MOSCOW, September 6. /TASS/. Washington has begun a media campaign in order to lay the groundwork for an armed invasion of Venezuela, Igor Pshenichnikov, an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), told TASS on Thursday.

“Former President of neighboring Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, said the other day that invading Venezuela was necessary. He went on to say that all arguments about the illegitimacy of this move could be seen as merely an excuse and should be brushed aside,” he said. “That indicates the beginning of a media blitz by the US in the run-up to a direct invasion to topple the legitimate government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.”

“Camps of armed insurgents, who are ready to invade Venezuela, are concentrated in Colombia. I do not rule out that an invasion could be carried out by forces of some Latin American countries, while the US will supposedly stand on the sidelines,” Pshenichnikov elaborated.

The expert noted that preparations for an information and diplomatic offensive against Venezuela had been going on for several months now. “This past spring, Washington was able to forge the so-called anti-Venezuela bloc at the Summit of the Americas in Peru, which included 16 Latin American countries. They issued a declaration condemning Maduro for his allegedly undemocratic actions with respect to the opposition. This policy continues, with the Organization of American States (OAS) controlled by the US being involved in it,” he explained.

According to Pshenichnikov, the Americans are acting very carefully and cunningly through their allies who can be swayed easily in a variety of ways. “The legal framework for the invasion is being put together as well. One can expect, with a high degree of certainty, that the OAS will soon adopt a declaration that can legally justify the invasion of Venezuela to overthrow the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro,” he stressed.

The expert recalled that Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez incensed Washington when they took control of the country’s oil industry, which had been earlier owned by American big businesses. Chavez also irked the US by pursuing an independent policy and maintaining friendly ties with Russia. “Nicaragua is following a similar policy, and the US is currently exerting substantial pressure on it,” Pshenichnikov pointed out.

Situation in Venezuela

In 2017, Venezuela was rocked by anti-government protests for several months, leaving at least 120 people dead and thousands injured with more than 5,000 people being arrested. The Supreme Court’s decisions, which consolidated Maduro’s power and restricted the functions of the parliament controlled by his political opponents, were used as a pretext for the unrest.

On May 20, 2018, Maduro was re-elected President of Venezuela. The country’s biggest political parties did not take part in the vote. After the elections, some countries, including the US and some Latin American states, said they did not recognize its outcome.