rally maduro
© Agence France-Presse
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) and his wife Cilia Flores wave at the crowd during a gathering to mark the 20th anniversary of the rise of power of the late Hugo Chavez, in Caracas on February 2, 2019.

Comment: Two geopolitical analysts from Vesti offer their views on the attempted US-backed coup in Venezuela.

Dmitry Kiselev:

In Venezuela there is the most severe crisis. The lawful president of the country Nicolás Maduro controls the army, the courts, and the intelligence agencies, but the US, their allies following in their footsteps, recognised someone else as the head of state - the leader of the oppositional parliament Juan Guaido, encouraging a coup d'etat.

Guaido is an impostor. He is the speaker of the local parliament, but proclaimed himself the president. Without any elections. Recently we spoke about the arisen diarchy in the country, but now this definition isn't absolutely exact any more. Guaido has no real control levers. He has only the support of the West and some of the countries of the region. Thus, supporters of a coup d'etat lost speed and started to lose traction.

An attempt was made to split the army, but it didn't work. An attempt was made to bring millions to the street - this also failed. Of course, some of the population support the mutineers. But Maduro's position looks more open and therefore attractive - he is ready to hold negotiations, but Guaido isn't. That's why the dynamics are not yet in favour of Guaido.

Yes, Venezuela currently has huge economic difficulties, and a program for overcoming them is necessary, but nevertheless the prime goal now for Maduro is to prevent civil war, which threatens to destroy simply the country, when already no programs will be possible.

Venezuela - it should be remembered - is a state whose underground deposits hold the largest oil reserves on the planet, more than Saudi Arabia's, and more than Russia's. The same thing, seemingly, also concerns gold. Do one need more reasons for why the US's dreams about grabbing it all?

So, about the reasons. "The main one is to receive Venezuelan oil, because we have the biggest certified oil reserves in the world. We certify what will be the biggest reserves of gold in the world. We have the world's fourth largest reserves of gas and we have large reserves of diamonds, huge reserves of drinking water, aluminium, and iron. We are a power in the sphere of energy and natural resources," stated Maduro. It is clear why the US is now so excited.

Anton Stepanenko:

The boulevard is a traditional venue of official demonstrations. The current one was more reminiscent of a concert meeting. About ten platforms and stages along the entire boulevard - so that performance of an ensemble on one doesn't disrupt the rhythm of another. And nearby a new group already prepares for a performance. This is how they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bolivarian revolution, which was launched in 1999 by the previous leader of the country Hugo Chávez, and the present leader - Nicolás Maduro - continues it.

"We are sure of the correctness and legality of our president. Therefore you won't see angry or stressed faces here," said the audience.

Indeed, for a foreigner, Venezuelans have an incomparable political and musical carnival. But also between the salsa rhythms here, of course, politics is talked about too.

"President Maduro offers to hold negotiations with the opposition. After all, we have a single country, but Juan Guaido, or perhaps his patrons, disagrees about negotiations. It is they who are splitting the country" consider the people.

The procession of the opposition began later. The dissenters converged from different areas of the city to the gathering point to demonstrate their dislike for President Maduro in the area of Las Mercedes. Because of this some streets were blocked. Actually, this is why the optimal transport during these hours became the motorcycle - fast, affordable, and brisk.

"We are ready to stand up for the interim president Juan Guaido as long as is necessary," said those who came to the procession.

On January 23rd they didn't just stand around. There were intentional provocations, that's why there were clashes with the police and there were victims. After all, for the opposition it is profitable to aggravate the situation and present the government as the stranglers of democracy.
violence opposition venezuela
© Reuters
Opposition demonstrators set fire to a government truck in Caracusduring a demonstration against Nicolas Maduro's government
Keeping an intriguing pause on whose side it is on, the Venezuelan army, finally, made a determination. It supports the president Nicolás Maduro. The special statement was made by the Minister of Defence. And the soldiers are on the side of the president, although the opposition declared more than once that it is holding secret negotiations with the military, trying to win the army over.

"Maduro gave the impression that he is a very vigorous person. I personally met him after a one and a half hour rally under the scorching sun in the city of Maracay, at the Air Force base. He jogged together with the military personnel. He is an absolutely self-assured leader who knows what he's doing," noted Dmitry Znamensky, the correspondent of RIA Novosti in Venezuela.

According to analysts, cracks are starting to slowly show in the seemingly united Venezuelan opposition. And thus centrifugal trends are strengthening. However, they are still in solidarity on one question - the oil business.

The national oil company PDVSA cooperates with China, India, and France. But the leader in terms of extraction is Russia, which has been active at Venezuelan oil fields since 2013.

"Over these years Russia has launched a large number of wells here. In this region alone there are over 190, and it is planned to build 53 more this year. It is a serious contribution to the industry," said the engineer Pedro Valderrama.

Russia not only invests in exploration and the opening of new Venezuelan wells, it also introduces new technologies that allow to increase the efficiency of production.

One of the versions that explains the speech of the opposition against the president Maduro has an oil background. Washington decided to return to this country, to push Russia with China out, and to work on conditions that are profitable for itself. And the victory of the opposition also has to give exactly this to America. The next rally against president Maduro is scheduled for February 12th. According to the impostor Juan Guaido, it will be like an historical day.

See the Vesti video report (Russian) here (scroll down to bottom)