Venezuela - coup d'état?

I generally try to avoid Mexico, but the part I was in wasn't too bad. The border with the US however is apparently a high risk area, as are the mountains above some of the west coast tourist zones. Certain colleagues were working on a project near the US border and had certain roads and other areas pointed out as no-go zones, as in "if you go down that road you won't come back". Guatemala apparently makes Mexico look like a haven of peace and safety, and Colombia is pretty bad as well (and Venezuela wasn't all that healthy either, even before the events of the past couple of decades).

Loads of tourists visit Mexico, but they travel straight from the airport to the resort and don't leave until its time to go home except to a few nearby "safe" tourist sites (e.g. Mayan temples and the like).

Kidnapping is big in the area, and they like to target middle class foreign victims because they are soft targets without protection but still have homes they can re-mortgage and not so much fuss is raised about them.

None the less, you still read about people riding motorcycles or driving RVs on vacations through the remote parts of Mexico and Central America and coming out alive at the other end. Evidently God favours the mad.
I went "backpacking" around Mexico on my own after I left he army. Mexico is a lively place in parts but it really isn't as bad as it's reputation. The only area's that I felt unsafe in were the cities. I spent several months travelling around the more remote parts of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca, long roads with nothing in between villages, sometimes on foot but mostly in local trucks and minibuses. Occasionally, if i was walking, somebody would stop and try to get me to get in their car but it was because they were concerned not because they wanted to kidnap me.

I was in San Cristobal de la casas during one of the many terrorist takeovers but barely noticed, the Zapatistas, some sort of communist movement appeared to be in control of the city but honestly, they seemed to do a better job than the government and didnt bother me or the other tourists.

One time, on a bus between towns, the bus got stopped at a vcp, common in Mexico, a soldier got on and started checking ID cards. He got to me, i explained that I didn't have an ID card and showed him my passport. Off the bus he said, and made me and a handful of mexican men of fighting age stand in a line at the side of the deserted road.

About 6 or 7 Mexican squaddies were milling around us asking questions and then they made us point out our bags and get them off the bus so they could have a look. I had my old PLCE bergan, simply because it was the only big backpack that I had. They were intrigue at this military looking pack and had a good route through my dirty underwear and other stuff.

All the mexicans got let back on the bus but i had to wait, then the fcuking bus drive off and left me at the roadside in the middle of nowhere (think a narrow dirt road through the jungle) with these squaddies. They were all stern faced asking if i was a gringo (american), then the officer came and asked more stuff like that.
I was concerned because I was 40 or 50 Km from the next town and now that the bus had gone I had no idea how I was going to get there.

So all these mexicans sqauddies were coming over the looking at the bergen and i don't know what happend but but the atmosphere just changed and they seemed to accept that I was English and not American. The officer left and then they all started asking where they could get a bergen like this because theirs were shit.

I was worried because I thought that they thought that I was working with the Zapatistas or something but the while time they were just curious about the bloody bergen and where they could get one. I took an email address and promised to send them one (i didnt).

The kit that these guys had was crap, way worse than ours and their rifles had serious wear and tear on them. I'd be surprised if there was any rifling left in those barrels.

The bus that they had sent off was also waiting for my round the corner which was a huge relief. It was a lot more exciting at the time i promise.

After about 6 months i got bored and crossed the border to Guatemala on a bus. Fcuk me, the atmosphere changed on the line that marks the border. Everyone seems suspicious of each other and there is a tension in the air, it feels like it's all going to kick off at any moment. I got out of Guatemala city as quickly as I arrived and headed off to the countryside but it was the same there. I hated it to be honest, weird rules, military patrols everywhere, scared civilians and dodgy locals trying to sell large amounts of cocaine to me all the time which seems like a really quick way to get into a lot of trouble.


I did a loop on public transport, right round Guatemala and back into Mexico and then headed up to a town called Villa Hermosa of something like that in Tabasco. The day before I arrived, the army had raided the police station and arrested the chief of police or corruption, removed every copper from duty and took up the role of law and order themselves. This was because the entire police force had been taken over by one of the cartels.

A severed head was found in a fridge in a hotel near where I stayed.

