en su propio país.

“Es muy importante mostrarle al público interno que, pese a las sanciones, Rusia cumple su rol como superpotencia y tiene países amigos”, explica.

Pifer, por su parte, afirma que lo que el Kremlin busca es dar la imagen de una Rusia que no está aislada “cuando en realidad lo está”.

El secretario de Estado de EE.UU. Mike Pompeo y el asesor de Seguridad Nacional John Bolton han dicho que no está cerrada la opción militar para Venezuela.

El secretario de Estado de EE.UU. Mike Pompeo y el asesor de Seguridad Nacional John Bolton han dicho que no está cerrada la opción militar para Venezuela. Foto: Getty images, vía BBC Mundo

 

En el caso de Estados Unidos, señala Dobbins, Venezuela también se ha vuelto un motivo de política interna.

“En el sur de Florida vive una amplia comunidad de venezolanos y cubanos que apoyan un cambio de régimen en Venezuela”, señala.

De ahí que las amenazas y nuevas sanciones al gobierno de La Habana por su apoyo a Caracas -que la isla niega que incluya tropas- también comenzaron a formar parte del discurso deTrump en los últimos meses.

“Si tenemos en cuenta que Florida es un estado péndulo (el voto por los candidatos de cada partido varía de una elección a otra) y que el año 2020 está la vuelta, no es de asombrarnos que Venezuela sea uno de los temas para la campaña de Trump, agrega.

Comenta, además, que la crisis humanitaria que atraviesa Venezuela también ha tenido un impacto en Estados Unidos y en países de América Latina por el alto flujo migratorio, lo que llevó a la Casa Blanca a tomar cartas en el asunto.

¿Entonces es también un tema de política exterior?

Rouvinski considera que una de las causas del apoyo de Moscú a Caracas hay que buscarlas en otro lado.

“Las élites en Rusia creen que los problemas que Moscú tiene con sus países vecinos -en primer lugar con Ucrania, pero también con Georgia y en otros en Asia Central- se deben a la influencia de Estados Unidos, señala.

El gobierno ruso criticó en repetidas ocasiones la “interferencia” de Washington en Ucrania o el despliegue de fuerzas estadounidenses en el mar Negro o Báltico, como parte de los operativos de la OTAN.

En este contexto, el analista considera que lo que buscan los rusos es tener incidencia en los países que ellos consideran como el “patio trasero de Estados Unidos: las naciones de América Latina y el Caribe.

“El gobierno ruso piensa que si puede mantener influencia sobre estos países, principalmente Venezuela y Cuba, pueden tener también algo de presión sobre Washington para que cambien sus políticas en los países cercanos a Rusia”, señala.

Juan Guaidó es reconocido como jefe de Estado de Venezuela por medio centenar de países. Foto: AFP

Juan Guaidó es reconocido como jefe de Estado de Venezuela por medio centenar de países. Foto: AFP

Por otra parte, Dobbins señala que la presencia rusa en Latinoamérica ha sido vista como una amenaza desde hace décadas por los distintos gobiernos estadounidenses.

Estados Unidos no puede permitir que un país que está fuera del hemisferio occidental pueda hacer este juego en su espacio común. De ahí que los países que apoyan abiertamente a Rusia siempre han sido vistos con recelo desde la Casa Blanca”, afirma.

Por ese motivo, el futuro de Maduro en el poder puede verse también como un augurio de lo que se juegan las dos potencias en la política mundial.

“Si se queda en el poder, los rusos demostrarán que pueden mantener gobiernos con amenazas sencillas, como ya hicieron en Siria”, opina Dobbins.

“Si se va Maduro, entonces los estadounidenses confirmarán que pueden seguir derrocando gobiernos y eso sería visto como un peligro potencial para Rusia”, concluye.

The U.S. and Russia Are Playing a High Stakes Game of Poker in Venezuela by Dr. Kent Moors – Oil & Energy Investor – 3 de Mayo 2019 

As the drama intensifies in the streets of Caracas, the future of Venezuela will play out in a high stakes game of diplomatic poker between the U.S. and Russia.

