Chinese, Indian and Russian foreign ministers voiced their opposition to US military action in Venezuela on Wednesday , following a meeting in the Chinese city of Wuzhen.

“The nature of the Venezuela problem is Venezuela’s internal affairs,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “When each country handles the Venezuelan issue, we should … uphold the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, oppose the use or threat of military force, and uphold the standards of basic international relations.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed his Chinese counterpart’s comments on military intervention:

“We are watching closely the reports about what is really happening there. We see how absolutely brazen attempts have been taken to artificially create a pretext for military intervention,” Lavrov said. “We hear direct threats from Washington that all options remain on the table. The actual implementation of these threats is pulling in military equipment and training [US] special forces.”

Lavrov added that the recent attempts to break through the Venezuelan border under the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid have been made “in hopes that there will be casualties.”

“Then hysterical screaming will follow under the well-known scenario and an attempt of military intervention will be carried out,” he said.

“It’s no coincidence that Brazil’s leadership has already stated that it won’t participate in this and provide its territory for the US for aggression against Venezuela,” he noted. “I believe that no Latin American country, including members of the so-called Lima Group, actively calling for an early presidential election and supporting [self-proclaimed president] Juan Guaido, has voiced support for military intervention.”

Russia has been actively cooperating with all countries that are also concerned over the looming prospect of a military action, Lavrov noted.

During the meeting Indian, Chinese and Russian foreign ministers also discussed a wide range of other topics related to the situation in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. However, the most important thing is that it seems that the US appears to be unable to form a coalition for military intervention in Venezuela.

Of these, Russia and China are perhaps the two most visible. As in Syria, and historically in Central America, Russia is the primary supplier of lethal military aid, along with financial and technical support to the Venezuelan armed forces. Totaling more than $11 billion in military goods thanks to Russian arms sales, Venezuela represents 75% of Russia’s total foreign military sales in the region. Additionally, the Russian state-owned energy firm, Rosneft, has provided Venezuela with an estimated $17 billion in financing since 2006. Moscow has leveraged its collateral deals to acquire expanded stakes in Venezuela’s oilfields, namely the heavy-crude Orinoco belt, which gives Russia more control of Venezuela’s strategic energy assets.

Russia is not alone in leveraging debt for greater control of strategic assets in Venezuela. According to the International Institute of Finance, China holds more than $23 billion in Venezuela’s foreign debt, making it the country’s largest creditor. Through these credits and loans, Beijing is the primary benefactor and principal banker to the South American nation, and China has enormous leverage over outcomes in Venezuela.

Chinese energy companies are also gaining an increasing share of Venezuela’s most lucrative oil field, the Faja Del Orinoco (FDO). With a 25-year land grant to the FDO, China has secured access to strategic territory in Venezuela; and in exchange, China has used its checkbook to fund many of the Bolivarian Republic’s social programs, such as subsidized housing and free medical clinics.

External support from China, Russia, and Cuba has contributed significantly to propping up the Venezuelan government during the last decade. Both Russia and China continue to leverage their financial, military, and energy support to the Maduro regime through Cuba’s robust counterintelligence and human intelligence networks, which permeate Venezuela’s highest political and military levels. Cuba is indispensable to China and Russia for its operational knowledge of Russian-supplied equipment, along with its longstanding ties to communist clandestine networks.

In this context, it is hard to imagine a scenario that removes Havana’s presence from Venezuela without first passing through Moscow or Beijing. Iran, on the other hand, can operate independently in Venezuela because it taps into a separate, more robust clandestine network that has been developing in Latin America for more than half a century.

The goal is not just “sticking it to the Americans,” but also “amplifying their power,” Quintana said, noting the region’s wealth of oil reserves. Both China and Russia “want to be in a position to be a power broker in Latin America.”

The U.S. administration’s approach to countering Chinese and Russian influence in Latin America is rooted in building new alliances and strengthening the ones that already exist. Maintaining strong military-to-military ties is key, Goldfein said.

“There are times when our diplomatic relationships may change based on the political environment, but we are able to maintain a military-to-military relationship and dialogue,” Goldfein said. He stressed his close friendship with Colombia’s Air Force chief, Gen. Carlos Eduardo Bueno, and lauded the country for leading the region in promoting democracy.

