Venezuela's rival factions rally as power struggle persists

Posted March 31, 2019

The United States has levied crippling sanctions against Maduro's government in efforts to push him from power, but he has hung on in large part thanks to continued loyalty by top military commanders.

There has been a considerable amount of cooperation from India on the United States efforts to restrict export of Venezuelan oil, a top American diplomat said Friday as the Trump administration tightened its noose over the authoritarian regime of the Latin American country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday warned the United States against further interfering in Venezuela's domestic affairs and stirring up speculations about Russia conducting military operations in the South American country.

According to Guaido, Maduro is paying Russian troops in gold for their presence in the country.

Venezuela's military attache in Moscow also said Thursday that Russian troops were in the country under an agreement on military and technical cooperation and not to carry out a military operation.

The Trump administration has recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as oil-rich country's interim leader against President Nicolas Maduro.

Also Friday, the White House warned nations, including Russian Federation, to not send military resources to Venezuela, while condemning disputed President Maduro's "continued use of foreign military personnel in his attempt to remain in power".

Maduro was sworn for his new term in January.

"One of the things they are doing seems to be - and we've thought this from the very beginning - is helping the regime with the S-300 ground-air missile system, which apparently got all screwed up by the blackout", Abrams said. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week his office is studying the issue but framed a potential response as focused on humanitarian support to the U.S. Agency for International Development or the State Department, and perhaps based outside Venezuela. Many who have stayed behind struggle to afford supplies of food and medicine, while nationwide power outages this month have exacerbated widespread misery.

Julio Castro, of the non-profit group Doctors for Health, described the IFRC's aid announcement as an advance but said it did not guarantee success, offering a sports analogy of the sort that is common in the baseball-loving country.

He added that the opposition lied when it said it was not in dialogue with the government. "This obviously will not resolve the problems in Venezuela and nobody should assume this is a complete solution".