A Secret Dossier in Venezuela
From the New York Times. I'm Michael Barbaro. This is the daily. Today. For weeks after mass protests and international pressure failed to unseat Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, it became clear that it would take defections from within his own regime to remove him from power. Now secret documents leaked to my colleague, Nick ace suggest that people around Madero are starting to turn on. It's Friday may third. Nick, what happened at the beginning of this week in Venezuela. It's around sunrise, Tuesday morning and Venezuelans wake up to this video which is suddenly appeared. We went and it's one way though. Lucho at siempre in gynecology to why those the leader of the national simply they're very used to seeing him. He's been saying that he is the legitimate president of Venezuela for months and that he's going to topple nNcholas Maduro. In medical the gym. But he hasn't been able to do that. So far. Except in this video suddenly things look different. He's standing on a military base. Melia mealy Dada. He's got national guardsmen standing behind him. And he's saying the moment has come and women. Our this is it everybody is going to start to rebel right now. These men behind me or on my side. And it's only a matter of time till the rest of the country is going to be as well come out to the streets come out and join us the moment is at hand. Duda Jaeger Venezuela. And then when you look behind him in the video there's another man everybody in Venezuela recognizes the hasn't seen in a while. It's they uphold a Lopez who is a political prisoner the most famous political prisoner in the country who's been sentenced to almost fourteen year jail sentence, but he's not in his house arrest. He's behind one way, though, he's with these military men and all of them are saying the time has come. This is the juncture get ready. This'll ended by leeann own behaving too young. I'm with Abraham he's been asking for the military to get on his side to push Madurai out for months at this point. But there now military that are behind him. And it looks like they're on his side has message now is we've got these guys here. There's a few of you left. Get on our side. We're going to do all this today. Say if you do young impasse. Oh. Domino's. Whether in his Wailer and potentially it sounds like by the end of the day Medeiros, not going to be in power. Alive. Nick, what does the scene signal to you? It seems there's just suddenly a big blast of hope for the opposition has been looking for some moment. Like this to say that they're going to get the upper hand in this months long battle against Madero. And this is also ricocheting out to Washington, we see this now is essentially desposited moment in the efforts at the Venezuelan April to regain their freedom, which we fully support. I got a call really early in the morning from someone over there saying that they had heard the supreme court Justice was going to sign a memo saying that quite oh was the president. And the defense minister was going to suddenly defect from Madero. And then also there's this rumors starting to circulate around DC that Madero is Jennings. A jet to get out of the country while luring Calvin we're just now learning secretary of state. Mike palm peyot says he believed early this morning that nickel. Madora was actually ready to flee Venezuela. He had a plane ready on the tarmac. Apparently, he was headed to Vanik Cuba. But Mike Pompeo is telling us that he believes the Russians talked him out of it also. So I'm looking at this still in my bed at this point. And it all looks a little too good to be true for the opposition, the people they're talking about defecting have been loyalists for longtime, and if you look closely at this video, you can't even see how many soldiers are actually standing behind him. There's no one from the top ranks of the military. That's there. So it's clears it's going to be a long day. But it's not clear who's going to be the Victor. So what actually happens? People start to gather the come out for those call the come out to the military base where he's at and someone opens the door and people start trickling. Leopold? The Lopez is standing next to machine-gun looks like he's ready to do battle. Winnow? The there are people in the streets. Now are groups of people in the media, which is the main opposition neighborhood. They start to clash with the military have been sent out. There's the scene that starts circulating on social media of an armored vehicle. That's running over the protesters. Suddenly waves of people are coming into the hospitals with these injuries from rubber bullets from getting hit by the vehicles that are being Sanath to them crocodiles turns into pandemonium for number of hours. While this question of who is going to take the countries is getting decided as this happens. The people who were mentioned to me is the defectors start to get onto Twitter and say, they're on Madero side. So it looks like things aren't going well for white. Oh, and then. Got you. Later in the afternoon. News comes out that they'll pull the Lopez that had gotten out of his house arrest is now hiding in an embassy. That doesn't look good and by evening by nightfall. It looks like there's just been another battle in this long war that Madero again has one. He's clearly the president is clearly in charge of the state and those back to where he was to begin with which is the leader of the opposition that saying he's the president. But isn't so by the end of the day, the forces around Guido have been clearly defeated and his close ally. Leo Lopez is literally in hiding, it's one giant revolution. That starts back to where it began one big circle. So it feels like this has been the story of the past few months the opposition movement that why does leading gains momentum. It seems like the military might flip against Madora, and he might be ousted and yet the military ends up staying with him, and he remains in power and the opposition's momentum kind of fizzles. Yeah. The cycle is repeated itself so many times the opposition keeps trying to get the Venezuelan deep state, which is all of these people from the security stablishment to the armed forces the ones, they're really holding up mature at this point. And they never seemed to be able to get that. What you see in Venezuela is that it's having to use the deep state to run the state because it's no longer a democracy and at the end of the day. Yeah. It looks like this was just another one of these failed attempts from the opposition to try to be able to get the deep state on their side. They haven't been able to get the military to join them fully they haven't been able to get the secret police to get on their side. They haven't been able to get these people that are actually the ones in control of the country to join the opposition. At least it doesn't appear that they have. But all my desk that day is a dossier. And it tells maybe a different story of kinds of fractures that you can't see that are playing out within Mr. Medeiros government in what is this dossier? It's a stack of documents. That tells a history of a man named Tareq LA Saami who's one of the most central people to the government right now after Mr. Maduro, he's one of his chief confidence. He's a person that you see almost every time that Madero is going out onto a stage. He used to be the vice president