Fox News on April 30 and May 1, 2019, extensively reported on ”Operation Freedom” in Venezuela, the designation for the intensified fight for freedom proclaimed by rightful president Juan Guaido. Excerpts below:

The head of Venezuela’s feared secret police has turned his back on disputed President Nicolas Maduro in an open letter [on April 30].

Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the head of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), is the highest-ranking member of the country’s security forces to break with Maduro since Guaidó called for [Operation Freedom].

Earlier…,National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration was waiting for three key officials — Maduro’s defense minister, the chief judge of the supreme court and the commander of Maduro’s presidential guard — to act on what he said were private pledges to remove the beleaguered Venezuelan leader.

Guaidó has said…he would release a list of top commanders supporting the uprising.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” said Guaidó. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution they are on the right side of history.”

The U.S. has learned Venezuela’s disputed president, Nicolas Maduro, was “ready” to leave the country amid protest violence and calls for his ouster — until Russia convinced him to stay, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on [April 30].

“He was ready to go,” Pompeo said… “He was diverted by the Russians.”

He did not give any further specifics on when this apparently took place. Pompeo also noted he wanted Maduro, whom he called a “thug,” to get back on that plane.

The U.S. and about 50 other nations have taken the position that Maduro’s re-election last year was marred by fraud and that he is not the legitimate president of Venezuela, a once prosperous nation that has the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

The U.S. government said about 20,000 Cuban troops and agents have been working in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s government,..

Pompeo said the Cubans and Russians have been in direct opposition of Venezuela’s duly elected leader, Juan Guaido.

He noted that the 14 countries supporting Maduro were on the wrong side of history, and that rule of law and democracy must be restored.

“It’s time for Maduro to leave … and rebuild this once great economy,” Pompeo [said].

[President] Juan Guaidó urged Venezuelans to take to the streets for new mass protests on May 1.

In a video statement posted on social media [on April 30], Guaidó also urged the military to join with those clamoring for change in Venezuela.

Guaidó said he called for the uprising to restore Venezuela’s constitutional order, broken when Maduro was sworn in earlier this year for a second term following elections boycotted by the opposition and considered illegitimate by dozens of countries.

Protesters erected barricades of debris at several downtown intersections about 10 blocks from the presidential palace, but police in riot gear moved in quickly to clear the roads. Most shops and businesses were closed and the streets of the capital unusually quiet, as people huddled at home to await the outcome of the day’s drama.

In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day of violent street battles for a crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters.

As Venezuela plunged into a dramatic televised scene of chaos and violence…President Trump warned he would impose a “full and complete embargo” and sanctions on Cuba if its troops do not cease operations in the ravaged South American nation.

The Trump administration also has worked to roll back Obama-era easing of Cold War sanctions on Cuba.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Tuesday that Maduro had been on his way out of the country bound for Cuba, but that Russia told him to remain. Bolton, meanwhile, warned Russia against interfering.

The U.S. government said about 20,000 Cuban troops and agents have been working in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s government, a figure disputed by Cuba.

That support had seemed to crack Tuesday with the launch of what the opposition was calling “Operation Freedom,” which began with the early-morning release of a short video of Guaido and Lopez alongside a few dozen national guardsmen urging people to “take to the streets.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL., denounced the actions by Venezuelan security forces, saying that “military and security leaders must realize they are and will be held responsible for this,” he said on Twitter.

“What we are seeing today in Venezuela is the will of the people to peacefully change the course of their country from one of despair to one of freedom and democracy,” Pompeo tweeted in an early reaction. “The U.S. stands with them.”

The president of the European Union’s Parliament, Antonio Tajani, came out as the strongest European voice in support of the opposition. In a tweet in Spanish, Tajani called the events “a historic moment for the return to democracy and freedom in Venezuela,” and described the release of activist Leopoldo López from house arrest as “great news.”

“Let’s go Venezuela free!” wrote Tajani, a prominent conservative leader.

All but four EU members endorsed the initial, Europe-wide call in February to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó when he appointed himself interim president.

The four who did not join the other EU members were Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia.

Comment: Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, said on [April 30] that Russia was the “key player” in the Venezuelan crisis and that it showed no interest in following the 19th-century U.S. doctrine discouraging interference in Western nations’ affairs.

“I think Russia is the key player here,” Continetti on “Special Report.” “If you look at the Russian actions — from military flights to Venezuela, to inserting… these kind of non-uniformed paramilitary officers, to sending formal military advisers and assistance to Maduro,” he said.

Varldsinbordeskriget believes it may be time to reintroduce the Monroe Doctrine that in the 19th century was introduced by the United States to prevent interference in the Western hemisphere by European powers.

The American call for a full and complete embargo on Cuba seems appropriate. Cuba is very active in Venezuela and is organizing the so called collectivos, motor cycle gangs that roam the streets of Caracas to intimidate the Venezuela freedom fighters.

European nations should follow the lead of the Italian president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani in supporting freedom in Venezuela. Since his election in 2017 Tajani is an important conservative voice in European politics.

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