Below is our translation from Svododnaya Pressa of a compilation of expert opinions on the situation in Venezuela and the expected outcome now that the US has recognized a usurper as president of that country. Comments by Vince Dhimos.
Valery Korovin, director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, says that the US uses ‘net wars,’ ie, the formation of the semantic environment, social energies used in the interests of the customer.
I was confused when I first saw this and wondered what he meant. However, semantics is at the core of our information fight – the fight for the truth. Semantics is the meanings of words, and meanings have been shaped and reshaped – ie, completely distorted – by the US for decades.
For instance, we call people “anti-Semitic” for opposing Zionism or even for reporting Israeli crimes, such as the shooting of unarmed protesters and illegal settlement in Arab lands. Thus it is, in a sense, illegal to report something illegal!
And yet, there is nothing more anti-Semitic than Zionism. In its current usage, “anti-Semitic” is used – and we are forced to use it this way – to mean “anti-Jewish.” However, the Semites include Arabs and hence “anti-Semite” would refer to those who act against either Jews or Arabs. (Don’t try saying this on Facebook, though, because Zuckerberg and his mind control police will delete your post and maybe kick you off the site).
Another word that has been distorted semantically in the minds of Westerners is “democracy,” which as applied to countries in which the US has planted colour revolutions, means subjugating populations to US rule. Israel, for example, where a good third of the country – if you include occupied areas – has no right to vote – is the “only democracy in the Middle East” in today’s Orwellian world.
As you read this analysis, you can’t escape the impression that the leader who promised to end US interference in other countries has in fact dropped an iron curtain around the Western hemisphere, where countries that were previously unaligned are now taking orders from the Indispensable Nation to the north.
Here is one expert’s take:
“It seems to me that Trump has been hasty in recognizing President Guaido because the internal situation is not in favour of an impostor. Of course, protests by the opposition are important, but there is also the army that supported Maduro. And part of the street is for him. The country is split into two unequal halves. Of the 23 provinces, only 4 swore allegiance to the pro-American protégé. If there is no external intervention, the Maduro regime is likely to stand. But if the United States wants to push the situation militarily (hardly on their own, more likely by proxy), then it will fall under external aggression.”
Greed has killed: Moscow lost Venezuela just as it did Ukraine
The Kremlin once again blames America and shows complete helplessness
Commenting on the subject:
Valery Korovin Daria Mitina
Russia still considers Nicolos Maduro to be the legitimate president of Venezuela and will not change its position, despite the situation of de facto dual power. This was stated by deputy chairman of the committee on international affairs of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Andrei Klimov.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the situation a gross interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.
“The fact that the United States and a number of other countries, first and foremost the countries of the region, immediately recognized the acting president, who was self-proclaimed, says only that they directly had a hand in the artificial creation of dual power, which is fraught with chaos and a very serious destabilization of the political situation,” said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Prior to this, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov also stated that the Russian side considers the situation with attempts to usurp power in Venezuela to be unacceptable.
Indeed, Donald Trump’s recognition of the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim acting president is not very consistent with the law. Nor is his appeal to the governments of "other countries of the western hemisphere" to do likewise.
Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama have already spoken in support of Guaido. Colombia provided its embassy for the headquarters of the Venezuelan opposition. Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba and Uruguay continued to support Maduro.
However, the internal balance of power is of prime importance for the outcome of the confrontation. Maduro can count on the military - the army does not recognize Guaido as the president of Venezuela.
“We, the soldiers of the motherland, do not accept the president installed in the shadow of dark interests and a self-proclaimed outlaw. The national Bolivarian armed forces defend the constitution and are the guarantor of national sovereignty,” said Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
However, 16 people have already died in street clashes and over 200 have been arrested. What will happen in the event the opposition escalates? The use of weapons by protesters may also provoke an external invasion. Recall that in July 2018, the United States had already considered this possibility.
But Russia has its own interests in Venezuela. Our oilmen are actively working there. And in December 2018, Sergei Shoigu expressed his wish that “our fleet and our aircraft could land and receive service in the seaports of Venezuela.” Are we going to lose all of this?
Runet [the Russian internet] is full of pessimistic forecasts. It is not so much the specific strategy of Russia in Venezuela that is criticized as Moscow’s general approach to potential allies.
"Like a greedy idiot, we are again persistently engaged in bribing elites, not paying attention to the fact that they can disappear, change or switch orientation. Our companies bought basketball clubs, rode on private jets, organized parties and sailed on the yachts of generals and their children; relatives of ministers in staff of representative offices and joint projects were taken to work, wined and dined,” writes, in particular, Yevgeny Primakov, a politician, journalist, deputy of the State Duma, on his page.”
