Venezuela’s dictator is drawing up contingency plans in case international calls for him to step down and leave the country come to fruition, Bloomberg News reports. Dictator Nicolas Maduro has been declared by most of the free world as an illegitimate ruler including the United States, but he’s publicly dug in and refused to cede power to Juan Guaido—widely recognized as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela. But his aides are secretly drafting plans for Maduro to escape to such havens as Cuba, Russia, and Turkey, all of which still recognize the socialist strongman’s grip on power.
Venezuelan watchdog groups are saying state-run internet provider CANTV is censoring interim president Juan Guaido’s calls for Venezuelans to abandon dictator Nicolas Maduro. While many nations including the U.S. have declared socialist strongman Maduro as an illegitimate leader, and Guaido as the country’s legitimate interim president, Maduro is apparently extending his iron fist over the country’s newspapers and broadcast media to silence his opponent even further. CANTV controls about 70 percent of the country’s hard wire internet and half of its mobile internet connections.
Russia is warning the U.S. against considering military intervention in Venezuela. American officials have stated that all options, including military ones, are on the table to deal with the downward spiral as the South American nation grows increasingly unstable. All options on the table is “Dangerous,” Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian U.N. ambassador, told reporters at a Security Council meeting on Saturday. Washington recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president and called for Nicolas Maduro to step down as the country’s dictator. Russia opposes that call.
Instability in Venezuela could be coming to a head. Recent protests against socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets, and the U.S. joined other countries in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate ruler. But Maduro, who recently won an election widely regarded as rigged, responded by expelling all U.S. diplomats. Trump administration officials are considering their options—economic, diplomatic, or even military. And President Trump himself said all options are on the table.