"Few of these figures are well known by the public, yet many have played an influential role in US plans to destabilize Venezuela."
by Eoin Higgins
A group dedicated to regime change in Venezuela held a secret meeting on overthrowing the country's government last week, according to reporting from The Grayzone Project.
Journalist Max Blumenthal on Sunday revealed a list of meeting attendees he obtained over the weekend from a source.
Exclusive: DC's @CSIS hosted a who's who of Trump Latin America advisors for a private roundtable to discuss waging a US military assault on Venezuela. The meeting included the former head of SOUTHCOM, a Colombian general and USAID & NIC officials. https://t.co/qVlDZ2WdoT pic.twitter.com/fateSAwR0w— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 14, 2019
The list (in which the meeting is misdated as being on April 20) shows that the event, held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., boasted as attendees members of the State Department, the Colombian and Brazilian embassies, members of the Venezuelan opposition, and other officials in the American national security state.
The meeting comes after multiple failed attempts to depose the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected in 2018. The President Donald Trump administration has made no secret of their intent to see Maduro gone—but thus far, nothing has worked.
"The CSIS meeting on 'Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela,'" wrote Blumenthal, "suggests that the Trump administration is exploring military options more seriously than before, possibly out of frustration with the fact that every other weapon in its arsenal has failed to bring down Maduro."
In the article, Blumenthal gave a brief overview of a number of the meeting's more prominent attendees, including Iran-Contra veteran Roger Noriega and David Smolansky, a Venezuelan national who works with the right wing Organization of American States (OAS), a regional organization for the Americas led in recent years by hardline Venezuela regime change advocates.
"Few of these figures are well known by the public, yet many have played an influential role in U.S. plans to destabilize Venezuela," explained Blumenthal.
Also in attendance was opposition leader Juan Guaidó's envoy Carlos Vecchio. Vecchio's presence at the meeting prompted journalist Anya Parampil to muse as to whether it was standard operating procedure for "ambassadors" to solicit invasions of their own countries.
"Since when do 'ambassadors' help plan foreign invasions of their own country?" asked Parampil.
Odd that @carlosvecchio's "staff" would attend a private event discussing military force against VZLA, a country they pretend to represent. Since when do "ambassadors" help plan foreign invasions of their own country? Do Guaidó's "officials" speak for VZLA or Bolton's wet dream?— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) April 14, 2019
Blumenthal told RT that his attempts to get attendees on the record about the details of the meeting were unsuccessful.
"They were extremely nervous that somebody in the media knew about the existence of this event," said Blumenthal. "It was a very high-level meeting with basically the main people in Washington involved in making the sausage of Trump's Venezuela policy and they wanted to keep it as private as possible."
The meeting likely hints at a more aggressive attempt to depose Maduro in the coming month, Blumenthal added.
"It really does show that military options are being seriously considered at this point," said Blumenthal.
AntiWar writer Jason Ditz agreed.
"That the Trump Administration is considering attacking Venezuela as an option is no secret, as they tell reporters that much at seemingly every opportunity," Ditz wrote. "That they are holding such events to discuss the details, however, suggest a U.S. war may be closer than anyone realizes."
Trump is becoming more disappointing by the day. The guy that campaigned on ending the senseless perpetual wars is now following right in the footsteps of his predecessors. We have been had again. The only difference being that it would have happened much quicker with Hellary. No matter which side of the coin they are on, the coin is still in the same hand. This planned invasion of Venezuela is going to be the final straw that will destroy an already despicable reputation that the U.S. has earned by violating the sovereignty of foreign countries that have posed no threat to our national security. It couldn't be more transparent that it is no coincidence that we continually attack oil rich countries unprovoked. I would like to officially apologize to entire world for the behavior of the country I was born in and would like to make it clear that I do not approve of the criminal misconduct being committed against innocent people of the world. I am sorry and ashamed. Please forgive me.
The USS Empire full steam ahead.
It doesn't really matter who you put at the helm (Trump, Obama, Bush) the boat steers itself.
This is a scary situation. From what I've read Venezuela owes Russia and China billions so they are afraid they won't get paid if there is regime change. Venezuela got the money by selling them cheap oil, but now their oil production has plummeted. Of course, it isn't a very comfortable feeling having Russia and China having a stronghold in Venezuela as they are located pretty close to the US. So it isn't something that can just be ignored and needs to be handled very carefully.