Thursday, February 14, 2019

Guaidó adviser: Israel can help us remove Hezbollah, Iran - Eldad Beck, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by Eldad Beck, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Exclusive to Israel Hayom: Senior Venezuelan opposition member says presence of Iran, Hezbollah and other terrorist elements in the country "is very concerning. … Israel can help us establish the necessary apparatuses to contend with this problem."

Juan Guaidó gestures to supporters during a march against 
the Maduro regime, in Caracas, Tuesday Photo: AP 

A senior member of Venezuela's opposition, which supports interim President Juan Guaidó, told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that the presence of Iran, Hezbollah and other Arab terrorist elements in the country "is very concerning" to the democratic opposition and will pose an "immense challenge" to the new government after the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro is ousted.

"We are presently formulating policy pertaining to defending Venezuela's internal security and are looking for help and advice," the senior official said. "And Israel can help us establish the necessary apparatuses to contend with this problem when the political change in Venezuela realized."

Venezuela's socialist regime has close relations with Iran and has allowed Hezbollah to establish operational hubs in the country. Additionally, the Maduro regime maintains close ties with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and sends them money – even as the people of Venezuela are themselves desperate for humanitarian aid due to an increasing scarcity of food and medicine.

Extremist elements in the Arab and Muslim worlds – Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey – have declared their support for the tyrant Maduro in his current standoff with the popular uprising against his rule. Israel, meanwhile, is the only country outside of America to stand by Guaidó, whose exclusive interview with Israel Hayom on Tuesday reverberated across the globe.

In an effort to amplify economic pressure on the Maduro regime, the senior Venezuelan opposition figure called on the American administration to pressure U.S. allies in the Arab world to end their financial support for the regime and sever commercial ties with it.

The request comes amid reports that several Gulf states recently purchased large quantities of gold from the Maduro regime. In the meantime, Miguel Pizarro, Guaidó's adviser on humanitarian affairs, confirmed in a conversation with Israel Hayom that the opposition is already in contact with Israel over humanitarian aid.

"We know that Israel is interested in contributing in this regard, along with other nations," Pizarro said.

"We prepared a strategic plan for urgent aid to our neediest populations and we need a lot of medicine, hospital medical equipment and help treating people [suffering from] extreme malnutrition," Pizarro told Israel Hayom. "We are establishing warehouses along the border to receive aid; we have already built a collection center in Columbia and we are preparing to open another center in Brazil and in other countries."

Pizarro added: "We welcome all help we are given, as the Venezuelan population needs any help possible. The regime will have to allow this aid to enter [the country], because it's a matter of [saving] people's lives. We are applying all possible pressure to force the regime to allow this aid into the country."

Air defenses on the border

Meanwhile, Maduro appears to be increasingly afraid of foreign military intervention and has deployed air defense systems at San Cristóbal – near the border with Columbia. The development follows his decision to refuse foreign humanitarian aid. Now, online video footage published by the opposition shows S-125 air defense batteries near the frontier.

The S-125, a particularly outdated Soviet-era system, was used by the Egyptian army during the War of Attrition against Israel (between 1967 and 1970) and the Yom Kippur War. The system would pose no problem for any advanced air force.

In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Maduro accused the Trump administration of "warmongering in order to take over Venezuela.

Maduro added his hope that "this extremist group in the White House is defeated by powerful worldwide public opinion."

Speaking in the capital, Caracas, he told the BBC: "It's a political war, of the United States empire, of the interests of the extreme right that today is governing, of the Ku Klux Klan, that rules the White House, to take over Venezuela."

Also on Tuesday, Guaidó supporters returned to the streets nationwide to keep the heat on Maduro and demand that he allow humanitarian aid into the country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephone call on Tuesday evening that Washington should avoid any interference, including military, in Venezuela's internal affairs.

Moscow has invested billions of dollars into Venezuela's economy and oil production.

Eldad Beck, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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