That is the sort of thing that happens in Mexico on a regular basis but in all the time I was there, I only felt unsafe a few times.
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
I went "backpacking" around Mexico on my own after I left he army. Mexico is a lively place in parts but it really isn't as bad as it's reputation. The only area's that I felt unsafe in were the cities. I spent several months travelling around the more remote parts of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca, long roads with nothing in between villages, sometimes on foot but mostly in local trucks and minibuses. Occasionally, if i was walking, somebody would stop and try to get me to get in their car but it was because they were concerned not because they wanted to kidnap me.

I was in San Cristobal de la casas during one of the many terrorist takeovers but barely noticed, the Zapatistas, some sort of communist movement appeared to be in control of the city but honestly, they seemed to do a better job than the government and didnt bother me or the other tourists.

One time, on a bus between towns, the bus got stopped at a vcp, common in Mexico, a soldier got on and started checking ID cards. He got to me, i explained that I didn't have an ID card and showed him my passport. Off the bus he said, and made me and a handful of mexican men of fighting age stand in a line at the side of the deserted road.

About 6 or 7 Mexican squaddies were milling around us asking questions and then they made us point out our bags and get them off the bus so they could have a look. I had my old PLCE bergan, simply because it was the only big backpack that I had. They were intrigue at this military looking pack and had a good route through my dirty underwear and other stuff.

All the mexicans got let back on the bus but i had to wait, then the fcuking bus drive off and left me at the roadside in the middle of nowhere (think a narrow dirt road through the jungle) with these squaddies. They were all stern faced asking if i was a gringo (american), then the officer came and asked more stuff like that.
I was concerned because I was 40 or 50 Km from the next town and now that the bus had gone I had no idea how I was going to get there.

So all these mexicans sqauddies were coming over the looking at the bergen and i don't know what happend but but the atmosphere just changed and they seemed to accept that I was English and not American. The officer left and then they all started asking where they could get a bergen like this because theirs were shit.

I was worried because I thought that they thought that I was working with the Zapatistas or something but the while time they were just curious about the bloody bergen and where they could get one. I took an email address and promised to send them one (i didnt).

The kit that these guys had was crap, way worse than ours and their rifles had serious wear and tear on them. I'd be surprised if there was any rifling left in those barrels.

The bus that they had sent off was also waiting for my round the corner which was a huge relief. It was a lot more exciting at the time i promise.

After about 6 months i got bored and crossed the border to Guatemala on a bus. Fcuk me, the atmosphere changed on the line that marks the border. Everyone seems suspicious of each other and there is a tension in the air, it feels like it's all going to kick off at any moment. I got out of Guatemala city as quickly as I arrived and headed off to the countryside but it was the same there. I hated it to be honest, weird rules, military patrols everywhere, scared civilians and dodgy locals trying to sell large amounts of cocaine to me all the time which seems like a really quick way to get into a lot of trouble.


I did a loop on public transport, right round Guatemala and back into Mexico and then headed up to a town called Villa Hermosa of something like that in Tabasco. The day before I arrived, the army had raided the police station and arrested the chief of police or corruption, removed every copper from duty and took up the role of law and order themselves. This was because the entire police force had been taken over by one of the cartels.

A severed head was found in a fridge in a hotel near where I stayed.

That is the sort of thing that happens in Mexico on a regular basis but in all the time I was there, I only felt unsafe a few times.
Agree with your sentiments of travelling about Mexico -- I've worked there a number of times as a consultant and mine technical adviser. Generally we traveled in pairs according to rotation schedule. Most places were far from the teeming cities of Mexico but Arcelia, our one stop-off point closest to the mine, was a jolly place and functioned both as bus-stop and funeral parlour, one side bus tickets, other side, coffins. The friendly chap across the street sold excellent beer and wished to practice his English and we were to practice Spanglish. Once we were accepted locally as employers and not 'turistas' so much better! Saturday night Dances at the plaza were well attended and surprisingly the local maidens would not allow us to merely sit on the low wall and stare longingly, lovingly, leeringly at the goings on, we'd be pulled from the wall and soon engaged in the dancing. Latterly in Zacatecas we were introducing a new mining technique and quickly found out that they had only been mining locally for near 400 years and here we were showing these fairly experienced dudes a 'new' method! Alas! the lure of Brazil was upon me and left for the sultry Amazon area shortly after. Another tale....
 

