President Nicolas Maduro should not trust anyone around him, especially not the Cubans and the Russians, said the US’ point man for toppling the Venezuelan leader after the latest failed US-backed coup attempt.
Elliott Abrams was appointed by the Trump administration to lead the effort to oust Venezuela’s elected President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido. The American protege on Tuesday tried to trigger a military uprising in the country by filming himself next to a military base in Caracas with a few uniformed men behind him while delivering a rousing speech, but failed. In the aftermath Abrams joined the chorus of top US officials telling the public that Maduro’s government is actually about to fall.
Speaking to US-Venezuelan TV channel VPItv, the US special envoy for Venezuela said Guaido was engaged in negotiations with senior military commanders on the terms of their turning their back on Maduro, who was not aware of the meeting, Abrams assured – that is until he revealed it on air.
Abrams went on to attempt to sow the seeds of doubt in Maduro’s heart, should he ever watch the interview. “Maduro can not trust his environment, including anyone who claims to be loyal to him. He can not count on that. Especially the Cubans and the Russians,” he ominously said.
Well, maybe the Venezuelan president will hear this and say to himself: this guy knows things and he must be telling the truth. But Abrams record is not exactly one of unblemished honesty. He was even convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair – the Reagan-era CIA operation to sell arms to Iran and use the unaccounted money to run guns to militants in Nicaragua – but got a pardon from Reagan’s vice-president, George H.W. Bush, who had become president by that time.
Other primary figures in team ‘Topple Maduro’ gave similarly bombastic statements to the media after the failed coup, explaining that the days of “the regime” are numbered. Secretary of State, and former CIA head, Mike Pompeo claimed the Venezuelan president was about to flee the country on Tuesday, but was told to stay by the Russians – a story that Abrams told in his interview too. Moscow called it “fake news.”
And National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed a scared Maduro was hiding in a military bunker afraid of his own people.Embarrassingly, Maduro at the same moment was delivering a speech in front of a thousands-strong crowd of his supporters in Caracas.But maybe US officials were giving their accounts about events in some alternative universe?