US And Russia To Discuss Fate Of Venezuela Amid Reports Putin Will Not Prop Up Maduro

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Above Photo: Mr Maduro survived an attempted coup after he was reportedly refused exile to Russia CREDIT: AFP

Nicolas Maduro’s future will be weighed up today by two key players as Vladimir Putin and Mike Pompeo meet in Russia to discuss Venezuela’s fate.

Mr Pompeo, on his first visit to Russia as secretary of state, travels to Sochi armed with the knowledge Mr Putin is not committed to propping up Mr Maduro.

“Vladimir Putin detests Nicolas Maduro,” one Venezuelan source with decades of dealings with Russia told The Telegraph.

“It’s just a question of how to get out of this mess.”

Until recently Russia was thought to have seen Venezuela as a prized geopolitical gem, rich in resources and located at a valuable crossroads, and worth fighting for.

But Mr Putin is believed to have told President Donald Trump during their hour-long phone call on May 3 that he disliked Mr Maduro, and was prepared to negotiate for his departure.

“The primary focus throughout the call was about helping the people of Venezuela,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

Mr Guaido at a rally in Caracas on May 11

Mr Trump gave more insight into their conversation, suggesting that Mr Putin may indeed have said he had little love for the Venezuelan dictator.

“He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” said Mr Trump. “And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid. Right now people are starving. They have no water. They have no food.”

During the failed April 30 uprising in which Juan Guaido, the opposition leader widely seen as the country’s legitimate ruler, failed to dislodge Mr Maduro, the Venezuelan socialist telephoned Moscow to ask to fly there, sources told The Telegraph.

Russia has reportedly drawn up a legal document detailing why Mr Maduro cannot be exiled there. Moscow said that Mr Maduro could not fly to Moscow – comments which Mr Pompeo later spun to suggest that Moscow told Mr Maduro to stay.

Vladimir Frolov, a Russian analyst and journalist known for his close connections to intelligence services, said that Mr Putin is willing to “give up” Mr Maduro, for the right price.

“Putin specifically mentioned that during his call with Trump,” wrote Mr Frolov. “Withdrawing Russian military support for Maduro should also be matched by the withdrawal of US military assistance to Ukraine.”

A senior state department official, asked last week about the plans for discussions, insisted that the US will “continue to support democracy in Venezuela,” but would not comment on the negotiations themselves.

“We disagree with Russia’s continued support for Maduro and that’s going to be the subject of discussion,” the official said.

“We are concerned about Russia’s actions in Venezuela, and we think support for Maduro is a losing bet.  And so our support for the Venezuelan people continues, and that will be a subject for the discussion.”

Russia’s support for Venezuela is said to originate with the machinations of Igor Sechin, the man considered Mr Putin’s right hand man, who is CEO of the world’s largest oil company, Rosneft.

Widely feared in Russia, Mr Sechin is head of the “Siloviki Faction” – politicians who emerged from the intelligence services – and learnt fluent Spanish while serving as a KGB translator in Angola, a Cold War battle into which Fidel Castro sent Cuban troops.

Mr Sechin is said to be obsessed with returning Russia to the “glory days” of the Soviet Union, and when Hugo Chavez was being tormented by George W. Bush saw an opportunity to exert Russian influence in the region.

“Sechin says to Putin that this is a great opportunity,” explained one analyst. “Chavez is desperate and throwing himself at Russia. Sechin sees that they can make some money off him by selling arms, and at the same time gain a foothold in the US backyard.”

The US banned sales of arms to Venezuela in 2006, leading Venezuela to sign a $1 billion deal with Russia for combat aircraft. Russian arms sales to Venezuela have continued apace ever since.

Russia has deployed around 100 troops to Venezuela but Mr Putin is reportedly no fan of its leaderCREDIT: AFP

Rosneft has spent about $9 billion investing in Venezuelan oil projects since 2010. It has yet to break even, and is currently owed around $3 billion from Venezuela – forcing Mr Maduro to make frequent trips to Moscow to plead for tolerance, and Mr Sechin to visit Caracas demanding the Venezuelans pay up.

Rosneft also owns two offshore gas fields in Venezuela and has a stake in around 20 million tons of crude there.

Russian presence in Venezuela at the moment is hotly debated.

Jose Machillanda, a former defence advisor to Hugo Chavez who this year turned down a request from Mr Guaido to assist him, said he was aware of reports of between 120 and 140 Russian mercenaries based at the military sports and social club inside the Mamo military base, on the outskirts of Caracas.

Another military source said there were none at the moment.

On March 23 Russia sent around 100 troops to Caracas, mainly to repair damaged S300 missiles. It is unclear if they have remained in the country, although one source told The Telegraph that they were currently working to repair the damaged hydroelectric dam, El Guri.

Rocio San Miguel, president of the NGO Control Ciudano and one of the country’s most astute military observers, downplayed Venezuelan-Russian military relations.

“It’s not a happy situation for either,” she told The Telegraph. “They definitely don’t trust each other.”

Pedro Burelli, a former member of the board of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), who has over 20 years experience in Russia as an advisor and investor, agreed that “both share a dislike for Maduro and a dismay for what he has done to Venezuela.”

Mr Burelli, now managing partner of US-based B+V Advisors, said he thought Russia would abandon Mr Maduro without too much encouragement.

“Shaping a win-win strategy is not easy, but not impossible,” he told The Telegraph.

“Russia understands that there is little it can do to shape the outcome of a crisis very far from its borders, and the US will have to accept that years of Venezuelan-Russian entanglement will take time to undo and therefore require sustained engagement with and cooperation from Moscow.”

  • Putin appears to have tricked us all, Venezuela was only a bargaining tool in order to manipulate the US about Ukraine.

