As the turmoil in Venezuela continues to crescendo, Russian President Vladimir Putin Russia is tightening its partnership with socialist President Nicolas Maduro in defiance of the growing coalition of support that has formed around Interim-President Juan Guaidó.
Venezuela’s diminishing finances under the Maduro regime have likely forced him to mortgage part of Venezuela’s oil resources in exchange for financial and military support from Moscow.
Maduro has welcomed 400 Russian military contractors to the country since Trump’s initial recognition of Guaidó last month. There was initial speculation that Putin was merely providing personal security and helping to faciliate Maduro’s exit from power, but it now appears that Putin is going to thumb his nose at President Trump and invest in Maduro’s regime- for the long term.
Security consultant John Marulanda, a U.S.-trained intelligence officer and adviser to Colombian President Ivan Duque believes that among the recent Russian arrivals are Russian Spetsnaz special forces who are being embedded among Venezuela’s elite military units in an effort to beef up protection against any potential internal coup that could arise against Maduro.
Additional coordination is also taking place in the skies, as Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López recently announced that he was inviting Russian combat pilots to “share their experience” and better prepare Venezuela’s Air Force pilots. Russia has also flown and landed its nuclear-capable Tupolev 106 strategic bombers within Venezuelan air space as another a clear show of military support.
While Putin likely believes that he’s providing a hedge against what they view as an unlawful regime change, he is also backing an undeniably corrupt and repressive regime that has caused massive population displacement and inflicted untold suffering on its own people. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan people, Putin appears to be mimicking the same Cold War tactics and strategies that push back against U.S. influence and legitimize the oppression they’ve been subjected to since Hugo Chavez ascended to the presidency 20 years ago.