What to do about Venezuela? Some options

Venezuela's socialist starvation regime is still continuing, and with Venezuela's democrats reduced to "negotiating" with the Maduro dictatorship in Norway, let's just say that things aren't going to get any better as they are.

The U.S. is in a tough pickle, because it has recognized the government of acting president Juan Guaido at least partly on the practical grounds that that would be enough to get Maduro out of there and might help entice the Venezuelan military to defect to his legitimate government. Thus far, that hasn't happened, at least not sufficiently enough to scare Maduro out of there, one step ahead of the meathook.

For Venezuelans, the matter is urgent, because they are starving, dying of minor diseases, and going without gas, water, and electricity - their society is rapidly being reduced to Pol Pot's animal state. For Venezuela's neighbors, such as Colombia and Brazil, the matter is semi-urgent because they're about to host another two, three, or ten million fleeing refugees who are certain to follow.

For the U.S. it's just an embarrassment. Here President Trump has magnificently denounced socialism and won the hearts of Latino voters, particularly in Florida ... and little more than sanctions against a regime that doesn't follow laws anyway is on the table. The military-intervention talk is just talk - because we all know, and Maduro knows - that Trump has no heart for military intervention or any nation-building that may follow. It's hard to expend U.S. blood and treasure on a starving socialist hellhole when the locals aren't doing it themselves and the neighbors aren't helping.

So - as Lenin used to say: What is to be done? Here are some possibles scenarios:

Sen. Lindsey Graham thinks getting this matter over militarily with is a desirable and practical possibility, on the grounds that President Reagan, back in 1983, hosed out Grenada from a parallel Cuban takeover. (We can also point to Elliott Abrams' Panama operation against drug-dealing General Manuel Noriega in 1989, because the Maduroites are not only socialists but also drug-dealers and far worse ones than Noriega ever was). "Match words with action, Mr. President," Graham writes. Graham means well, and his rhetoric is compelling, but it really would be a hard slog, as Examiner writer Tom Rogan notes here

What else? Well, President Vladimir Putin is offering a deal around what his real interests are - swap Ukraine for Venezuela and have each country maintain its sphere of interests. You stay in your Caribbean swimming pool, we'll keep out, and we'll stay in our Black Sea swimming pool and you stay out. Ugh. While we want to be friendly to Russia, this one's a bad bargain because Ukaine is a country that has a lot of people who desperately want to be part of the West. We can't dump them or discourage them to free the Venezuelans. The best solution would be for both nations to stay independent, Russia and Ukraine to make a deal on Crimea (maybe Ukraine can sell it to them to pay off Ukraine's debts and call it square), and Russia and Ukraine to form a special relationship around trade and cooperation to help Russia move westward, too. The other thing is that from a politic-wise sense, it's bad politics. Trump would be sacrificing Ohio and probably other important parts of the Midwest in the 2020 election (which are full of Ukrainian-descended and other Eastern European-descended voters) in exchange for the Miami Latino vote in Florida. He's strong on both so why should he dump one? 

There are still other things that can be tried and should. One is to keep sanctions up on the regime, which seems to be what's going on, and that's O.K. even if we don't see significant results now.

The other thing is to focus on the encouraging of Venezuelans and their Latin American allies to take on the fight. Are arms sales too hard to get done? A recent piece that ran in ABC Spain and hasn't been seen anywhere else is that Veppex, an organization of Venezuelan exiles against the Maduro dictatorship, has begun a census of all the Venezuelan troops - retired and defecting - in exile. They've thus far reached 200 of the 4,000 out there, according to the piece. Something like that sounds like the existence of Venezuelans willing to take up arms on their own behalf, and the census itself is an intelligent idea for the makings of an army in exile to deal with the problem. These guys should be encouraged. The others who should be encouraged are Brazil and Colombia, who really ought to show the world that they have credible militaries and legitimate national interests in not having a hellhole of disease, poverty and crime rolling into their own countries. Thus far, they all seem resistant but there's always time: Wait till things get bad enough...

The last thing that can be on the table is military intervention ... to Cuba. Hose out and bomb out their military quarters for supporting the Venezuelan dictatorship and oppressing the Venezuelan people. Cuba might be a lot easier size-wise to take on, though its dictatorship apparatus is far more advanced. In Venezuela, one can rely on incompetence and cowardice to move things along, but in Cuba? Not entirely sure. Still, going after Cuba would be a tremendous surprise to them, and scare the hell out of a lot of tyrants. It might even scare Maduro into exile, perhaps a comfortable exile in Spain where socialist idiot still in love with him are running the show. (Spain isn't going to be leading on anything so long as these people are in charge, sorry, Americas Quarterly.) Could something like that be on the table? If it's viable, it could be boldly clever and Trump is not afraid to be bold.

