Venezuela is happening today. Years ago many of us were also thrilled at the surging hope, the noble young demonstrators yearning for democracy, and the growing number of troops who were said to be switching sides at the beginning…of Tiananmen Square.
So it may be with Caracas.
As of press time early this morning the circumstances are tense and not necessarily trending for Juan Guaidó and the rebels. The Intel chief jumping ship on Nicolás Maduro is nice and may be a sign, as in that job he would have had close contacts with Havana and Moscow, that the dictator’s allies could be hedging their bets against a negative eventuality.
However, the all important military, because in a tyrannical society only the authorities have guns, has yet to abandon Maduro. Until that happens in Venezuela all the combined confidence in the happy-face outcome is not warranted. And what of rebel leader Guaidó? On Wednesday he told a cheering crowd of thousands in Caracas, “It’s totally clear now the usurper has lost.”
No, Juan, it isn’t.
Add to that a Florida congressman’s assertion that the Russians have installed nukes in Venezuela, setting up a missile crisis scenario, and the situation becomes even cloudier.
Thursday morning reports also say that up to 20,000 Cuban troops are propping up the Maduro government. The U.S. is responding to that by threatening the imposition of a “full and complete embargo” and hard sanctions on Cuba if they remain.
By the way, Rep. Omar is, of course, blaming the U.S. for the entire crisis.
So no, Maduro hasn’t fallen and may not fall at all. Sad, though very possibly true. I hope I’m wrong on this. However, history teaches that geopolitical pessimism is empirically right more than not. Decolonialism being a case in point.
If he does fall it’s going to take more time, effort, and compromise. Sure, sometimes the really glorious comeuppance does happen, like in the Philippines when Marcos was ousted or as it did in an exceptionally fitting fashion with Ceausescu in Romania.
In this instance it’ll be the brass hats with the guns and planes, not a dozen afternoons of idealistic street theater, who will decide the issue in Venezuela. All before that is mere foreplay. Fun, but not really all that you were looking for.