Iran, PA Among Those Standing With Embattled Venezuelan President
Iran, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hezbollah are among those who are standing with embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as the United States insists that his presidency is illegitimate.
On Wednesday, Juan Guaido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly and the opposition leader to Maduro, invoked a constitutional amendment to assume the title of interim president, arguing that Maduro usurped power through an illegitimate election.
“I swear to assume all the powers of the presidency to secure an end to the usurpation,” Guaido said.
Guaido has reportedly been working with the Trump administration on a peaceful method to transition Maduro out of power.
Maduro has indicated that he will not relinquish power, accusing the United States of orchestrating a coup against him. Iran is among those echoing Maduro’s line.
“Iran supports the government and people of Venezuela against any sort of foreign intervention and any illegitimate and illegal action such as attempt to make a coup d’etat,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday morning.
The PA’s foreign ministry also announced their solidarity with the Maduro regime:
SHAME: Palestinian President Abbas, now in 15th year of his 4-year term, endorses "the democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro," joining ranks of Russia, Cuba, Turkey and Bolivia. https://t.co/OuLKrrRM6p pic.twitter.com/sKweTfxHVG
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 24, 2019
Hezbollah, Iran’s Shia terrorist group based in Lebanon, did as well:
Hezbollah issues statement condemning "blatant American intervention [in attempt] to destabilize Venezuela, and strongly condemns attempted coup against the country's legitimate authority," Maduro.https://t.co/xtqFLNLjPA
— David Daoud (@DavidADaoud) January 24, 2019
Russia has been sending war planes to Venezuela as sign of support for Maduro. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the move in a tweet:
#Russia's government has sent bombers halfway around the world to #Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer. pic.twitter.com/bCBGbGtaHT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 11, 2018
After the U.S. announced that it was recognizing Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, several other countries followed suit, including Canada and Brazil:
History will record where you stood on Jan. 23, 2019.#ForMaduro:
🇺🇸 United States
🇨🇷 Costa Rica#Silent:
🏳️ Human Rights Watch
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 23, 2019
The Venezuelan military has announced its support for Maduro, however Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has been working with the Trump administration on the matter, is insisting that it is just the generals who are standing with Maduro:
The correct headline should be Venezuela’s generals pledge allegiance to Maduro.
The top brass & the midlevel officers & rank and file are not the same thing. These generals make lots of $ from Maduro corruption. Soldiers suffering like everyone else. https://t.co/fbUgjImsWA
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 24, 2019
According to the Jewish Policy Center (JPC), Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have a “long history of collaboration with Iran, including sanctions evasion, terror finance, and ideological subversion.”
“During the presidencies of Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Caracas was a key facilitator of Tehran’s sanctions-busting efforts,” the JPC report states. “The two regimes established business ventures and financial institutions in Venezuela, which they used to launder Iranian money, procure technology, and bribe senior Venezuelan officials.”
The report adds that Hezbollah has also been working with the Chavez and Maduro regimes, having “used South America as a base” money laundering in order to finance its terror activities.
The JPC went on to explain how Venezuela’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah stems from the Venezuelan economy being plagued by hyperinflation, prompting the Venezuelan government to turn their worthless currency into counterfeit U.S. dollars through Iran and Hezbollah’s help.
“Suffering from a self-inflicted economic disaster, Venezuela is running out of foreign currency reserves. Turning worthless currency into greenbacks helps address that problem,” the report states. “Hezbollah gets a hefty commission for the job and gains political leverage in Venezuela in exchange for its help. Iran, as the key facilitator of the Venezuela-Hezbollah connection, favors the injection of billions of counterfeit greenbacks into the global economy because such a step is damaging to the U.S. financial system.”