Venezuela expert of the Center for the Study of Crisis Society Tatyana Rusakova blames official Caracas for the crisis.
“The causes of the current crisis in Venezuela appeared even before the death of Chavez. Since 2008, the economic situation in the country has begun to deteriorate. But at first it was not very noticeable. Oil prices were high and this was enough to ensure a tolerable existence for the poorest segments of society - the main electoral base of Chavez. There was no doubt about their loyalty. Now this economic model is no longer working. In the country, with inflation at several tens of thousands of percent.
SP: But Russia has interests in Venezuela...
“The main thing is the presence of Rosneft, which has the right to develop several fields in the Orinoco river belt. They have a joint venture with a Venezuelan state company. Billions of dollars are invested there, but this is politically motivated. Economically, this is not very profitable for us, since Venezuela has very “heavy” oil. It needs dilution by light fractions and requires new technologies for processing.
“There are also military contracts. Previously an amount of $5 billion was mentioned. Then the military supplies were classified and now the volume of contracts is unknown. Venezuela carried out a complete rearmament of the army and now we must certainly maintain the equipment and train the personnel. Now all this is in question. If Maduro holds on, there will be permanent instability. And if he is removed, it is unclear how the new authorities will behave.”
SP: Is the new government, if it wins, not obliged to comply with the contracts signed with Russia?
“Of course they must comply. It is unlikely that this will be a major rupture, especially since huge penalties are provided in the contract in the event of unilateral termination. But in the medium term, after five years, the compression of bilateral relations will inevitably begin. Contracts will be respected, but when the time comes for renewal, this may not happen. How this can happen is easy to understand from the situation with Argentina. When the current president Mauricio Macri came to power there, the first thing he promised was to revise the contracts for the construction of power plants by Russia and China. And we couldn’t reach an agreement with him. He did not go with Russia, bringing investments from the United Arab Emirates.”
SP: After our bomber pilots flew to Venezuela, talks were held about their placement there on a permanent basis. The range of these aircraft is such that they were even a threat to Washington ...
“There were talks, but you need to know that the Venezuelan constitution directly prohibits foreign military bases on its territory. Even if they managed to rewrite the constitution (the National Constitutional Assembly, which Maduro established to circumvent it, operates in the country), it is still not adopted. In any case, the NSA is not legitimate.”
SP: Can you elaborate further?
“There is dual power in Venezuela. The National Assembly - the parliament, where the majority is the opposition and which was elected, operates in parallel there, and there is also the NCA, which was established by a Maduro decree. Those elections that he won are the work of the NCA.
But the deputy of the State Duma of the 2nd convocation Daria Mitina believes that the cause of the crisis in Venezuela is the lack, not excess, of real socialism.
“In the summer of 2016, when I was in Venezuela, we all also wrote that there was a severe crisis, with powerful anti-government protests, and that the Maduro regime was in its last throes. But in fact, we observed pro- and anti-government pickets of several dozen people and several demonstrations. There was no particular intensity. In general, everything is always symmetrical. The opposition has many supporters and so does the government.”
SP: But now it all looks more serious ...
“Yes, now it is fuelled by the diplomatic isolation that the US has enforced against Venezuela.”
SP: In Russia, you can often hear the opinion that Venezuelan socialism is not very successful. And this is one of the reasons for the current confrontation, not just external pressure ...
“The model of Hugo Chavez was to make a welfare state on the basis of surplus oil profits. Since colonial times, Venezuela has been a single-industry state. Oil and sugarcane - there is nothing else there.
“Chavez nationalized the oil industry, but this is only part of the economy. He did not encroach on the rest. Other economic heights remained in the hands of the big bourgeoisie. Including media. There is a pro-government television channel abd newspapers, but everything else is pure bourgeois propaganda. That is, neither Chavez nor Maduro brought nationalization to fruietion. And this is their main mistake.
“Chavez, of course, did well when he began to distribute oil revenues among the people and introduce social programs, free education, health care, etc. Yes, now the population of Venezuela is poor, but earlier it was utterly destitute. But industrialization was not carried out there. Chavez did not have time. And Maduro, instead of speeding up this process with Russian and Chinese aid, also limited himself to the distribution of oil revenues.” [NSS highlighting]
SP: So, in Venezuela, socialism was actually lacking?
