I have documented every post on Latin America strenuously, but this post is an exception. I do not have contacts in the country or in any of the other places involved, so please read with caution.
In his Thursday, May 2, 2019 show, Jaime Bayly described that the Minister of Defense for the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, General Vladimir Padrino, had agreed to aid Juan Guaidó remove Nicolas Maduro from office.
Who is General Padrino?
In a post three years ago, I mentioned that Padrino, upon taking the job of commanding the country’s entire supply chain possibly “was given the job by Cuban intelligence to keep an eye on Maduro.” Additionally, Nicolás Maduro had declared “All the ministries, all the ministers, all the state institutions are at the service and in absolute subordination” to the head of the armed forces, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino – including,
a new military-industrial mining, oil and gas company that will rival the state-owned oil company PdVSA.
In other words, Padrino lives up to his name, which means Godfather. His agreement would be crucial for any change to take place.
I must point out that Wikipedia correctly states,
On 22 September 2017, Canada sanctioned Padrino due to rupture of Venezuela’s constitutional order following the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election. The United States government has also sanctioned Padrino on 25 September 2018 for his role in solidifying President Maduro’s power in Venezuela. Vladimir Padrino López is also banned from entering Colombia.
The Bayly YouTube, in Spanish
Bayly said that Padrino had agreed to having Maduro leave for Cuba and install Guaidó as interim president in exchange for being allowed to keep the fortune he’s amassed over the years and avoiding prosecution by the U.S. The U.S. would also give the new interim administration $20billion to pay Russia for its oil interests in the country.
This was scheduled to take place on May 1st.
But Padrino changed his mind,
ABC Spain reports that General Padrino backed out at the last moment, even when the negotiation had lasted for several months. Bayly claims that Padrino demanded at the last moment to be permanent president.
The right price?
On Sunday May 5th, the Moscow Times published an opinion piece, Putin Is Ready to Give Up Venezuela for the Right Price.
Sergei Lavrov and Mike Pompeo will soon meet in Helsinki to discuss Venezuela’s future.
On May 3, U.S. President Donald Trump called Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to flag American concerns over Russia’s “disruptive role” in Venezuela and stress his country’sdetermination to ensure Venezuela’s return to democratic rule.
The price may involve Ukraine,
For Moscow, a deal of equals on Venezuela where Russia helps the U.S. diffuse the crisis by engineering a constitutional transition, should involve an equally significant concession by the U.S. (on a par with JFK-Khrushchev deal to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba and Turkey) to pressure Kiev into fully implementing the Minsk-2 agreements that would truncate Ukraine’s sovereignty and allow Moscow to retain some degree of control over Kiev’s security policies.
Moscow is ready to sell its stake in Maduro, but it is still unclear whether Washington is ready to offer the right price.
If Russia is out of the picture, there’s still the question of China and Iran remaining in the country.
If Maduro leaves, how about Tarek El Aissami, Vice President indicted by the U.S. for drug charges?
Additionally, I doubt very much that Cuba would give up its control of Venezuela’s security services.
This coming week promises to be very interesting indeed.