I have had a chance to compare notes with contacts in the policy apparatus of both nations, and will be conferring with colleagues in the global energy community upon return to my base in Florida tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, this is going to be one long weekend.

Yet three overriding matters of importance have already emerged from my conversations…

A Failed Military Coup

First, Washington wants to guarantee a transition of power without sacrificing U.S. hegemony in the huge Venezuelan oil reserves becoming available.

The heavy oil from the Orinoco basin, until recently considered exportable only at discount, is now an important element in crude mixes needed by refineries globally. That the Citgo network in the U.S. remains owned by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA is also of concern.

Second, it is no longer enough that the current president there abdicate power and escape to someplace like Cuba.

The Trump Administration has belatedly concluded that allowing him a stage anywhere is tantamount to jeopardizing the transition back in Caracas. The clumsy switch of emphasis in midstream earlier this week out Venezuelan opposition figures in an embarrassing once the crowds flooded into a confrontation with military units still loyal to the incumbent.

Third, the U.S. needs to provide a way out for Russia.

Moscow has provided Caracas with significant financial support, has support troops in country, and will not allow Washington to control Venezuela after any transfer of political power there.

It is this last element that makes the current crisis a source of serious geopolitical friction.

That just happened to be the subject of one of my specialized briefings recently. Entitled “Russian-U.S. Tensions Increase over Venezuelan Oil Control,” it laid the situation out this way:

Venez-Faila

It seems we cannot escape focusing on the collapse underway in Venezuela and the impact that train wreck is having on the world of oil. Yet, there is on overriding reason why this attention is warranted. Unless international parties are very careful, this one is going to usher in some nasty collisions

In both my academic and intelligence careers, I spent a fair amount of time considering what happens in so-called “failed states.”

These are countries in which the government has lost three essential ingredients to rule: (1) sovereignty (determined by the application of central law) over the territory within national borders; (2) overseeing a functional domestic economy and fiscal system; and (3) acting as a working member of the international community. Put simply, a failed state has lost the ability to provide either legal or economic protection to its citizens.

Venezuela fell well within that definition some time ago.

Traditionally, a failed state was hallmarked by an internal administrative implosion – figuratively looking like a ball having its air sucked out. That, in turn, produced a power vacuum that tended to suck in both neighboring states and major global players.

As I came to recognize personally during the Cold War, failed states were dangerous as a cause of heightened tensions between dominant powers. Upon occasion, usually through the use of surrogates, that would even extend to hostilities.

More recently, there has been an alternative developing in which failed states are marginalized rather than targeted by the big boys. But that has not been the case when the states in question have something the major powers cannot ignore.

Like oil.

Monroe Doctrine, Monroe Problems

Venezuela need not be regarded as an emerging fire sale for this to occur. Yes, on paper Caracas has the world’s largest crude reserves and, until a few years ago, was regularly the second largest producer in OPEC (after Saudi Arabia).

But this is not a 1941 Japan desperately looking for a source of energy. Both primary countries in the current environment – the US and Russia – have ample domestic supply and are two of the three (once again, the other is Saudi Arabia) largest producers worldwide.

Today, my questions have two distinct elements. First, how does the condition and reliability of Venezuelan oil production and exports effect American or Russian market penetration and pricing?

Second, given that oil exports are the dominant driver of Venezuelan revenues, how does the collapse in that sector weaken the Caracas governments position in the Western Hemisphere?

Both elements impact on what Washington and Moscow do. The second also has echoes of how traditional failed states threatened to widen a conflict zone.

Russia continues to support Nicolas Maduro, the holder of the Venezuelan presidency following the last (highly suspicious) election. Maduro was the hand-picked successor of Hugo Chavez, He succeeded to the office after Chavez’s death in 2013 and subsequently won a contested election on his own.

On the other hand, the US is backing Juan Guaido. Guaido is the president (i.e., presiding officer) of the National Assembly, the country’s legislature that invalidated the election of Maduro. Thereupon, the Assembly invoked a clause in the country’s constitution to appoint their presiding officer (Guaido) as national acting president.

