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    In this handout photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, center, accompanied by Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, left, and the Strategies Operations Commander, Adm. Remigio Ceballos, arrive for a meeting with the troops at Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 2, 2019

    US to Increase Pressure on Venezuela, May Try to Kill Maduro – Ex-UN Rapporteur

    © AP Photo / Miraflores Press Office / Jhonn Zerpa
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    The US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela is not going well, with the Bolivarian Republic's army and senior officials still standing up for legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro. Speaking to Sputnik, Alfred de Zayas, an American lawyer, and Professor Julia Buxton shared their views on Washington's failed efforts to oust Maduro.

    According to Alfred de Zayas, an American lawyer, writer, historian, and former UN rapporteur to Venezuela, Washington's failure to replace Maduro with Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president, may prompt the US to try to kill the legitimate head of Venezuela.

    "I know from reliable sources that for several months now the US has been offering vast amounts of money and promising other perks to any military who will defect", he told Sputnik. "Undoubtedly they have financed each and every coup attempt, including failed attempts to have Maduro assassinated.  The US will continue on this path, and maybe they will succeed in having Maduro murdered".

    However, according to Zayas, even if they get rid of Maduro, the US would not have got closer to their goal: "Pursuant to article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, the current vice president, Delcy Rodriguez, would become interim president, and not Gauido, who has zero legitimacy under the Venezuelan Constitution".

    There could be yet another scenario, a false flag operation, under which the CIA would kill Guaido and use it as a pretext for intervention, the lawyer suggested.

    "Of course, [it would be] totally illegal, but when has international law deterred Washington?" he asked rhetorically.

    Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton has repeatedly stated that when it comes to Venezuela, all options are on the table.

    Julia Buxton, professor of comparative politics at the Central European University, highlighted that the international community is increasingly concerned about the potential military scenario. Mexico and Germany have recently made it clear that a potential US intervention would lead to catastrophic consequences.

    "I think Mexico and Germany and many other countries are quite right in being deeply concerned about the impact and consequences of any type of US military intervention", she said. "I think right now there is concern, there is a worry, there is the threat that the US might engage in some form of military strike or military action. I wouldn't rule it out; it's a very unpredictable US government right now".

    However, President Trump has recently urged caution among senior advisers, warning them against bellicose rhetoric. Apparently, Trump's change of heart was prompted by the fact that the military uprising that Guaido and Washington were laying hopes on had failed to gain steam.

    US Fuelling Guaido Opposition With Influx of Cash

    Referring to reports that the Trump administration was seeking a way to further financially support Guaido, with an "influx of cash", the former UN rapporteur suggested that Washington would not spend its own money, but rather use frozen Venezuelan assets.

    "The US has already frozen or stolen as much as $30 billion worth of Venezuelan assets in the US", he elaborated. "They are making this money available to Guaido already. No need to touch US assets".

    For her part, Buxton pointed out that the US had "already been sending substantial amounts of money to the Venezuelan opposition movement for at least two decades".

    "This has been mainly through the umbrella of the so-called Democracy Promotion Assistance. It's been a considerable amount of money, it's funded a lot of opposition activities over the years, and it has been a real problem and wholly counterproductive for the opposition, because what the opposition needs to do is reconnect with the majority of the Venezuelan people", she explained.

    Regardless of these efforts, as well as the asset freeze and unilateral sanctions, the Venezuelan government continues to resist Washington's pressure. The truth of the matter is that Donald Trump and his aides "understand nothing of the Venezuelan mentality", Zayas opined.

    "Some Venezuelan officials and military have allowed themselves to be bribed. Corruption does exist and is avidly promoted by Washington. But Abrams is deluding himself if he thinks that all Venezuelans can be bought by the CIA", he said.

    According to Zayas, a lot depends on the loyalty of the Venezuelan military. If the US succeeds in reaching an agreement with the Bolivarian Republic's high-ranking officers, the country would be dragged into a civil war, he believes, "because there are many soldiers and nine million committed Chavistas, who will not roll over".

    "What the US hopes is that there will be chaos as in Iraq and Libya, and there will always be good business opportunities. It is unlikely that Venezuela will join the Club of Lima and the assembly of US puppet governments in Latin America. Chaos and destabilisation can serve US geopolitical interests well", the lawyer warned.

    Meanwhile, officials in Washington are making attempts to pin the blame for their failure on Russia, which continues to support the legitimate Venezuelan government, along with China, Turkey, Cuba, Mexico, and many other international players. On 5 May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that "every country must get out" of Venezuela "including the Russians".

    On 6 May, following talks with Secretary of State Pompeo in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ruled out the possibility of foreign military intervention in Venezuela.

    "We are against hostilities anywhere in violation of international law, the use of force may only be authorised by the UN Security Council, or force may be used in response to aggression against a sovereign state. Nothing of the kind is observed in Venezuela in any variants", Lavrov stressed.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    attempted murder, attempted coup, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, United States, Venezuela, Russia
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