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26 Feb, 2019 23:14

‘Aid trucks’ carry nails & wire for barricades, Venezuelan FM says, showing photos

‘Aid trucks’ carry nails & wire for barricades, Venezuelan FM says, showing photos

Addressing the UN Security Council, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said trucks supposedly carrying humanitarian supplies to Venezuela were also loaded with nails and wire, showing photos of seized cargo.

The opposition-led and US-backed operation to drive trucks with humanitarian aid over the Colombia-Venezuela border led to violent scuffles which saw many police officers injured and several trucks set on fire.

Denouncing the botched delivery as a “well-orchestrated operation to violate the territory of Venezuela,” Arreaza presented what he called evidence of the US-led effort being a Trojan horse aimed at inciting a coup.

“And let me tell you, when the trucks were inspected, it turned out that there was not just food and medicine in the trucks, but there was equipment for barricades. There were nails, wire and so on and so forth. And this is what is used by the opposition in Venezuela," Arreaza said, showing the photos of what looked like piles of heavy wire lying on the ground.

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Arreaza said that Caracas also has video proof that can be viewed by all those interested.

Praising the Venezuelan Army and police response to the attempt to smuggle in the “aid,” he said that it was “the latest chapter of the coup” which has “failed.”

Arreaza also blasted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been tweeting strong-worded statements zealously promoting regime change in Venezuela.

However, it was an uncaptioned tweet by Rubio that has drawn the most attention online, being slammed as a thinly-veiled death threat against the Venezuelan president.

The tweet posted by Rubio on Sunday is an image of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as he was being lynched by a mob of US-backed opposition fighters.

Arreaza said that Rubio's open call for violence is incompatible with American values, since the US prides itself on being the paragon of democracy.

"He is representing the people of the United States and the people of Florida. These are the values of the people of the United States? To call for the killing of the president? Because in this context it is obviously what this picture means."

Rubio's and other Trump administration officials' push for a military coup in Venezuela could be part of Trump's re-election strategy, Arreaza said.

"They use foreign policy for [US President Donald] Trump to ensure that he will be nominated in Florida," he said, adding that Trump has to do something "to maintain his integrity as a president."

"So, perhaps, they come up with a military operation in Venezuela?"

Arreaza said that Caracas is willing to sit down with whatever representative the opposition sends, including self-proclaimed US-backed 'interim president' Juan Guaido himself.

"We are waiting to see the members of the Venezuelan opposition. Mr. Guaido, whoever else, they will decide who will sit down with the constitutional government of Venezuela. And then we can build our own solution without intervention, interference from anyone, much less the United States."

Caracas can only "hope" that handlers in Washington will give Guaido their "authorization" to resolve the crisis through "dialog and negotiations." Arreaza said Venezuela is open to mediation from Latin American counties, as well as from the EU, and looks forward to talks "without agenda." The senior Venezuelan diplomat did not rule out snap elections as a way to resolve the stalemate.

"There are elections, maybe, or there are other possible solutions, maybe."

'Are you truly so naïve that you believe you won't be next?'

The UNSC meeting on Tuesday was used by the US as an opportunity to call for more sanctions against Caracas and drum up support for its rhetoric of regime change.

Speaking at the meeting, the US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, called on UNSC member states "to consider what resources and tools they have to contribute to the Venezuelan democracy" and "pressure the Maduro regime to peacefully step down."

Amid speculation that Venezuela's neighboring states, notably Colombia, can serve as a springboard for invasion, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called on "all states in the region regardless of political affiliations" to reject "threat and use of force."

"Are you truly so naïve, do you really believe that you are immune to this, that you will not be next?," the Russian diplomat said, calling the proposed new sanctions an attempt to "bring Venezuela down to the state of destitution" to trigger a "humanitarian intervention."

Eilliot, who in the 1980s was involved in shipping weapons into Nicaragua under the guise of humanitarian aid, said that the US wants the council to vote this week on a draft resolution calling for early elections in Venezuela and for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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