    I’ve mentioned a few times – we’ve all been played – this latest development appears to confirm my earlier suspicions.

    Now that Russian oil companies own a controlling share of Venezuelan oil Putin appears ready to throw Venezuela’s Maduro under the bus.

    Remember That Russian oil companies signed oil sharing agreement with Cheney back in 1997, way before 9-11.

    Something smells very rotten about all this.

  • With due respect, something tells me that you are mistaken, Southern,

  • Lets hope I’m wrong 😉

    What have you got?

  • Just faith, nothing in terms of facts yet ..

  • rgaura

    Pompeo is so stupid, he probably believes this nonsense. He fell for the last trap.

  • Infarction

    It is possible that the Russians could enter into an agreement with the devil to topple Maduro’s democratically elected and popular government. But Putin and his associates would be ill-advised to take the US word for anything. History is rife with specifics of the US reneging on treaties and agreements since the nation’s inception.

    The neoconservatives have shunted Trump to a side rail as their crazed mouthpieces, Bolton and Pompeo now call the shots in US foreign policy. These maniacs are salivating all over themselves to get their snouts into Venezuela’s natural resources. Their plan does not include dividing the booty with the Russians.

  • il corvo

    How do two testosterone stoked men get to negotiate what will happen to millions of common people? Is it possible that world leaders manufacture tension to keep the public engaged in a charade whose main goal isn’t peace, justice or caring but world domination and rule? What would the world be like without authoritative, power hungry, and fear generating governments? Power doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is a force that resides in our acculturated human ego. Even though I might not be directly involved in these games of power and control, I am not guilty but I am responsible. If we, the people, don’t change things, our oppressors will never do it.

  • Juan Pizarro Poventud

    Blah blah blah, Putin supports self determination, people forget the 6 million that voted for the Bolivarian Revolution, they don’t want their government dismantled, and will fight with their right to self-determination, liberty and freedom from imperialism.

  • dhinds

    The existing tensions have nothing to do with personalities.

    Obviously the crux of the matter is the re-privatization of Venezuela’s natural resources promised by the US puppet Juan Guaidó and hungered for by US corporations.

    And I don’t see Vladimir Putin betraying the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in that sense.

  • subcomandante Felix

    Blah, blah, blah, the Telegraph = mainstream media. A MSM that has sunk to new lows in it’s so-called “coverage” of events in Venezuela, aka propaganda and lies, more lies and damn lies.. How does the Telegraph know what Putin is thinking? The speculation of some Guaido shill? It doesn’t and this is just more blather in support of Yankee imperialism. The only question worth asking is why PR is promoting this bull shit? El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!

  • Jon

    I don’t trust this report at ALL. “But Mr Putin is believed to have told President Donald Trump”Hah! Probably the same invention from the head of Pompeo about Maduro “fleeing” Venezuela, and being seen at the airport–no credibility at all! Flush it!

  • Jon

    I disagree. I think he made it up as disinformation for the Gullibles.

  • Jon

    Understand disinformation: deliberate lies to misinform, often with no source other than wishful thinking and a sinister mind.

  • My bad then, this article is a piece of tripe we should be asking questions why Popular Resistance even reposted it. [who posted this, K&M are in the embassy]

    A quick search reveals that The Telegraph – Owned by The Barclay Brothers via The Telegraph Media Group

    ‘The Telegraph Media Group (previously the Telegraph Group) is the proprietor of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. It is a subsidiary of Press Holdings. David and Frederick Barclay acquired the group in July 2004, after months of intense bidding and lawsuits, from Hollinger Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the newspaper group controlled by the Canadian-born British businessman Conrad Black.’

  • It’s the source, however I still have my my doubt about Putin and that relates back to Syria when Russia could have and did not use their air defense systems against the IDF.[Intelligence sharing]

  • ANTONIO

    TOTALLY AGREE. It feels that it was written by some spy from the CIA pretending to be a PR writer. “Mr Maduro, the Venezuelan socialist”REALLY? When Venezuela is at least 60 run by private native and foreign corporations?? No idea what socialism is. The other non sequiturs are too numerous to mention. What a load of crap.

  • George Evans

    it seems that the conduct of the US in Ukraine so deeply offended the Russians that is burned….Since that time I can sense a vendetta against Biden, Hillary and the Democrats all…I believe they earned that and the Nuland legacy the Democrats will live with for many a year…
    Clinton was a disastrous candidate for POTUS last time..and , I would anticipate,Biden will be equally disastrous this time…
    If the democrat machine does not get it , Trump will win…and we have a disaster…

  • dhinds

    The report is fake, IMO.

  • Jon

    Biden has the charisma of a 2 week old cucumber. I don’t think he will get far in primaries.

  • mwildfire

    I like that, a two week old cucumber. I think I’ll use it.

  • mwildfire

    This time I really wonder why PR posted this clumsy piece of propaganda. But there is one item that concerns me. If it’s all pure bullshit, nothing factual in it, then Putin can simply say so. Or can the US and its allies just tell all their controlled media not to print such statements?

  • Some complexities are better left untouched ..

  • Jon

    LOL Please do. Tulsi is the best of the lot. Real deal. Have you seen her videos on YouTube?

  • George Evans

    right on…he just cannot be trusted…Trump just tells porkies all the time…Biden will try to convince you and then stab you in the back…He is a liar..Trump cannot help himself..he is sick…

  • Actually while I like Gabbard lot and Sanders also I think Mike Gravel is the best of the lot. But sadly we are no longer that courageous and idealistic a nation, and so Gravel is on the margins trying only to be heard above the din of the Trump Traumatized and their Trumpaloompa rivals . . . .