What is the US-Russian Dispute Over Critical Situation in Caracas

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CARACAS, Venezuela – The worsening of the current Venezuelan situation could cause a new “critical point” in relations between Russia and the United States and stimulate the anti-establishment sentiment of the American establishment, experts say.

This Saturday, the parties involved will have the opportunity to speak on the issue at a meeting specially convened by the UN Security Council in New York.

Deputy Program Director for Russia and Eurasia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Jeffrey Mankoff said that the situation around Venezuela could become a new critical point in relations between Moscow and Washington.

“Many in Washington believe that Russia’s support for Maduro is a retaliation to US intervention in Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union, a region Russia considers to be its area of ​​influence, as the United States traditionally does in Latin America,” Mankoff believes.

For the analyst, there is a real possibility that the situation around Veneziuela will be out of control.

“The US decision not to withdraw its diplomats after Maduro’s demand actually makes them hostage. How the US will respond to this will likely be largely determined by events in domestic politics, but if Washington tends to increase pressure on Maduro or if Maduro decides to arrest or otherwise put American diplomats at risk, the possibility of military intervention is real,” he said.

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Because of this, countries that continue to support the Venezuelan leader, such as Russia and China, will face a difficult choice, the expert says, comparing the situation with that in which Washington was when Moscow decided to “intervene in Kiev.”

According to the analyst, it is difficult to predict the actions of the Russian authorities regarding Venezuela.
In that regard, the head of the Global Interests Center in Washington, Nikolai Zlobin, also believes that the situation around Venezuela will be used in some way by the US to continue a policy of anti-racism.

“This is a kind of argument between the people in Washington, especially in Congress, who are anti-Russian. The argument that [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and Russia supported the dictator [Maduro] will be used more than once, regardless of how events develop in Venezuela. The fact that the US and Russia have been on different sides in this matter will certainly affect the atmosphere, this will be another problem in relations,” believes Zlobin

The political scientist still points out that Venezuela, by virtue of its position, is a country relatively close to the United States, and Russia’s “tough stance” on this issue is seen by many Americans as “evidence of the political affinity of the two regimes – its characteristics, objectives and intentions.”

According to him, there is little interest in the US and Russia having good relations.

“Most Americans now say it’s indifferent to them because there is not a single problem that Americans can most successfully solve with the help of an alliance with Russia,” Zlobin concludes.

On January 23, street protests began against the current president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. On the same day, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself acting head of state, a decision that was supported by the United States and several other countries. Because of this, Maduro broke diplomatic relations with Washington and demanded that American diplomats leave the country in 72 hours. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to acknowledge this requirement, saying that Maduro has no authority to make such a decision.

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