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Venezuelan military defectors call on US to arm them

Meanwhile Trump warns US citizens not to visit the oil-rich country

VENEZUELAN military defectors have called on the United States and its right-wing Latin American allies to provide them with weapons to use against the democratically elected government.

Two former soldiers, speaking yesterday with a reporter for the US corporate media giant CNN at an undisclosed location,  said they wanted to arm other defectors inside the country who support the self-appointed “interim” president Juan Guaido.

“As Venezuelan soldiers, we are making a request to the US to support us, in logistical terms, with communication, with weapons, so we can realise Venezuelan freedom,” former lieutenant Carlos Guillen Martinez said.

“We’re not saying that we need only US support,” former first lieutenant Josue Hidalgo Azuaje added, “but also Brazil, Colombia, Peru, all brother countries that are against this dictatorship.”

Later in the interview, which doesn’t feature the views of ordinary Venezuelan citizens, the two soldiers stressed they did not want a “foreign government invading our country.”

“If we need an incursion, it has to be by Venezuelan soldiers who really want to free Venezuela,” Mr Azuaje said.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court issued a travel ban against Mr Guaido and attempted to freeze his bank accounts yesterday.

Following the decision, Mr Guaido — who rose from political obscurity to international notoriety after US Vice-President Mike Pence anointed him president last week — tweeted his supporters to take to the streets.  

US’s pro-war National Security Adviser John Bolton told the flagrantly right-wing Fox News yesterday that the Trump administration is working with major corporations to target Venezuela’s oil.

“We’re looking at the oil assets,” Mr Bolton said. “That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now … I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here.

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

Meanwhile US President Donald Trump warned US citizens today not to visit the beleaguered country with the largest proven oil reserves.  

The president’s tweet read: “[President Nicolas] Maduro [is] willing to negotiate with opposition in Venezuela following US sanctions and the cutting off of oil revenues.

“Guaido is being targeted by [Venezuela’s] Supreme Court. Massive protest expected today. Americans should not travel to Venezuela until further notice.”

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