“Yes, there are only the beginnings of socialism. But under the conditions of external pressure, this is not enough. In general, Chavez had it easier, because when he started, there was a general leftward turn in Latin America. Now the pendulum has swung back. The right has come to power in Brazil, Chile and Argentina and Maduro is out of luck. Even Ecuador supported the USA. The president of that country, Lenin Moreno, turned out to be a bad Lenin.”
SP: - But there is Russia. We intervened in Syria, why not intervene in Venezuela. Right?
“Russia will never intervene there. She is there to protect her oil interests. She doesn’t care about Maduro any more than she cared about Chavez. The interest of the Russians there is their own profits.” [NSS highlighting]
“It seems to me that Trump has been hasty in recognizing President Guaido because the internal situation is not in favour of an impostor. Of course, protests by the opposition are important, but there is also the army that supported Maduro. And part of the street is for him. The country is split into two unequal halves. Of the 23 provinces, only 4 swore allegiance to the pro-American protégé. If there is no external intervention, the Maduro regime is likely to stand. And if the United States wants to push the situation militarily (hardly on their own, more likely by proxy), then it will fall under external aggression.”
SP: Maduro will have to show determination, perhaps shed blood ...
“There are doubts about that. Maduro is a real humanist, the people love him. He is like Allende. Those who talk about the fate of Yanukovych simply do not understand this person. If he loses, he will not run anywhere, but will stalwartly sit in a prison in Caracas. He’s not the type to emigrate.”
SP: But can’t China help? Its investments in Venezuela are four times greater than the Russian ones - $70 billion ...
“China's foreign policy is such that they don’t jump into other people’s messes. It would be naive to expect Beijing to help from a military point of view. Give money - yes, they can. And so, they are unlikely to go against America. It’s hammer time.
In turn, Valery Korovino, director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, draws attention to Russia's systemic loss in the situation with Venezuela.
“Russia needs to rethink the approach to the topic of intervention or non-interference in the affairs of other states. Because right now our leadership has established a kind of self-restraint, a taboo on actions outside of Russia without going through a series of formalities, approvals, official invitations, bowing and scraping.
“Meanwhile, our geopolitical opponents do not hesitate to interfere in the affairs of others for the sake of upholding their national interests on distant frontiers. This leads to an imbalance in the world. Because of this approach, we lose our influence and contribute to the imbalance of forces in the world. This creates global tension.
“Another factor is the use of state-of-the-art technologies to capture states without the use of conventional weapons, which is defined by the concept of ‘net wars.’ This is the formation of the semantic environment, social energies used in the interests of the client. Military intervention is possible here, but only as a final point, completing the cycle of actions in the social sphere.
“All this is very actively used by the West and is not used by Russia. Therefore, no matter how much money is invested in one or another state ($15 billion in Ukraine before the Maidan), we will lose these states as allies if we don’t eliminate the taboo on intervention. Justifying this is not treachery, as is the case with the West, but the need to ensure global stability.”
SP: Let’s turn directly to Venezuela ...
“The situation in Venezuela is a carbon copy of many other stories where Russia, due to the principle of non-intervention, neglected states, leaving them in the abyss of chaos, destruction, and, essentially, liquidation. While respecting international law. In Venezuela, it was necessary to intervene. Moreover, there was not just a request, but in fact a cry for help of the official leadership. We held back and lost an ally in the region.
SP: Do you think we’ve already lost?
“In fact, yes. In the country, for many years there has been a continuous series of colour revolutions, the CIA works with the opposition, supports it politically and financially ... The Anglo-Saxons are consistent people. They methodically achieve their goals. They do not give up, unlike us. If we compare it to Ukraine, the current events in Venezuela are from the end of January to early February 2014. We are talking about a few days needed to complete the process.
SP: - But what can Russia do? Military intervention?
“First of all, start working in the field of semantics to form a turning point in that ideological slump that Maduro has allowed to form and which he can’t cope with. At the same time, the arguments of his opponents are clear and precise and based on Western liberal populism, understood by the masses. The archaic left-wing ideology, on which Chavez relied, while Maduro relied on its inertia, no longer inspires the majority of Venezuelan residents against the background of economic miscalculations and the slump in the very principle of statehood. This point could be corrected.
SP: To teach semantics to others, Russia needs to itself understand who she is. A paradise for the oligarchs? A shard of the Soviet Empire?
“Yes, this problem exists at the state level. But there are specialists in the country. Of course, they are not being approached ... We must understand that we don’t have enough money to save our allies in all different parts of the world. But to act with modest means, to carry out a smart adjustment, working with semantics, with context, social space. Sometimes one successful statement can extinguish a volcano that has flared up for years. The case of Maduro fits this description quite well.”