14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2019 — “The intelligence network has been diminished somewhat by the cutting off of the oil supply to Cuba [with the sanctions],” Juan Guaidó said in an exclusive interview with El Nuevo Herald. Venezuela’s head of Parliament explained on Wednesday in Caracas that the support of the allies “leaves these networks without funding.”
Guaidó believes that the efforts of Donald Trump’s government to cut off the supply of Venezuelan crude to the island are working and have achieved a weakening of the spy network that Havana maintains in Venezuela, according to the US newspaper.
Guaidó said that he and his supporters will maintain pressure from the streets to end Nicolás Maduro’s regime. In addition, they seek greater collaboration with friendly countries to increase diplomatic pressure and international sanctions, particularly those of the United States, which in Guaidó’s opinion are affecting Havana’s ability to spy on Venezuela.
“Through these actions that network is weaker than a year ago,” stressed the interim president. “They had an intelligence network [there] too,” he said, referring to the Barrio Adentro program that the island maintains in Venezuela, but the presence of Cuban personnel today is very scarce due to the fall in revenues.
“It’s still a contributor to fear, but it’s weaker,” Guaidó said in the interview, held in a place in eastern Caracas that his advisers asked not to be disclosed.
Donald Trump’s administration has implemented a series of sanctions against shipping companies involved in the transport of Venezuelan crude to Cuba. Washington accuses Caracas of paying for the espionage services of Havana with the money it should invest in the purchase of food and medicines for Venezuelans.
Despite US sanctions, the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (Pdvsa) exported 1.42 million barrels of crude oil and combined products in May to state-owned Cubametales, compared to 355,000 barrels in April, according to reports published by La Patilla. However, those figures are far from 110,000 barrels per day sent during the mandate of Hugo Chavez.
Although Nicolás Maduro has also sought diplomatic and commercial support in other nations, such as Russia and China, Guaidó insists that no other country exerts an influence in Venezuela with the intensity of Cuba. “It has a presence in decision making and it is the inner ring of the security services. Maduro relies so little on the [Venezuelan] armed forces that his closest security ring is Cuban,” he said.
Cuba continues to direct “intelligence and counterintelligence to terrorize and frighten, and part of the torture of Venezuelan military personnel is being perpetrated by Cuban officials, which bothers the armed forces very much, interference is very serious, Cuba’s intervention in Venezuela.” he explained.
Juan Guaidó, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by 54 countries, has not managed to overthrow Maduro so far, due to the influence of some 25,000 Cubans who allegedly act within the military and intelligence structures of the country.
Despite that presence, Maduro has lost some share of loyalty within the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), according to several analysts. A month ago the director of that entity, Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, went into hiding and accused the regime of having murdered his assistant, a major, who was found dead in a hotel near Caracas.
“Imagine that the intelligence chief of [any] country accused the president of assassinating his assistant because of political retaliation… Imagine how serious this is,” says Guaidó, adding that Cristopher was replaced this month by General Gustavo González, who had previously been dismissed for not trusting the Government.
“So, how serious is [the SEBIN]? … Very serious,” he said.
Guaidó said he has hopes that the armed forces will eventually act in the face of the nightmare Venezuelans are going through. “They will have a role in the reconstruction of Venezuela, they will keep their ranks and their positions, under the Amnesty Law,” approved this year by the National Assembly to encourage the military sector to restore Venezuelan democracy.
The country needs them and they will have a central role in exercising sovereignty, said Guaidó.
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