‘We are Closer Now to US Military Intervention in Venezuela’ - Campaigner

US Senator Marco Rubio caused a stir on Twitter after posting pictures of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted by the US in 2011. The post was widely perceived as a warning to the current Venezuelan president, Nicholas Maduro. Sputnik has discussed the news with Jorge Martin from Hands Off Venezuela, a UK-based lobby group.

Sputnik: Do you think we are closer now, after  events over the weekend, to US military intervention in the country?

Jorge Martin: Yes I think so, there are number of indications for that. There were obviously a number of incidents on Saturday at the Brazilian border and at the Colombian border. And at the end of the day, the Venezuelan opposition did not achieve its main aim, which was to force trucks with humanitarian aid across the border. And they were very frustrated by this, and then there were a number of statements made by Juan Guaido, who is the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, recognised by Trump. He said that "events today leave me with no other option than to contemplate multilateral international intervention" — he is hinting at military intervention.

Sputnik: We saw from reports by Max Blumenthal on the ground that there are indeed plentiful supplies of many products in Venezuela, why is the US so insistent on the humanitarian aid when in fact it is US sanctions which have greatly damaged the economy?

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido take part in a march in Caracas, on February 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Jorge Martin: This is what they tried to do on Saturday, they tried to use humanitarian aid to test whether the Venezuelan Army is still loyal to the democratically elected president or not – and they failed. This is an excuse, quite clearly, because as you say, US sanctions are already having a damaging impact on the Venezuelan economy; if they were really worried about the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, they would lift sanctions surely? The US seized three weeks ago $8 billion worth of Venezuelan assets in the US and they now say that they will deliver $20 million worth of aid – this is just peanuts in comparison to what they have seized.

READ MORE: Germany Backs Sanctions Against Maduro, Citing Violence Against Protesters

Sputnik: Guaido has claimed that 160 soldiers have defected; do you think this is the case and if so, could we expect more?

Jorge Martin: I think it is in the interest of Guaido to inflate the numbers. Yesterday, on Sunday they said 60 soldiers had defected; now they’re saying 160. But in reality, if you look for instance at the meeting he had with the soldiers, there’s a video of it, there’re maybe about 20 people in the room, 25 maximum. On Saturday, there were reports of soldiers defecting and this could be confirmed for 10 or 12 people.  But obviously they want to create a situation like this, where more soldiers defect and so on. But I think they are a bit frustrated so far, because no high-ranking officers with command of troops have defected. It is possible, of course, we are talking about a lot of pressure and a lot of threats. For instance, they are now threatening that  families of Venezuelan officers who live in the US will be expelled from the country. They are seizing assets and making lots of threats.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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