From the Ground in Venezuela, 22 February 2019

Les Blough
Axis of Logic in Venezuela

Today, most of the world knows about the US led war on Venezuelan democracy, economy and sovereignty that began with a direct assault a couple of weeks ago when the US refused to acknowledge our President Nicholas Maduro, elected last May by an overwhelming majority of the voters while attempting to install Juan Guaido as self-declared, unelected president of Venezuela. Several European countries and some right-wing governments in Latin America followed in lock-step with the US; many countries throughout the world however continue to support Maduro as president. Until this openly belligerent act by the US, Guaido was a deputy who won his seat in the National Assembly with only 26 percent of the vote and known only by 1 out of 5 Venezuelans, mainly for his participation in the deadly guarimbas in 2014 and 2017. As a member or the outlawed National Assembly* and the opposition’s most violent political party, Voluntad Popular** he was trained by the CIA in the US and Europe along with 6 others in tactics for destabilization and regime change.

The US declared 23 February as the day that “humanitarian aid” now warehoused on the Colombian side of our border, will be forced across the border from Colombia backed by the US military using civilians as human shields. The Maduro government and military is blocking entry of this “humanitarian aid” on our side of the border as the US has a long history of using this means to invade other countries and on numerous occasions their “humanitarian aid” containers have contained arms as a Trojan horse for the US funded rebels to foment civil war and overthrow governments. Again, more details about this are published on Axis of Logic and there’s no point in repeating them in my report today.

22 February: My friend of many years, a university professor and I were planning to take the 10 hour road trip in my car today to the Colombian border to witness for ourselves what’s about to pass today, tomorrow and Sunday but we learned late last night that a tunnel on the autopista near Valencia about 2 hours west of here was blocked by the opposition. Deputies (congressmen) from the opposition the political party, Voluntad Popular (Popular Will),* members of the defunct National Assembly** are present at the blocked tunnel.

So this morning my friend and I decided the better part of wisdom was to cancel our trip. For any uninformed reader’s perspective, the autopista is comparable to a 4 lane interstate highway, crossing the country east and west. It’s the only viable route between Caracas and the Colombian border. Thus blocking it prevents wheeled movements of troops and military equipment from traveling from Caracas or the biggest military base in Maracay to go the the frontier. So the reader may logically wonder why the government doesn’t simply move these people out and open the tunnel. Again, the reader may ask but surely the Venezuelan military has the force necessary to remove these people. Certainly it does but during this coup attempt blocking the tunnel amounts to a military tactic by an armed element of the opposition with a history of violence designed to create a confrontation with the Venezuelan military and the US is itching for such action which could at least result in a battle that would produce dead and injured to ignite what would be billed a the onset of civil war with accusations of a “dictator” cracking down on civil disobedience. More about that below.

Armed opposition: Last month military intelligence discovered a civilian plane landing in Valencia. The plane was caught carrying various arms, including automatic weapons from Miami to Valencia  2 weeks ago. It  was its 40th flight from Miami to various airports in Venezuela in the last month or so. The government tracked the flight history of this plane between Miami and Venezuela and found that it belongs to a private freight company “21 Air LLC” based in North Carolina and the owners have a history with CIA, transporting US prisoners, particularly Muslims to CIA black sites abroad for rendition and torture. We have to assume that this plane’s previous 39 flights brought arms into the country, arms that are now in the hands of Guaido and friends who carried out the deadly guarimbas in 2014 and 2017.

Today RT reports:

“Separately, the US is preparing a sizable weapons shipment for the Venezuelan opposition, according to . The armaments, likely to be purchased in an eastern European country are large-calibre machine guns, grenade launchers, assault rifles and man-portable anti-aircraft rocket systems The cargo is set to arrive in Venezuela in early March through a neighboring country on aircraft flown by an international shipping company,”

Russian Foreign Ministry: “US Transferring Special Troops, Weapons Close to Venezuela”

Government’s Response: The attacks by armed opposition places President Maduro and the military in a very delicate position. Any gun battle will be billed as the onset of a civil war, the final objective of the US government if they cannot starve the people into overthrowing their own government or cannot break the loyalty of the military. They’ve tried both over the last few years and failed. The people are resolved to protect their independence and the military is committed to defend the constitution and the nation’s sovereignty. But if all else fails, in recent years the US has shown us their appetite for blood and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. If they cannot gain control of Venezuela’s natural resources by a “clean coup” a bloody civil war will do.

I have personally witnessed the National Guard (GNB), National Police and military under attack in the guarimbas by “peaceful student protestors” insulting the double lines of the GNB, pounding their shields with pieces of concrete, rocks and molotov cocktails, once throughout an 8 to 10 hour period under a hot sun. Not once have I seen any violent reaction by the officials. At the end of that day when the violators became tired and began to dissipate the GNB swooped in on their motorcycles and grabbed the leaders they had identified, handcuffed them, sandwiched them between two officers and hauled them off – not to prison but to a detention center in Caracas to await trial. Except for one or two intellectual authors of that particular attack they all walked free and remain free today. If anti-war protestors in the US attacked police like this one can imagine their end. This day, 22 February,  the opposition is claiming that the Venezuelan military fired on indigenous trying to cross the border from Brazil with “humanitarian aid,” killing one and injuring about 20 others. This story comes one day after President Maduro closed the border with Brazil. While it’s possible this is true I have doubts because of what I’ve witnessed and because President Maduro has given strict orders to the military not to fire on civilians, I have seen a great deal of outright fiction put out by the opposition leaders in stories like this but we’ll certainly investigate that story.

23 February: Tomorrow the Juan Guaido promises cross the border with the tons of “humanitarian aid” into Venezuela accompanied by “60 thousand civilians.” Today, an “aid concert” funded by billionaire Richard Branson began on the Colombian side attended by thousands of people. The Venezuelan military has blocked entry and stands in place to block any such entry. The US is deliberately trying to put President Maduro in an impossible situation: deny food and medicine to his own people, fire on civilians who are being used as human shields or to step down, open the border and allow an invading country to occupy our country. While the government is in an extremely delicate situation my friends and I are confident that this another coup attempt will fail. Right now, Venezuela is at the center of the world and we call upon all our readers  to watch carefully what unfolds tomorrow. Think independently and critically, form your own opinions but by all means support the valiant Venezuelan people by reading, writing and educating others with the truth of what is happening here.

Finally, I’m pleased to report that since this all began the streets and neighborhoods are very quiet in my city and cities, towns and the countryside across the nation. Regardless of the horror stories that you’ve been seeing in the imperialist media, life goes on as normal here just as it has been for the last 20 years. There are impressive political marches by both sides but they have been non-violent and peaceful. The streets are filled with people walking, talking always with a friendly smile, carrying bags of groceries, talking constantly about high prices resulting from the sanctions, traffic jammed with late model cars and supermarkets filled to the brim with food and other essentials.


*The National Assembly was held in contempt of the Supreme Court a few years ago and the reasons for that are also reported on Axis of Logic and many other alternative media sites.

**Juan Guaido is a member of Voluntad Popular and participated in the deadly guarimbas in 2014 and 2017, finally put down by the government after many deaths, injuries and billions of dollars of damage to public facilities, hospitals, clinics, universities and government buildings. I reported on one of these guarimbas from the ground in a photo essay in 2014 here –