US v Venezuela: Trump’s plot to OUST Maduro and curb influence from Russia and China

The Trump administration has adopted a new strategy towards not just Venezuela – but the South American continent as a whole. The Wall Street Journal claims an inside told the publication Cuba will be used to drive Russia away because the Latin country is “an antagonist that has dominated American attention in the region for more than 50 years, as well as recent inroads made by Russia, China and Iran”. The Journal says despite the US troubles with Venezuelan leader Mr Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, who has long been criticised by Washington, a number of officials believe Cuba poses a greater national security threat. Trump administration officials cite Cuba’s constant pushing of anti-American propaganda into neighbouring South American territories as a wider issue and said President Trump is seeking to sow discord between both Cuba and Venezuela in an attempt to cause a “collapse of the regimes”.

The strategy was developed by Mauricio Claver-Carone, Senior Director of the US National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs division, while Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart significantly influenced the plan, the publication reports.

But it does bear risks.

If Washington’s support for Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido does not force out Mr Maduro, the situation with Venezuela could further decay and the nation could strengthen ties with Iran, Russia and China as a result.

The US plot to seize control comes after Russia yesterday quashed suspicions it sent planes to Venezuela to extract 20 tonnes of gold from the South American country’s national bank.

Claims a Russian jet landed in Caracas where it was loaded with $840million portion of the country’s gold reserves were denied by Moscow, which claimed no knowledge of the allegations.

Venezuela’s opposition party, which has launched a coup against the country’s incumbent leader, said information had been received from the Bank of Venezuela that a plane from Russia had arrived to Caracas to “extract at least 20 tons of gold”, which amounts to 20 percent of the bank’s holdings.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was not aware of any plans to bring gold to Russia.

But images of the plane having landed at the airport told a different story.