Venezuela crisis shaping up to be all about who has the guns

If there's any question about the value of the Second Amendment, maybe the Venezuelan crisis will offer the best answer.

What are we seeing there now?

Obviously, not just an economic wrangle, but a military struggle.  Venezuela's democrats, who are right now in a showdown with a brutal socialist dictatorship, have a strategy premised around supporting the constitution, which mandates that Nicolás Maduro step down, given the phony election that stands as the base of his legitimacy, and by getting hold of the military to make it real.

Right now, they are in talks with military officials, urging them to leave Maduro, which is the latest development in the unfolding story.

According to the Washington Post:

CARACAS, Venezuela – The Venezuelan opposition is in talks with sympathetic military and civilian officials in a bid to force out President Nicolás Maduro, self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó said in an interview Sunday with The Washington Post.


Guaidó told The Post that talks with the military were proceeding behind the scenes. He also hailed a move on Saturday by Maduro's former military attache in Washington to switch allegiance to Guaidó. 

"We have been in talks with government officials, civilian and military men," Guaidó said. "This is a very delicate subject involving personal security.  We are meeting with them, but discreetly."

They scored at least one military man in the exit of the Venezuelan defense attaché in Washington.  They've gotten a few but need to score more – and as the Wall Street Journal reported a week ago, the military leaders are still holding back.

It's not just about rice bowls, though.  Military defectors say it's also all about guns.  The military apparently doesn't have any, or at least access to them, despite the massive arms sales from Russia that Venezuela's socialist regime has spent its oil bounty on.

Here's a CNN report worth looking at:

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) – Venezuelan army defectors are calling on the Trump administration to arm them, in what they call their quest for "freedom."

Former soldiers Carlos Guillen Martinez and Josue Hidalgo Azuaje, who live outside the country, told CNN they want US military assistance to equip others inside the beleaguered nation.  They claim to be in contact with hundreds of willing defectors and have called on enlisted Venezuelan soldiers to revolt against the Maduro regime, through television broadcasts.

"As Venezuelan soldiers, we are making a request to the US to support us, in logistical terms, with communication, with weapons, so we can realize Venezuelan freedom," Guillen Martinez told CNN.

Hidalgo Azuaje added: "We're not saying that we need only US support, but also Brazil, Colombia, Peru, all brother countries, that are against this dictatorship."

The military men are pleading for arms.  They'll take care of the job, they say, if they have the tools to do it.

Recall that when Venezuelan soldiers mutinied in the area of Petare earlier this month, their priority also was seizing weapons.

It does suggest that a penurious armed force with no access to weapons is the problem.  Apparently, not even the soldiers are trusted with guns by the dictatorship.  The Maduro regime is starting to arm gangs as a means of checking the military.  They trust gangs and thugs, but not responsible military men with guns, and seem to have disarmed them.

It is known that conditions are bad for the soldiers even as they haven't defected much.  Reports are out that Venezuelan soldiers running the state oil company have deserted to join the vast exodus of refugees out of the country because they too are hungry.

There've been a lot of reports of soldiers starving, as this video from Caracas Chronicles shows.

I cannot say who has the guns or who's going to get the troops the guns they need to defect and join the democrats.  But what this does show is that guns are important.  The soldiers are clearly afraid to defect because they don't have arms.  And taking guns out of the hands of people who do obey laws or a constitution, such as soldiers and Venezuela's current recognized Democratic government, is what's keeping the dictator in place.  Brazil under its new president, Jair Bolsonaro, made it his priority to give Brazilians their version of the Second Amendment.  Guaidó is going to have to do the same when he eventually does get power, to ensure that Maduro can never come back to oppress and ruin again.  It's all about the guns, and in Venezuela, who wins is a question of not whether there are guns, but who has the guns.

Image credit: ABC News camera screen shot.