he's one of the most powerful men in the country. And what does the stack of documents tell you about it says that somebody in the intelligence agency was trying to investigate this, man? And they had a lot of suspicions not just of him. But also family having been volved in everything from bringing in militants into the country from the Middle East to trafficking drugs within his own country. Wow. So for example, halfway into this dossier. You start to come across documents from the attorney general's office talking about what looks like a major drug bust that took place on the border of Brazil. Venezuela. The agents came to these empty warehouses where houses they thought were empty, and they suddenly came across one hundred forty tonnes of urea, which is one of the components that used to make cocaine turned out these actually belong to one of the biggest drug traffickers in the country. But the man who came out, and these documents is the legal Representative of that drug trafficker was Tareq Samis cousin as the case works its way up through the courts, tarp saw Samis stars starring to rise in leftist, politics, and what you see in the dossier. Is that alternately the cocaine ingredients are returned back to the drug trafficker? And the implication is this had something to do with charcoal. I saw me. But why is the significant right now in the context of all of this political turmoil going on in Venezuela? This gets to the core. I think it what makes Venice Willens angriest the most it's not just that. You don't have food in Caracas. You don't have medicine or water or trysofi? It's the fact that the government may be the source of your woes because of the level of corruption and how much they've pillaged from the state while you're starving. Someone else is a billionaire, and they may have made that money off of drug trafficking. There used to be a term still used called Bulla Garcs which refers to the people that had benefited from the boulevard and revolution the left-wing revolution that took place in Venezuela at had been able to make off with millions from the state. This is the center of what this movement is about this is why people want Madore out is because many of them are looking for someone who they can trust. And what these documents are saying is target less on isn't one of them. And the other reason why this is important is because of how we got this information. Shen? This is information which came from Medeiros own security establishment. So it not only shows that they were suspicious of the people who running the government just like the people in the streets. But they also wanted others to know about this the fact that they were willing to give these papers to reporters from the New York Times shows that that United front that Madero wants to show isn't really there. There's something a lot more complicated going on under the surface right now. So Nick, you're saying that the fact that you're able to tell the story to see this dossier is significant unto itself because it means that there are people in Madurai government, specifically, it sounds like in his intelligence apparatus who aren't as United or loyal to Madero as he would have believe these documents came from someone who has held very high rank in Venezuela's intelligence community, and the fact that they're published in the times shows that there's something going on with the spies in the country. I can tell you. This person was a true believer in the government for years, but doesn't believe it anymore and has some real doubts about who is running the country right now. And I think the goal in handing over documents like this was trying to show the rest of the world that the people running Venezuela couldn't be trusted. I think it was that simple. If you're a spy, you have access to all kinds of information and your powers when you give that information out when it's released turning something secret into something public as a huge thing when it comes to espionage. And this was what was happening. This is the kind of stuff that wants compile shouldn't see the light of day, if you're the intelligence community, this is stuff, which are basically state secrets and put these out in a manner that they're going to get published for the world to see it's making a big statement about who you wanna see in charge of Venezuela. So you have always made clear that what really matters is what happens to the military. If there are mass defections from the military that would almost assuredly mean the end of the Madore regime, what about the intelligence community? What happens if they started affect each or constituents which are key to keeping Madero empower? Both are looking at the other to see which is going to take the first move. And I think these play off of one another. So it's dynamic, which is really important. Does that mean that even though it felt like one Goydos latest call for the Madero government to turn on it? Even though it looked like that fizzled. Maybe actually it's kind of working because you're seeing this deep state actually begin to break away from Doro in a pretty meaningful way yet. We the thing that you got remembers that the protesters are outside right now, they got quashed, but they're not inside the prison. Palace. If something is storing to break inside that's much more scary situation to wrote those are the people that Medeiros seeing when he's at these cabinet meetings. And if he's just gone through this day on Tuesday, where the US said that there were top officials about to betray him. And then by the end of the week. He seeing all these pages of information that had been assembled by his intelligence agency, getting published in the New York Times, if he's looking around these cabinet meetings, and he doesn't know if he can fully trust these people, it makes you think that you don't know what the next step is. And how am I going to keep myself in power? So why does call is actually being answered by the most dangerous people imaginable to nNcholas Maduro, which are powerful individuals within his government. Exactly. Remember, the reason why J Edgar Hoover was. So feared in the US was because he had information on presidents these presidents more than anyway. One fear the people running their intelligence agencies. Those people can be used to squash their opponents, but they can also turn on them too. And I think that's one of the fears that the government has and so this dossier is no doubt kind of message to Madero that the intelligence community could very well have the same kind of information about him. So I've seen the file on Asami Medeiros confidante. But if there's a file that's there on Madero. That's something that Venezuelans would really want to see and that file would be a lot more damaging. Thank you. Thanks, michael. Make that oral care. Yesterday's news. Over a million mouths agree. Quick makes daily brushing better for the whole family. The quip electric toothbrush has time sonic vibrations and signalling pulses for more thorough clean in two minutes. Plus fresh brush heads delivered automatically to keep your brush fresh quip starts at twenty five dollars with refills delivered every three months for only five dollars. And here's some great news. You can get your first refill pack free at get quip dot com slash daily. That's G E T Q U I P dot com slash the daily. 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