“Colombia is really the gold standard for how you take the resources of the country and, through strong leadership and perseverance, you turn a country around and get it on a path toward democracy,” Goldfein said.

Ensuring U.S. and Colombian forces can operate seamlessly together involves not just frequent joint exercises, he said, but also using interoperable equipment. For example, the Colombian Air Force is a world leader in employing light attack aircraft to fight drug traffickers, a practice the U.S. Air Force is hoping to emulate against insurgents in the Middle East. The United States has in recent years provided A-29 Super Tucanos, the same aircraft the Colombian Air Force operates, to the fledgling Afghan Air Force, and it is now looking to buy that platform for its own pilots.

During the visit, Goldfein said, he and Colombian leaders discussed partnership opportunities “to protect the sovereignty of their airspace,” including potentially selling Colombia U.S. military aircraft such as F-16 fighter jets.

Reinforcing U.S. alliances in Latin America is also part of a “layered defense approach” to protecting America’s borders, Goldfein said. One current concern is the crisis of Venezuelan migrants, who are pouring into Colombia at rates of more than 4,000 a day. At the request of the Colombian government, Mattis this fall sent the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort to Colombia to provide medical care for the migrants.

Another challenge the two air chiefs discussed is a recent spike in cocaine production across Colombia. Goldfein said the United States is exploring how it can help the Colombian government eradicate the coca fields.

“We need to be there for our Latin American counterparts for the good and the bad,” Quintana said. “This is a very critical time, because there is a lot of positives happening in the region.”

Before the defense minister spoke on Thursday, Russia accused the United States of promoting regime change in Venezuela, warning of the “catastrophic consequences” of destabilizing the country.

Moscow has been a close ally of Venezuela for more than a decade, helping the country’s crumbling economy with billions of dollars in loans as well as military support.

“Any external intervention is very dangerous,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, told reporters in Moscow. “We consider the attempt to usurp the top power in Venezuela as going against the foundations and principles of the international law.”

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the United States was being hypocritical in accusing Russia of meddling in American elections while blatantly interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. He also said that hints of armed intervention were particularly alarming.

“That the United States and some other countries have recognized the self-proclaimed president shows that they played a direct role in the crisis in Venezuela,” Mr. Lavrov told a news conference in Algiers, where he was visiting.

War With Russia? Trump Says Russian Troops Must “Get Out” Of Venezuela And “All Options Are Open” To Make That Happen

Instead of “collusion with Russia”, will the mainstream media soon be buzzing about a potential war with Russia?  The Trump administration and the Russian government are currently engaged in a very heated war of words regarding the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and at this point it is difficult to see how this crisis will end well unless one side is willing to back down.  The Russians are backing current president Nicolas Maduro, and as you will see below, they now have troops on the ground in the country.  That absolutely infuriated President Trump, because it greatly complicated his plans for regime change in Venezuela.  He told the press that Russia must “get out” and that “all options are open” as far as accomplishing that goal.  In other words, President Trump is actually threatening Russia with military force if they refuse to pull their troops out of the country.

A war in Venezuela would be far more complicated and far more difficult than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just consider Ron Paul’s assessment of such a conflict

So is President Trump about to attack Venezuela? At a recent US House hearing, one of the expert witnesses testified that such an invasion would require between 100,000 and 150,000 US troops, going up against maybe three times that number of Venezuelan troops in a country twice the size of Iraq. With a lot of jungle. All for a “prize” that has nothing to do with US security. If the president makes such a foolish move he might find the current war cheerleaders in the Democrat Party changing their tune rather quickly. Let’s hope Trump changes his tune and returns to his promises of no more regime change wars.

How to be prepared for a food crisis?

Food Crisis queuing case of a food shortage you should be aware that grocery stores only have about 3 days of food in stock. People will rush and buy as much as they can so probably the food will vanish in less than a day or hours. So if anything was to disrupt the food supply chain for an extended period of time, there would be chaos in most communities. It’s very important to start preparing NOW. There are several ways to start. The choice you make should depend on the event you are preparing for. Of course the best way is to prepare for all scenarios including long periods.


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