What are the Russians Doing in Venezuela?

By Steven L. Hall

Steven L. Hall retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2015 after 30 years of running and managing intelligence operations in Eurasia and Latin America.  Mr. Hall served as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, the small cadre of officers who are the senior-most leaders of the CIA's Clandestine Service.  Most of Mr. Hall's career was spent abroad, overseeing intelligence operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Warsaw Pact.

There are multiple international dynamics at play in Venezuela this week, particularly between the U.S., which is supporting the uprising of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, and Russia, a supporter of the government of Nicolas Maduro. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a strong and unusually public allegation this week that President Maduro was ready to leave the country and that Russia had convinced him to stay. Russian officials denied it and called Washington’s ‘interference’ in the country a “most grave violation of international law.”

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