Maduro Distrusts Cuba, Appoints Iranian Personal Guard
"Maduro has removed all personnel from his first security ring, replacing them with bodyguards from the Middle East."
Spanish – Nicolás Maduro no longer trusts his security team made up of Cuban citizens. The tyrant has decided to replace his guards with officials of Iranian origin.
The Venezuelan journalist Casto Ocando reported at Primer Informe that Maduro no longer trusts his closest security circle, and consequently, he has replaced his bodyguards and doubled their number.
Maduro cambia su guardia personal por guardaespaldas de origen árabe, ante temor de extracción https://t.co/60EW6aNVom
— Casto Ocando-Primer Informe (@cocando) May 6, 2020
“The Venezuelan dictator doubled his security rings to six, anticipating possible incursions against him. Now, he has removed all the personnel from his original security ring, replacing them with bodyguards from the Middle East,” Ocando said.
According to the journalist, Maduro’s decision came after the U.S. government announced million-dollar rewards in exchange for information leading to the capture of the key leaders of Chavismo, including Diosdado Cabello and Maduro himself.
Ocando explains that “the dictator’s security strategies are organized to prevent capture operations directed by members of his entourage, or active officers who have access to the Miraflores Palace or may know his daily agenda.
Meanwhile, Antonio Rivero, a Venezuelan general in exile, also said that “the regime took a turn to incorporate Iran into its defense and survival strategy.” The new Iranian security circle will also be joined by the implementation of surveillance and attack drones, as well as a radar guidance system.
In February 2019, it was confirmed that Maduro’s closest circle was Cuban. Univision reporters said several of Maduro’s security men, who aggressively targeted the journalists, were Cuban. According to the reporters, the foreigners were between 35 and 45 years old, while the Venezuelan guards were very young.
The Iranian regime has decided to become more involved in Venezuelan politics and the economy. It is helping Maduro with bodyguards and will now have control of refineries in the country.
Iran in Venezuela
A report by Spain’s ABC newspaper also revealed that Mohsen Baharnavand, director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Latin America portfolio, arrived in Venezuela, accompanied by 243 people and a lot of material on one of the Iranian airline’s flights. The entourage was escorted by agents from the civilian intelligence service, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin), and the General Directorate of Military Counter-Intelligence (Dgcim).
According to the Spanish newspaper, the “Iranians are preparing to take control of Venezuela’s hydrocarbon sector, which has completely collapsed under U.S. sanctions.”
Joseph Humire, an expert on hemispheric security and executive director of the Center for a Free and Secure Society, told the PanAm Post that the relationship between the two countries is worrying. He also said that both Iran and Venezuela intend to provoke the U.S. government into further military action in the region.
Humire reported that Chavista Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami, who is accused of terrorism and drug trafficking in the United States, is one of the “most crucial and visible pieces of this relationship.”
Iran and Venezuela have long shared warm diplomatic relations and a mutual contempt for the United States, which has imposed several sanctions on their respective economies.
The relationship between the two nations has been described as a threat to the United States since the regime of the South American country has allowed the Iranian terrorist group Hezbollah to use Venezuelan territory as a base to expand in Latin America.
“In recent years, Venezuela has signed several agreements with Iran on the commercial, military, and industrial side, and what happens is that much of this trade can be a front for the entry of Iranian military,” Humire said.
The links between Venezuela and Iran go far beyond the known bilateral agreements between the two; the interests and cooperation with the Maduro regime are actually based on illicit activities.