Is Russia prepared to defend Maduro with weapons?
María Teresa Romero
The threats in the form of a warning from Russia to Colombia, for its alleged military involvement in the Venezuelan crisis, puts back in the rug the role that the government of Putin has been exerting in Venezuela since the time of Hugo Chavez, augmented exponentially with Nicholas Maduro. But it also reflects what the limits of such an action would be and the geopolitical consequences thereof, given the ever-confrontation of the Russian regime with the West, in particular with the United States.
For no one is a secret that after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the arrival of Vladimir Putin at the head of Russia this does not hide his desires to revive what one day was the Soviet empire, and does not stray from the mind of the high Kremlin leader the challenge of Compet To go from you to you again, with the world’s first power. This is precisely what explains the steps that it has been giving in its approach to the “backyard of the United States”, especially towards Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, not to mention Cuba, which is already old history.
With regard to Venezuela, since the time of Chávez, Russia increased notably its presence, largely because the lieutenant colonel always wanted to take advantage of the traditional Russian-American rivalry for its own clashes against the states United, to whom he became his chief target and enemy. For this reason, the purchase of armaments and diverse warlike material increased considerably, including warplanes, helicopters, anti-aircraft systems and tanks, while opening the country for Russian, public and private investment, especially in the oil areas and mining.
However, nothing compared to the levels that the relationship has reached, I would even dare to describe as dependence, to which the mature regime has come with Putin’s Russia. Beyond the ideological proximity, which without a doubt exists, the pupil of Chávez increased Russian loans to support his regime, even if it is not possible to give exact figures given the opacity of all the agreements to which the current Venezuela arrives. Some analysts talk about a debt of about 17 billion dollars in arms purchases and fresh money that requires for their commitments to purchase consciences in the country, in the form of bonds and food distribution for the Chavistas hosts.
Similarly, Maduro has given Russia some of the country’s best oilfields as part of the payment of its hefty debt and sold 49 percent of the shares of the Citgo company, a subsidiary of PDVSA settled in the United States. , which has a very large network of service stations on North American soil.
As if it were not enough, according to offices of the AFP news agency, at the end of January 2019, 400 mercenaries, former Russian soldiers, landed in Venezuela with the mission to protect Maduro and his regime, just as the figure of Juan Guaidó emerged , who has been recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries and who leads the fight to force the tyrant to leave the place he usurps.
This close relationship between Putin and Maduro reached its summit point on March 26, with the arrival at the airport of Maiquetía of two planes with nearly one hundred Russian soldiers and 35 tons of material which to date has not been specified , which produced not only the alarms in opposition media in the country, but concited strong repudiation of US President Donald Trump, who requested the withdrawal of Russia from Venezuela.
The Trump administration has described the action of an “unfortunate provocation that will not leave the United States idly.” Many suspect that Putin could install missiles in Venezuela.La the Kremlin’s reaction came immediately, by the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Dimitri Polyanskiy, who asserted: “It is not up to the United States to decide the actions and fate of others Countries. It only depends on the people of Venezuela and their only legitimate president, Nicholas Maduro. ”
This decisive Russian support to the questioned Venezuelan dictator is what has alerted to the majority of the Latin American nations, although so far there has not been a unanimous reaction of Clara Repulsa like that which in our opinion should have been given by the Conglomerate of Latin American countries. Although with the exception of Colombia, which is one of the most affected countries with this incursion of Russian soldiers in Venezuelan lands, and the group of Lima, who launched a statement in which they expressed their concern and condemned “any provocation or deployment That threatens peace and security in the region. ”
Something is clear: Russia has a lot to lose if ripe leaves power. Venezuela is its main ally in American lands, it is a few hours of flight of its primordial container, the United States, and has invested much money in the South American country which could not recover if the struggle deployed valiantly by Juan Guaidó achieves, like We hope to evict Maduro from Miraflores. The Russians know that the agreements reached do not have the approval of the National Assembly and therefore are not legal and will not be recognized, hence they have been emphatic in declaring “legitimate” the mature regime.
But how far are they willing to go to defend it? Would they be involved militarily as in Syria? Will the Cuban missile Crisis revive? And what would be Donald Trump’s reaction? All the scenarios are to be seen. But it doesn’t look like the blood reaches the river.
In my opinion, the Russians are playing hardball with the fundamental goal of raising the cost to the US and other allies of Venezuelan democracy before a very probable negotiation for the departure of Maduro and his hosts of power-including the Cubans-who today usurp and They know that sooner or later they’ll have to deliver.
Posted in PanamPost on April 4, 2019
“The opinions published here are the absolute responsibility of its author”
The author is a journalist with a master’s degree and PhD in political science. Senior lecturer at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Author of several books. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.