Poppycock

Old-Salt
This is a significant development - Colombian military marked assault boats & weapons found on the Orinoco river:

General location highlighted here:
Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 17.57.35.png
 
According to her:

Producer, presenter, known communist at @teleSURenglish Twitter: Don’t become a propaganda arm and censorship tool for the U.S. State Department
D5F51CA6-8D12-4BC8-8C06-EDB4A607AB44.png

As for TeleSURenglish:
Faced with the chaos of the pandemic, the international solidarity of China and Cuba has been, according to some analysts, key to understanding the shortcomings of the current capitalist and neoliberal system.
 
I went "backpacking" around Mexico on my own after I left he army. Mexico is a lively place in parts but it really isn't as bad as it's reputation. The only area's that I felt unsafe in were the cities. I spent several months travelling around the more remote parts of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca, long roads with nothing in between villages, sometimes on foot but mostly in local trucks and minibuses. Occasionally, if i was walking, somebody would stop and try to get me to get in their car but it was because they were concerned not because they wanted to kidnap me.

I was in San Cristobal de la casas during one of the many terrorist takeovers but barely noticed, the Zapatistas, some sort of communist movement appeared to be in control of the city but honestly, they seemed to do a better job than the government and didnt bother me or the other tourists.

One time, on a bus between towns, the bus got stopped at a vcp, common in Mexico, a soldier got on and started checking ID cards. He got to me, i explained that I didn't have an ID card and showed him my passport. Off the bus he said, and made me and a handful of mexican men of fighting age stand in a line at the side of the deserted road.

About 6 or 7 Mexican squaddies were milling around us asking questions and then they made us point out our bags and get them off the bus so they could have a look. I had my old PLCE bergan, simply because it was the only big backpack that I had. They were intrigue at this military looking pack and had a good route through my dirty underwear and other stuff.

All the mexicans got let back on the bus but i had to wait, then the fcuking bus drive off and left me at the roadside in the middle of nowhere (think a narrow dirt road through the jungle) with these squaddies. They were all stern faced asking if i was a gringo (american), then the officer came and asked more stuff like that.
I was concerned because I was 40 or 50 Km from the next town and now that the bus had gone I had no idea how I was going to get there.

So all these mexicans sqauddies were coming over the looking at the bergen and i don't know what happend but but the atmosphere just changed and they seemed to accept that I was English and not American. The officer left and then they all started asking where they could get a bergen like this because theirs were shit.

I was worried because I thought that they thought that I was working with the Zapatistas or something but the while time they were just curious about the bloody bergen and where they could get one. I took an email address and promised to send them one (i didnt).

The kit that these guys had was crap, way worse than ours and their rifles had serious wear and tear on them. I'd be surprised if there was any rifling left in those barrels.

The bus that they had sent off was also waiting for my round the corner which was a huge relief. It was a lot more exciting at the time i promise.

After about 6 months i got bored and crossed the border to Guatemala on a bus. Fcuk me, the atmosphere changed on the line that marks the border. Everyone seems suspicious of each other and there is a tension in the air, it feels like it's all going to kick off at any moment. I got out of Guatemala city as quickly as I arrived and headed off to the countryside but it was the same there. I hated it to be honest, weird rules, military patrols everywhere, scared civilians and dodgy locals trying to sell large amounts of cocaine to me all the time which seems like a really quick way to get into a lot of trouble.


I did a loop on public transport, right round Guatemala and back into Mexico and then headed up to a town called Villa Hermosa of something like that in Tabasco. The day before I arrived, the army had raided the police station and arrested the chief of police or corruption, removed every copper from duty and took up the role of law and order themselves. This was because the entire police force had been taken over by one of the cartels.

A severed head was found in a fridge in a hotel near where I stayed.

That is the sort of thing that happens in Mexico on a regular basis but in all the time I was there, I only felt unsafe a few times.
You didn’t mention when you were in Mexico, but the previous Ms Zemlyak and I were there in 1987. Landed in Yucatan then toured through to the west coast taking in Mexico City, San Cristobel, Oaxaca and other spots using local trains and buses, and a short hop on a light plane to Puerto Escondido, which seemed to be mainly full of Mexican families on holiday. Absolutely loved the country, apart from the Montezuma’s revenge I had for a few days.

Whilst we were aware of some ‘problems’, we encountered none, thought everyone friendly and helpful.

It’s a real shame it’s now plagued by the narco cartels.
 
