We might chalk it up to stating the obvious, but by and large the media has moved on from Venezuela, however, the coup plotters in Washington have not. Apparently the Kremlin also wishes to remind the world of this, given its ongoing support to Maduro and his army, and given that the Russian foreign ministry has remained vocal on the issue, announcing this week that “US-backed attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela will continue.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow: “We will continue to resist attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela that have been a failure so far. However, these attempts will continue at the US behest,” according to TASS. This was followed with similar statements by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday condemning the presence of American “warships” off Venezuela. She specifically identified a US Coast Guard ship as having been spotted 20 kilometers off the Venezuelan port of La Guaira. “This activity only aggravates the situation and does not contribute to the strengthening of trust,” she said.
She also repeated Moscow’s condemnation of ongoing externally backed illegal coup attempts: “At the same time, the radical opposition has initiated negotiations with the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces to overthrow the legitimate government,” she said in reference to the Juan Guido led opposition.
The foreign ministry further slammed last week’s hostile takeover by D.C. police and US Secret Service of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington after a handful of activists had been living there at the request of the Maduro government to safeguard it from opposition takeover. “This is a gross violation of Article 22 and Article 45 of the Vienna Convention in regards to ensuring the protection of the diplomatic mission,” Zakharova stated.
Amid these latest warnings of “continuing US coup attempts” it appears Moscow is indeed putting its money where its mouth is, given late last week Russian state media cited a military-diplomatic source to confirm that Russia plans to supply Venezuela’s army with more than 16,000 field rations. This after a large Russian state-run arms exporter published a contract related to the re-supply deal.
No doubt the very open publication of the supply deal is aimed at showing Washington that the Kremlin is not going anywhere in terms of its longtime military alliance with Caracas, which was controversially on full display last December when Russian two nuclear-capable “Blackjack” strategic bombers flew to Caracas, and departed soon after amid White House threats and demands.
Russia has also recently pledged it would assist Caracas in the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis and failing infrastructure, which in the past two months has included a series of mass power outages, which the Maduro government has blamed on US-backed saboteurs, but which the US has blamed on “the corrupt socialist regime and lack of investment and upkeep.”
Meanwhile Venezuelan Health minister Carlos Alvarado said this week that amidst runaway inflation, lack of medicine among the country’s 300 still functioning hospitals, and a spike in preventable diseases, the United States remains Venezuela’s number one threat.
The health minister blamed the ongoing humanitarian crisis on US sanctions, but said Russian assistance would help see the population through it, according to Reuters:
Aid agencies including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are bringing help, he added, and Russia provided 26,000 tonnes of aid including medication in March.
“We are strengthening our bond with Russia regarding the purchase of medication, they even want to invest in Venezuela for further production of medication,” he said, declining to give details.
After a failed military uprising which the Washington threw its support behind at the end of April, international media seems to have “moved on” – with Iran taking center stage of the last couple weeks.
Likely with the recent “distraction” of soaring tensions between the US and Iran, which only now appears to be calming, Russia could use the opportunity to quietly ramp up further support to Caracas, something by many indicators it appears to be doing.