No Chinese Troops Arrived in Venezuela

Commentator Horsewhisperer pointed to a piece by the former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar that claims that Chinese soldiers arrived in Venezuela:

The reported arrival of Chinese military personnel in Venezuela last weekend is undoubtedly a major event in world politics.

Unlike Russia, which has a history of force projection abroad, this is an extremely rare Chinese move. Although vital Chinese interests are at stake in the war against terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Syria, China refrained from publicising any such deployment.

The reports mention that the group of Chinese military personnel is 120-strong and arrived on the Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea off the Venezuelan mainland on March 28 ‘to deliver humanitarian aid and military supplies to the government forces.’ After delivering the humanitarian supplies, the Chinese PLA troops were apparently transferred to a Venezuelan military facility.

The “reports” are likely false. There are no Chinese soldiers in Venezuela.

M. K. Bhadrakumar piece was published yesterday on his blog Indian Punchline and today republished on NewsClick. It is based on a claim made by Al Masadar News, a site in Lebanon which at times has real news from Syria, but is otherwise amateurish.

Al Masdarwrote on April 2:

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M) – A group of Chinese soldiers arrived in Venezuela on Sunday as part of a cooperation program between Beijing and Caracas.

According to reports, more than 120 soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army arrived at Venezuela’s Margarita Island to deliver humanitarian aid and military supplies to the government forces.

The arrival of the People’s Liberation Army in Venezuela comes just days after the Russian armed forces deployed to the country to install a military helicopter training facility.

While Al Masdar says “according to reports” none are linked. A search turns up zero such reports. The only source seems to be the Twitter account @I30mki pictured in the post. That account posts mostly mil-porn around the Russian fighter jet Su-57. It is probably run by some Russian or Indian teen.

The seemingly sole source of Al Masdartweeted about the alleged Chinese soldiers in Venezuela on April 1. Two of the attached photos show a Chinese B-747 commercial frighter plane and the third picture shows some soldiers.

The Chinese frighter plane indeed brought aid to Venezuela. Ruptly provided video of the welcome cermony and unloading. Only civil personal, no soldiers, are seen in that video. Text to the video, published on March 29, says:

A plane carrying the first batch of humanitarian aid from China arrived at Simon Bolivar International Airport in the northern Venezuelan city of Maiquetia on Friday.

Maiquetta is not on Venezuela’s Margarita Island but on its mainland. It is unlikely that 120 soldiers would travel on a long range commercial frighter plane which is neither equipped nor licensed for human transport.

The third picture attached to the tweet shows five soldiers smiling for the camera.

On his blog Bhadrakumar claims that the picture shows “Chinese PLA personnel pose with members of Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces, March 29, 2019”. While the aid delivery was on March 29 the claim that the picture was taken on the same day is likely false.

Two of the soldiers wear ammunition carrier vests with FANB written on the left breast pocket. It stands for Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana, which is the name of the Venezuelan army. The other three soldiers have digital pattern uniforms in three different color schemes. These are Chinese Type 07 combat uniforms and the pattern schemes are “ocean”, “universal” and “urban” used respectively by the Chinese navy, army and air force. All soldiers in the picture are probably 30 to 40 years old. One of the Chinese soldiers is a Major, another is Lieutenant Colonel. The ranks of the other men are not visible.

That three Chinese officers from three different branches of the Peoples Liberation Army are in a picture with two Venzuelan officer makes it likely that it was taken during some type of friendly officer exchange program or visit. It is unlikely to have been taken during the aid delivery. Why would middle rank officer from the navy, air force and army take part in some relief flight?

The tweet and its pictures make no sense. All that we are left with are the unsourced claims by some site in Lebanon:

According to reports, more than 120 soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army arrived at Venezuela’s Margarita Island to deliver humanitarian aid and military supplies to the government forces.

Why some 120 Chinese soldiers would land on the tourist Magarita Island instead of the mainland is left unexplained. Militarily it would not make any sense and there is zero evidence that it happened.

The fakenews piece by Al Masdar was picked up by Zerohedge, Sott.net and dozens of other such trash sites. That Bhadrakumar and other regular Moon of Alabama readers failed for it is sad.


By b
Source: Moon of Alabama