Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Venezuela Goes Hot

Will the people of Venezuela fight for their freedom?

We will find out soon; the opposition has crossed the Rubicon;
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

“I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” said Lopez, who had been detained since 2014 for leading anti-government protests. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.”

Lopez said he has been freed from house arrest by members of the security forces responding to an order by Guaidó, whom the U.S. and dozens of other governments recognize as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
The next 24-hrs will be telling.

Without strong support from the military, urban uprisings have a spotty track record. Maduro over the last decade has listened to the wise advice of Roman emperors; he made sure the army got paid.

Guaidó is taking the only logical step - but I'm not sure his timing is optimal. I'm not sure if the fruit for rebellion is ever ripe, but facts can push your decisions and he's closer to the fight - so I'll have to defer to him.

I am not even cautiously optimistic about their success though. Here are some structural issues in his way.

1. The officer corp of most of the Venezuelan army is bought and paid for. Highly corrupt. With very few exceptions, he cannot trust anyone above Major.

2. The critical mass - intellectually, financially, and personality - of the people needed to lead and populate an urban uprising have already left the country. Millions who could not live under Maduro's boot have left. They can't join the rebellion in the streets, they are in Orlando, Miami, Colombia, and Brazil.

3. Passive neighbors. Hopefully, there is a lot of covert support from Colombia and Brazil for Guaidó. There is a lot to gain for those nations if Venezuela gets to a more stable place. If their military will not move, hopefully their security services will.

4. Yankee is staying home. There is no positive long-term result if USA forces have any role in removing Maduro from power. This is a South American problem that will require South American solutions. We should support the opposition morally, with humanitarianism, and financially indirectly where needed, but that is about it.

Yes, yes, yes ... I know China and Russia have thrown in with Maduro. That is good. If Guaidó, who is a man of the left BTW, gains power - he will have a bone to pick with those two actors and their Cuban auxiliaries. There are plenty of lamp posts in the country to deal with those once the pivot point it reached.

Keep watching this important evolving event.

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