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January 29, 2019 No.
7866

Hizbullah Declares Its Support For Venezuelan President Maduro, Condemns U.S. Intervention In Venezuela's Affairs

Following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as that country's legitimate president, not President Nicolas Maduro, Hizbullah declared its support for Maduro, condemned the "attempted overthrow" that it said was orchestrated by the U.S., and sent an official delegation to the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut to express its support for Maduro.

This is not the first time Hizbullah has declared its backing for Maduro. In August 2018, it denounced an assassination attempt against Maduro and claimed that the U.S. was responsible for it.[1] Further, according to various reports, Maduro and his former vice president Tareck Zaidan El Aissami[2] have strong ties to Hizbullah and Iran.[3] According to an anti-Maduro Venezuelan member of parliament, Hizbullah owns two goldmines in the country that it uses to finance its terror activity.[4] Also, according to various reports, Hizbullah had links to the government in Venezuela even before Maduro was elected. In 2008 the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on two Venezuelan nationals, one of them a diplomat, for their Hizbullah connections.[5] There were also reports of Hizbullah involvement in drug trafficking under the patronage of senior members of the Venezuelan government.[6]

 
Left: Hizbullah emblem; right, Maduro.

This report reviews Hizbullah's reactions to recent political events in Venezuela:

Hizbullah Announcement: The U.S. Is Behind The Attempt To Overthrow The Legitimate Government Of Venezuela

On January 24, 2019, following U.S. President Trump's recognition of Guaido as Venezuela's president instead of Maduro, Hizbullah declared its official support for Maduro. It stated in its declaration that it "condemns the flagrant American intervention, aimed at undermining the stability of Venezuela, and harshly condemns the attempt to overthrow the country's legitimate government – an attempt orchestrated and supported by the U.S. Hizbullah affirms its support for President Nicolas Maduro and his elected government... The entire world knows that the purpose of the intervention is not to protect democracy and freedom, as Washington claims, but rather to take control of the country's natural resources and to punish the patriotic countries for their political choices against America's American hegemony in the world."[7]

Hizbullah Parliamentary Faction Chairman: The U.S. Intervention Is A Disgrace That Should Be Obliterated From Human History

The following day, on January 25, 2019, a senior Hizbullah political delegation visited the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut to express support for Maduro. The delegation included Hizbullah faction leader MP Mohammad Raad, Hizbullah foreign affairs chief MP Ammar Al Moussawi, and Hizbullah political council member Mahmoud Qamati. At the conclusion of the visit Raad said: "All the brothers in Hizbullah and Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah support the Venezuelan people and its free leadership... The American intervention harms the interests of the people and is a disgrace that should be obliterated from human history... The stand of the Venezuelan people against the American intervention is a powerful stand and it is unthinkable that we wouldn't support it."[8]

Hizbullah Executive Council Deputy Head: The U.S. Aims To Take Control of Venezuela's Natural Resources

Hizbullah Executive Council deputy head Sheikh Ali Damush, a senior aide to Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, devoted much of his Friday, January 25, 2019 sermon to events in Venezuela, saying: "The U.S. is the reason for all the crises, problems, and worries suffered by the countries and peoples in this region [i.e. the Middle East]. It transfers the wars and the crises from one place to another and one country to another. Not content with the destruction, devastation, and crises it created in this region, it moved on to Venezuela to intervene in its affairs and to overthrow its legitimate government, [in order to] to destabilize the country in advance of taking control of it and its natural resources.

"The U.S. lies to the people of the world... The American intervention in the region and in Venezuela is not in defense of democracy, freedoms, or human rights, but to take over the countries that oppose the American plan, and these countries' natural resources, and to punish them for their political choices [that are] hostile to American hegemony over the world...

"The U.S., which is once again attempting, via its agents, to harm the resistance and the countries which support resistance, as well as the Palestinian issue, will fail, and this time it will be a resounding failure because it [the U.S.] has become weak and cannot carry out its plans in Lebanon, in the region, or in the world."[9]

 

[1] Almanar.com.lb, August 6, 2018.

[2] Tareck Zaidan El Aissami, son of a Syrian-Druze father and a Lebanese mother, headed the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party. He was sanctioned by the U.S. in February 2017 on accusations of playing a major role in international drug trafficking, and is alleged to have ties to Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah.  connections to Hizbullah and Iran. He is currently Venezuelan Minister of Industries and National Production. Treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/as0005.aspx, February 13, 2017; Businessinsider.com/new-venezuela-vice-president-has-ties-to-iran-hezbollah-2017-1, January 5, 2017.

[3] Businessinsider.com, January 5, 2017.

[4] Diariolasamericas.com, January 12, 2019.

[5] Treasury.gov, June 18, 2008.

[6] Politico.com, December 18, 2017.

[7] Alahednews.com.lb, January 24, 2019.

[8] Alnour.com.lb, January 25, 2019.

[9] Almanar.com.lb, January 25, 2019.