Venezuela crisis: Trump, Putin new Geo-political playground ?

A student demonstrates in front of a line of riot police during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government in San Cristobal, Venezuela, on February 12, 2015. George CASTELLANO/AFP/Getty Images
A student demonstrates in front of a line of riot police during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, Venezuela, on February 12, 2015.
 George CASTELLANO/AFP/Getty Images
Trump, Putin conflicting dealings with Venezuela and why China and Turkey are standing with Maduro as well—in the US’s backyard – Cimson Tazvinzwa, AIWA! NEWS INTERNATIONAL

In a piece ‘Venezuela goes from bad to catastrophe’ published by TIME magazine , June 6, 2016 Ian Bremmer made an alarming new find about the troubled once rich South American country: “.No more coca-cola for Venezuela – there is not enough sugar. Diet coke is still around – until the country runs out of aspartame – but the disappearance from store shelves of an icon of globalization’ was the latest blow for an economy that was fast teetering towards economic abyss.

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Venezuela debt crisis: Russia, China, Turkey provide relief for Venezuela, Wall Street 'vultures'
YouTube//Venezuela debt crisis: Russia, China, Turkey provide relief for Venezuela, Wall Street ‘vultures’

In April of the same year, the country’s largest private company, Empresas Polar SA, which makes 80% of the beer that Venezuelans consume, closed its doors. The government now rations water, so Venezuelans have begun stealing it from tanker trucks and swimming pools.

Electricity is also in short supply, and President Nicolás Maduro has ordered public offices to conserve energy by remaining open just two days a week. An ongoing drought only makes matters worse. About 65% of the country’s electricity is generated by a single hydroelectric dam that’s now in serious trouble. Blackouts, scheduled and otherwise, have become common.

Venezuela crisis is economics on the surface; but it is geopolitics at play as Russia flexes muscle for global outreach

The crisis in Venezuela appears to be shaping up like a Cold War-style confrontation: The Kremlin is throwing its support behind embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, while Washington backs Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president.

The story at first glance seems to have all the elements of a spy thriller. In recent days, rumors have swirled about Russian mercenaries, massive bullion shipments and murky assassination plots. Maduro has cast himself as a latter-day Fidel Castro in this drama.

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Dieselgasoil.comVenezuela divide: Turkey, Russia, China stand against Washington, its Latin America allies

In an interview with Russia’s state-owned news agency RIA-Novosti, Maduro hinted at a US-backed attempt on his life, saying, “Without a doubt, Donald Trump gave the order to kill me, told the Colombian government, the mafia of Colombia to kill me.”

READ RELATED: Russia Is Now Venezuela’s Only Hope

That sounded like an episode ripped from one of the CIA’s failed plots to kill the Cuban leader. And the crisis carries echoes of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Late last year, Russian bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons flew to Venezuela, signaling that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to play in America’s backyard.

So are we about to watch a Netflix-era remake of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion?

Is Venezuela another arena for proxy conflict between Russia and the United States, much like the way Moscow and Washington back opposing sides in the Syrian civil war?

Certainly, Maduro’s conspiracy theories — and his language about resisting American neocolonialism — are reminiscent of the old contest between the US and the USSR in Latin America. But Russia is not backing his government in Venezuela to spread the ideology of Marxism.

For starters, Moscow sees Venezuela in large part as a business proposition. Russia’s state-controlled oil company Rosneft has been a major backer of Maduro’s government, and Russia and Rosneft have provided billions in loans and lines of credit for cash-strapped Venezuela.

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