Is Venezuela heating up again or is this just more desperation setting in for the Juan Guaido-led opposition after recent failed efforts to gem up popular support for an anti-Maduro coup?
The US recognized "Interim President" has announced plans for his supporters to launch "tactical actions" starting next week as part of his "Operation Freedom" to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. The opposition is now telegraphing their regime change maneuvers, in what appears more of a desperate strategy to maintain external and international pressure and visibility on the continuing political crisis in the country, lately felt in a series of major nation-wide electricity outages.
Guaido said via Twitter that such tactical actions are to begin April 6, which will involve "freedom cells" set up across the country rising up in mass protest when the order is given.
He began publicly referencing the plan earlier this month at opposition rallies and described it as a "full-fledged revolution in all states of Venezuela simultaneously."
This has even included talk of "Operation Freedom" operatives and mass protesters ultimately marching on the Miraflores presidential palace – home to President Maduro.
Tweeting with the hashtag #VamosOperaciónLibertad, Guaido further appealed to "constitutional forces" within the Venezuelan army to rise up and switch loyalties.
All of this comes the same month that hawkish Republican Senator and staunch Guaido supporter Marco Rubio told a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing that “Over the next few weeks, Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering, no nation in our hemisphere has ever confronted in modern history.”
¡Atención!— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 27, 2019
Anunciamos el inicio de la fase preparatoria de la #OperaciónLibertad para lograr el cese de la usurpación. Llegó el momento de la organización, la movilización y la estrategia para liberar a Venezuela.
¡#VamosBien porque vamos con todo! #VamosOperaciónLibertad pic.twitter.com/h9B9LlFSpv
Also within the past week exchanges between Moscow and Washington over Venezuela have heated up, as days after Vladimir Putin sent military planes and 100 troops to an airport near Caracas over the past weekend, on Wednesday President Trump warned Russia against involvement in the Latin American nation, telling reporters in the Oval Office that "Russia has to get out".
Reacting to White House condemnation of Russian troops landing in Caracas, the Kremlin responded on Thursday, saying that it deployed military specialists merely to service preexisting arms contracts with Venezuela, and that Russia is not interfering in the Latin American country's internal affairs.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing on Thursday when asked how long the Russian troop contingency led by a high ranking general will stay: "How long? As long as they need it, and as long as the Venezuelan government needs them. It all is being done based on bilateral agreements."
“Eighty percent of the population in Venezuela has no power. They are trying to break our morale,” Venezuela's new Interim First Lady said at the White House today. “But let me tell you that there is light, and the light is here.”— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 28, 2019
1600 Daily: https://t.co/A68ueVC88u pic.twitter.com/BFlOwfSqcF
The Kremlin has also emphasized that countries should let Venezuelans decide their own fate, in what appears a reference to Washington's very overt promotion of the opposition, which also included hosting a delegation headed by Juan Guaido's wife, Fabiana Rosales, at the White House on Thursday.
Notably the White House called Rosales "Venezuela's new Interim First Lady" in statements related to the event.