This is a significant development - Colombian military marked assault boats & weapons found on the Orinoco river:

General location highlighted here:
View attachment 472421
The area in question is downstream from Colombia on the Orinoco River and its tributaries and is sparsely with few roads. There will be a fair number of Colombian patrols in the upstream area looking for guerillas and drug gangs, both of which have been a chronic problem in Colombia for many decades. There's lots of routine reasons why Colombia could have lost boats, including the crews having been killed by the Colombian guerillas or drug gangs they were hunting, or just a patrol being careless with their boats and kit. Once the boats are loose they will drift downstream and end up in Venezuela.

It would be embarrassing for Colombia no doubt, but probably routine.
 

Poppycock

Old-Salt
The area in question is downstream from Colombia on the Orinoco River and its tributaries and is sparsely with few roads. There will be a fair number of Colombian patrols in the upstream area looking for guerillas and drug gangs, both of which have been a chronic problem in Colombia for many decades. There's lots of routine reasons why Colombia could have lost boats, including the crews having been killed by the Colombian guerillas or drug gangs they were hunting, or just a patrol being careless with their boats and kit. Once the boats are loose they will drift downstream and end up in Venezuela.

It would be embarrassing for Colombia no doubt, but probably routine.
That's exactly what the Colombian navy have said - that their 3-patrol boats loaded with gats & ammo must have slipped their moorings (I'm having to pause my typing because of my laughter) before drifting across the border in to the neighbouring country that Colombian mercenaries are waging an campaign against

Colombian navy tweet auto translation said:
In facts that are the subject of investigation, three boats of the Institution that were in a Fluvial Control Post moored on the bank of the Meta river, in Vichada, were dragged by the current into Venezuelan territory.
I shouldn't really laugh given recent history - Saddam's WMDs, etc
 
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You didn’t mention when you were in Mexico, but the previous Ms Zemlyak and I were there in 1987. Landed in Yucatan then toured through to the west coast taking in Mexico City, San Cristobel, Oaxaca and other spots using local trains and buses, and a short hop on a light plane to Puerto Escondido, which seemed to be mainly full of Mexican families on holiday. Absolutely loved the country, apart from the Montezuma’s revenge I had for a few days.

Whilst we were aware of some ‘problems’, we encountered none, thought everyone friendly and helpful.

It’s a real shame it’s now plagued by the narco cartels.
I got a bus from Oaxaca not to Puerto Escondido but to Zipolite (about 20 km's away). took all night. Hated that bus and ended up doing that route half a dozen times because it was the only way to get south. Zipolite and Puerto Escondido, that whole area on the southern coat are the hottest, most unpleasant sun traps that I have ever been to and i've been to some pretty hot places. The beaches are a bit sporty after dark too but it's mainly the local police robbing tourists.

The main thing i remember about this area was that the limestone rock that is so prevalent acts as a heat sink, soaking up the sun and then keeping the temperature up through the night. I have never felt so uncomfortable in the heat.

The locals are affected by it to, hence the almost complete lack of anything other than empty shops, no industry and no farming in the area. It's just too hot to do anything.
 
I got a bus from Oaxaca not to Puerto Escondido but to Zipolite (about 20 km's away). took all night. Hated that bus and ended up doing that route half a dozen times because it was the only way to get south. Zipolite and Puerto Escondido, that whole area on the southern coat are the hottest, most unpleasant sun traps that I have ever been to and i've been to some pretty hot places. The beaches are a bit sporty after dark too but it's mainly the local police robbing tourists.

The main thing i remember about this area was that the limestone rock that is so prevalent acts as a heat sink, soaking up the sun and then keeping the temperature up through the night. I have never felt so uncomfortable in the heat.

The locals are affected by it to, hence the almost complete lack of anything other than empty shops, no industry and no farming in the area. It's just too hot to do anything.
Sounds like you spent quite some time in Mexico.

Our impression of Puerto was one of a relaxed local tourist spot, but TBF we were in Puerto for only a couple of days in the beach area to chill out in before heading on as part of a 3 week trip (I think it was 3 weeks, it was a while ago). We were both working in the Bahamas at the time, so it was more of an extended holiday off island rather than a backpacker's tour.

Still loved the place and have fond memories of sitting in a local bar with a cold Dos Equis hitting the spot after a hot few hours on a bus or train.
 