To nobody’s surprise, Russia and the US have been unable to reach any consensus on what to do. Talks in Rome resulted in a failure of the two powers to find common ground.

Russian sources have told me that they hardly anticipated a diplomatic breakthrough but used the occasion of talks to provide a very public warning to the US not to intervene militarily. Here, given matters of geography and troop disposition, Washington would clearly have the upper hand, at least initially.

However, aside from a few media pundits, none of my sources inside The Beltway (of all political persuasions) regard an American incursion into Venezuela a valid option. All of my contacts agree that moving US troops into Venezuela is easy enough. But extricating them would be a nightmare.

Yes, one keeps all options “on the table” in such posturing. Yet those alternatives having no realistic and calculable end games usually are moved to the back of the policy queue.

The danger emerges when events deteriorate a situation beyond initial major power intentions. Venezuela is starting to remind me of the Congo crisis in the early 1960s.

Come On Shake Your Economy, Do the Congo

Then, power vacuums, civil wars, and ethnic unrest led to several African “proxy wars” between Moscow and Washington during the 1960s. CIA and KGB/GRU were active as precipitating actors in all of them.

None more so than in the Congo, where three contesting presidents clashed, assassinations ensued, and a nation was thrown into an ugly bloodbath. The current Democratic Republic of the Congo (which is neither genuinely democratic nor a republic) still bears the scars of the earlier period.

A few years ago, as part of a government assignment, I was drawn into this ongoing mess. The issue involved a dispute between the DRC and neighboring Uganda over oil rights abutting their border in the lake region sourcing the White Nile. The underlying disagreements had not changed much in fifty years.
Back then the Soviets supported one president (Lumumba), the Americans another (Mobutu). Moscow sent in troops (mostly Cuban) while Washington responded with increased covert operations. One of these operations was the killing of Lumumba.

Matters in Washington reached a head one evening when members of the Congressional leadership forced President Lyndon Johnson to recall regular US troops already in air transit across the Atlantic for deployment in the Congo.

Crises have a way of starting out as small calculated steps only to morph into snowballs racing down hills out of control.

We are at such a juncture today with Venezuela.

Cit-Come, Citgo

That US and Russia could not agree in Rome is hardly news. Nonetheless, the abortive talks have highlighted one main issue. Central to the disintegration of the domestic economy has been Venezuela’s inability to control the revenue flow from its own oil exports.

And it is of some interest that this issue currently centers on one aspect of that oil control…one on which both Moscow and Washington can agree.

As I have noted previously, continuing Russian and Chinese loans to the government in Caracas have resulted in Venezuelan losing control over its oil export revenues. Nonetheless, those loans remain in default.

Both debt holders have moved “upstream” to acquire effective control over Venezuelan oil assets. Among those elements of interest has been acquisition of the crude oil itself. That has set the stage of the latest flash point between Russia and the US.

PDVSA, the Venezuelan national oil company, has confirmed that oil contracted to the US has been redirected to Russian state oil major Rosneft. This is in response to US sanctions, according to my PDVSA contacts.

But the gravamen goes deeper. The oil exports in question are intended for Citgo, the refinery and retail network in the US still technically owned by PDVSA. In addition, much of the PDVSA debt associated with Citgo is already held by Rosneft.

The disposition of that debt has been the source of some concern in Washington. As presently constructed, a Rosneft move to acquire compensation for defaulted credits extended to PDVSA would effectively mean Rosneft would acquire control over assets in the US.

For American policy makers, Rosneft obtaining control over crude oil still under Venezuelan export authority is preferable to the Russian company acquiring US domestic assets (and/or revenue flows from them).

As a result, the Rosneft move has led to a rather muted response from Washington.

Meanwhile, PDVSA has been losing a series of US court challenges on matters ranging from nonpayment to bribery. This is accentuating the crisis, promoting straight seizure of PDVSA assets in the US, and likely to divide further American and Russian positions.

In short, one shot evaded. But there is a barrage forming on the horizon.

Sincerely,

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