Image credit: U.S. Marines / public domain, with added color overlay by Monica Showalter

 

 

Venezuela's socialist starvation regime is still continuing, and with Venezuela's democrats reduced to "negotiating" with the Maduro dictatorship in Norway, let's just say that things aren't going to get any better as they are.

The U.S. is in a tough pickle, because it has recognized the government of acting president Juan Guaido at least partly on the practical grounds that that would be enough to get Maduro out of there and might help entice the Venezuelan military to defect to his legitimate government. Thus far, that hasn't happened, at least not sufficiently enough to scare Maduro out of there, one step ahead of the meathook.

For Venezuelans, the matter is urgent, because they are starving, dying of minor diseases, and going without gas, water, and electricity - their society is rapidly being reduced to Pol Pot's animal state. For Venezuela's neighbors, such as Colombia and Brazil, the matter is semi-urgent because they're about to host another two, three, or ten million fleeing refugees who are certain to follow.

For the U.S. it's just an embarrassment. Here President Trump has magnificently denounced socialism and won the hearts of Latino voters, particularly in Florida ... and little more than sanctions against a regime that doesn't follow laws anyway is on the table. The military-intervention talk is just talk - because we all know, and Maduro knows - that Trump has no heart for military intervention or any nation-building that may follow. It's hard to expend U.S. blood and treasure on a starving socialist hellhole when the locals aren't doing it themselves and the neighbors aren't helping.

So - as Lenin used to say: What is to be done? Here are some possibles scenarios:

Sen. Lindsey Graham thinks getting this matter over militarily with is a desirable and practical possibility, on the grounds that President Reagan, back in 1983, hosed out Grenada from a parallel Cuban takeover. (We can also point to Elliott Abrams' Panama operation against drug-dealing General Manuel Noriega in 1989, because the Maduroites are not only socialists but also drug-dealers and far worse ones than Noriega ever was). "Match words with action, Mr. President," Graham writes. Graham means well, and his rhetoric is compelling, but it really would be a hard slog, as Examiner writer Tom Rogan notes here

What else? Well, President Vladimir Putin is offering a deal around what his real interests are - swap Ukraine for Venezuela and have each country maintain its sphere of interests. You stay in your Caribbean swimming pool, we'll keep out, and we'll stay in our Black Sea swimming pool and you stay out. Ugh. While we want to be friendly to Russia, this one's a bad bargain because Ukaine is a country that has a lot of people who desperately want to be part of the West. We can't dump them or discourage them to free the Venezuelans. The best solution would be for both nations to stay independent, Russia and Ukraine to make a deal on Crimea (maybe Ukraine can sell it to them to pay off Ukraine's debts and call it square), and Russia and Ukraine to form a special relationship around trade and cooperation to help Russia move westward, too. The other thing is that from a politic-wise sense, it's bad politics. Trump would be sacrificing Ohio and probably other important parts of the Midwest in the 2020 election (which are full of Ukrainian-descended and other Eastern European-descended voters) in exchange for the Miami Latino vote in Florida. He's strong on both so why should he dump one? 

There are still other things that can be tried and should. One is to keep sanctions up on the regime, which seems to be what's going on, and that's O.K. even if we don't see significant results now.

The other thing is to focus on the encouraging of Venezuelans and their Latin American allies to take on the fight. Are arms sales too hard to get done? A recent piece that ran in ABC Spain and hasn't been seen anywhere else is that Veppex, an organization of Venezuelan exiles against the Maduro dictatorship, has begun a census of all the Venezuelan troops - retired and defecting - in exile. They've thus far reached 200 of the 4,000 out there, according to the piece. Something like that sounds like the existence of Venezuelans willing to take up arms on their own behalf, and the census itself is an intelligent idea for the makings of an army in exile to deal with the problem. These guys should be encouraged. The others who should be encouraged are Brazil and Colombia, who really ought to show the world that they have credible militaries and legitimate national interests in not having a hellhole of disease, poverty and crime rolling into their own countries. Thus far, they all seem resistant but there's always time: Wait till things get bad enough...

The last thing that can be on the table is military intervention ... to Cuba. Hose out and bomb out their military quarters for supporting the Venezuelan dictatorship and oppressing the Venezuelan people. Cuba might be a lot easier size-wise to take on, though its dictatorship apparatus is far more advanced. In Venezuela, one can rely on incompetence and cowardice to move things along, but in Cuba? Not entirely sure. Still, going after Cuba would be a tremendous surprise to them, and scare the hell out of a lot of tyrants. It might even scare Maduro into exile, perhaps a comfortable exile in Spain where socialist idiot still in love with him are running the show. (Spain isn't going to be leading on anything so long as these people are in charge, sorry, Americas Quarterly.) Could something like that be on the table? If it's viable, it could be boldly clever and Trump is not afraid to be bold.

Image credit: U.S. Marines / public domain, with added color overlay by Monica Showalter