It appears that two of Guaido's advisors have agreed to take the fall for the coup plot fiasco. Juan Rendon has said it was his fault, and that Guaido knew nothing about it. Also another advisor, Sergio Vergara, has resigned without a reason being given.
Venezuela's Juan Guaido lets go adviser who plotted with mercenary
Rendon admitted to discussing overthrowing Maduro with Silvercorp USA.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has accepted the resignation of his Miami-based adviser Juan Rendon, his press team said on Monday, after Rendon acknowledged discussions with a U.S security firm to topple President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido thanked Rendon and another exiled lawmaker, Sergio Vergara, who also resigned from the opposition's "crisis strategy commission," for their "dedication and commitment to Venezuela," without giving a reason for the decision.
However Rendon hedged that admission by claiming that he had dropped out of the plot late last year.
Rendon has said that while he negotiated an exploratory agreement with Florida's Silvercorp USA late last year, he cut ties with the firm's chief executive, Jordan Goudreau, in November.

Goudreau, Rendon said, then went ahead with an operation led by ex-U.S. soldiers Airan Berry and Luke Denman to capture Maduro. The plot failed, and Venezuelan authorities said security forces killed eight members during one May 3 incursion attempt and arrested a dozen more, including the two U.S. citizens, the following day.
Rendon seems to be claiming that he had intended the mercenary coup to be non-violent, but just how that was supposed to work isn't clear. Vergada claimed to have known nothing about it, despite having resigned over the issue.
In the statement, Guaido's press team said Rendon and Vergara "ratified their support for the democratic cause … and called for all national and international sectors to reinforce their support for the interim president."

Rendon and Vergara confirmed their resignations in public letters. Rendon said the commission had never been interested in "participating in violent activities," while Vergada said he had not been aware of the so-called Operation Gideon.
Some of the reason for that waffling over the issue may have something to do with Venezuela announcing last Friday that that they will request the extradition of Goudreau, Rendon and Vergara.
On Friday, Venezuela chief prosecutor Tarek Saab said his office had requested the extradition of Goudreau, Rendon and Vergara for their involvement in the "design, financing, and execution" of the plan.
I suspect that the US will find a reason to ignore the extradition request, but it would massively complicate things for Guaido to have some of his close associates being wanted internationally for murder, terrorism, and various other violent crimes. That is especially true as his claim to legitimacy is that Maduro is supposedly guilty of various crimes himself.

I suspect that the Venezuelan government may be content to let Guaido continue to lead the opposition, as this will act to prevent a more effective figure from taking up the mantle of the opposition leadership.

They no doubt don't expect the US to actually extradite anyone, but they will instead enjoy watching the US waffle around the issue of how they had nothing to do with a violent coup attempt while also refusing extradition.

Overall, the Venezuelan government appear to have come out of this as the winners and Guaido ends up appearing even more inept.

 

Poppycock

Old-Salt
This looks bad, like back to the privateer pirates of the caribbean bad.
raab venezuela.jpg

WTF is our government doing, pledging £40-million towards Venezuelan "reconstruction" (read regime change)?

From report linked below said:
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have exposed a secretive Foreign Office unit aimed at the ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela. The files also reveal private discussions between Venezuelan opposition figures and UK officials, detailing proposals for the promotion of British business after a planned coup.
 
This looks bad, like back to the privateer pirates of the caribbean bad.
View attachment 473431
WTF is our government doing, pledging £40-million towards Venezuelan "reconstruction" (read regime change)?


It gives the reasons right in the article that you cited, the ability of British oil businesses to get access to Venezuela's oil resources (the world's largest oil reserves), and Venezuela surrendering territorial claims along the border with Guyana.

I won't comment on the reliability of that web site as I am not familiar with it, but if the story is true and Britain got what it wanted out of supporting Guiado overthrowing Maduro, then £40-million would be cheap at the price. It's certainly a lot less the money pissed away on pointless wars fought in the Middle East with nothing to show for them.
 
It gives the reasons right in the article that you cited, the ability of British oil businesses to get access to Venezuela's oil resources (the world's largest oil reserves), and Venezuela surrendering territorial claims along the border with Guyana.

I won't comment on the reliability of that web site as I am not familiar with it, but if the story is true and Britain got what it wanted out of supporting Guiado overthrowing Maduro, then £40-million would be cheap at the price. It's certainly a lot less the money pissed away on pointless wars fought in the Middle East with nothing to show for them.
I can only agree !
 
I like to think that if this was true that there would have had some more sensible experienced guys doing the training and so on?
 
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