US plans military intervention in Venezuela, says Russian official

 Russia's Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev accused the United States of preparing a military intervention in Venezuela. Speaking to the RIA news agency on Tuesday, 26, Patrushev said the shift of US troops to Puerto Rico and Colombia are signs of a Washington strategy to overthrow dictator Nicolás Maduro with the use of force.
 In an interview with Interfax, the secretary also said that Russia had agreed to meetings proposed by the US government on the situation in Venezuela, a close ally of Moscow, but added that Donald Trump's government repeatedly postponed these consultations, using "pretexts invented. "
 "The relocation of US special forces units to Puerto Rico from United States Army troops to Colombia and other events evidently shows that the Pentagon is increasing its military power in the region to use it in President Maduro's withdrawal."
 "The Venezuelan people see this clearly," Patrushev added, implying that this perception increases support for the dictator and motivates Maduro to refuse the aid offered "by an aggressor state." In recent weeks, the Chavista has been blocking the entry of humanitarian aid sent by the United States and other countries that support the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó, claiming that Washington can see shipments of food as an opportunity to import its weapons into the Latin American country.
 Last weekend, the closing of the border between Venezuela and neighboring countries was the cause of conflicts between the Bolivian National Guard (GNB), supporter of Maduro, and demonstrators who tried to reach the foreign trucks on the border with Colombia and Brazil . While many world leaders condemn the use of force in an intervention to Maduro's government, Trump confirmed that sending US troops to Venezuela was among the "options on the table."
 In a recent interview with the British network BBC, Maduro has already accused the United States of plotting a coup against him. Last month, the Russian government, a loyal supporter of the Chavez government, also criticized the ostensible mediation of Americans over the Venezuelan crisis. According to a statement from the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin called Maduro and "emphasized that destructive external interference is a gross breach of fundamental norms of international law."
 As a way to reinforce their rejection of American shipments and the strength of their parallel alliances, Maduro announced last Monday that a large consignment of Russian aid was on its way to Venezuela. "On Wednesday (20) 300 tons of aid and humanitarian aid will arrive from Russia," Maduro said at the time in a statement broadcast on television, saying that the shipment included "high-cost drugs."
 The Venezuelan dictator said that the Russian shipment was paid by his government and that he would legally enter the country. Venezuela is undergoing a major social and economic crisis, facing food and drug shortages in the midst of a devastating hyperinflation, which has already surpassed 2,600,000%. According to the UN, since 2015, 3 million Venezuelans have already left the country in search of aid in neighboring countries, also creating a migration problem.

(with Reuters)

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