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18 February 201917:41

Statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

338-18-02-2019

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The situation in Venezuela is following an alarming trajectory. Encouraged by Washington, the opposition plans to hold, on February 23, events which, paraphrasing the great Latin American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, could be called "the chronicle of a provocation foretold."

Notably, they are planned on the same day the term of the pseudo interim presidency formally expires. After February 23, his unauthorised activities will become illegitimate even within the framework of the “legal” model designed by him and his Washington handlers. Clearly, certain "actions" are required of him.

What specifically? The plan is to bring in cargo designated as “humanitarian aid” for the Venezuelan people from a neighbouring state. Considering the position taken on this issue by the legitimate authorities of Venezuela, the masterminds behind this action mean to “step into the breach”, provoking the border guards and the military into using force. They expect either to divide the military (it’s no accident that the “interim president” set an ultimatum for them to side with him within eight days), or to create token victims, a Venezuelan Maidan, a “heavenly hundred,” which would justify military intervention from outside the country.

In recent days, the Colombian city of Cucuta located at the Venezuelan border, has become internationally known, and the executive producers of the current anti-Venezuelan campaign from Washington, including Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, have already arrived there.

This begs the question: what do the people behind this scenario have in mind?

If they are truly motivated by a desire to help people with humanitarian aid, it would be reasonable to ask, first, wouldn’t it make more sense, instead of a hypocritical attempt to import "aid" to the tune of a couple hundred million dollars, to unlock the accounts of Venezuelan state enterprises in US banks in the amount of $11 billion (allocated by the government for purchasing medicine, food and essential supplies) or the PDVSA funds and assets in the amount of $7 billion? The total damage caused by the US sanctions on Venezuela since 2013 is estimated at $345 billion. It is hard to believe that such unlawful sanctions aimed at strangling the Venezuelan economy were designed to alleviate the situation of the ordinary citizens in that country.

Second, if the organisers really want to just deliver some kind of humanitarian aid to the needy, why not use the specialised UN agencies that have extensive and invaluable experience in carrying out such operations? Could it be because their operations are based on impartiality, neutrality, independence and humanity, and because all steps are necessarily coordinated with the legitimate authorities of a particular country or influential and trustworthy regional organisations, such as CARICOM?

Of course, these questions are irrelevant if we are talking about a staged provocation and the exploitation of a noble cause. Then, another question comes to mind, primarily, for Latin Americans. We are aware that the complicated history of the region has caused a persistent allergy to foreign military intervention, which came, as a rule, from the north, i.e. the United States. We are aware that all countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, regardless of the political hue of their governments, have spoken out against military intervention in Venezuela. The possibility is only discussed in the United States and, oddly enough (though, perhaps, it is not odd at all), by the "interim president of Venezuela" himself, in such strong terms in fact that sometimes his Washington handlers have to rein him in. Is anyone in the region prepared to allow a military scenario? The voice of Latin Americans against provocation and in defence of Latin America, once proclaimed an area of peace, would be especially important to hear now.

I would like to remind everyone of the events of 1986, when “humanitarian aid to Nicaragua” turned out to be a batch of weapons to the contras. By the way, the current US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams supervised that operation.

Again and again we emphasise that the resolution of Venezuela's problems is the exclusive right, competence and responsibility of the Venezuelans themselves, which they should exercise without provocative interference from the outside. International, primarily regional, assistance should be aimed at providing as much friendly assistance as possible. As such, we welcome the goals stated and pursued by the participants of the Montevideo Mechanism which includes Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, and the CARICOM countries. For our part, we are ready to assist in achieving such an understanding between all constructive and patriotic forces in Venezuela.

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