Venezuela set to get worse -- and back on Trump's agenda

Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl, who's no rabid Trump hater and who has been on top of the Venezuela situation for years, has a good item - warning that things will get worse before they get better. He writes:

On June 7, the U.N. Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration announced that the number of Venezuelans who had fled the country had surpassed 4 million. One million people of the fewer than 30 million remaining in what was once Latin America’s richest country had poured across its borders in just seven months. “The pace of the outflow from Venezuela,” said a statement by the two agencies, “has been staggering.”

The news didn’t get much attention in Washington. Following a failed attempt by the Venezuelan opposition to provoke a military uprising on April 30, President Trump chewed out his advisers, stopped talking about the country and moved on to his next “maximum pressure” target, Iran.

That’s a source of mounting frustration for Venezuelans and their Latin American neighbors, who don’t have the option of moving on — and who are saying their region will be facing a disaster of epic proportions within months unless Venezuela can be stabilized and the tide of refugees arrested.

It's nothing new, we all know about the refugees pouring over the country's borders and how tough it is for our neighbors up and down South America to care for them. These are people who are ragged, starving, in desperate need of medical care, and impoverished below African levels.

The human waves, though, are going to get worse. And Diehl thinks Trump will be blamed for putting punishing oil sanctions on the socialist hellhole, something one wonders about, given that that's not the reason for the country's socialist meltdown, and lifting them is unlikely to halt the human waves.  The dictatorship is now financing itself through gold sales and the illegal drug trade, its oil exports are down to 600,000 barrels a day, half of what it cranked out last year, and the only people who are getting it are the ones (such as Cuba) who aren't paying. When the gold runs out, it's going to get interesting.

However, Diehl may be right, given the eagerness with which the press and the left are to blame Trump for everything. Rest assured, they'll certainly try and as he notes, it won't just be the crazies among them.

Diehl seems to argue that the coming nightmare is real enough and implicitly argues for U.S. intervention. Note that last part of the third paragraph from Diehl: "unless Venezuelan can be stabilized and the tide of refugees can be arrested." He either means sending the Marines t hose out that hellhole or else something that gives Maduro no choice but to flee. We already know that Maduro isn't about to be persuaded to leave nor will his Cuban masters let him. It's also unlikely that Russia or China plan to play ball to get him out. Nope, it's starting to look hopeless that Maduro is going to exit stage left. And the result will be either civil war, a coup with a bunch of new losers, or most likely, the gargantuan refugee flood, even bigger than it already is unless ... something is done.

Diehl criticizes Trump for being disengaged with the matter perhaps due to the increasingly narrow and unpalatable solutions (Trump does not want to get the U.S. into more endless "nation-building" wars) and warns that the matter will be front and center for the U.S. at some point. (Maybe when the gold runs out?)

Perhaps it's time then that other solutions be thrown out there:

Diehl said he went to a conference with senior diplomats for this information - couldn't anyone there have asked them why Latin America isn't putting together a Marine force of its own to hose the hellhole out? Why this reliance on gringo when the problem is spilling into their country?

And why isn't Venezuelan President Juan Guaido, enmeshed in hopeless talks in Norway with the dictatorship owing to lack of better options, as Diehl notes, not instead raising money for an army, Simon Bolivar-style? He probably could hit the U.S. up for several million for the project. Money to pay soldiers - in real currency instead of devalued Venezuelan scrip - might actually work.

But neither of these seem to be on the table. We just hear that the Marines should get the job over with. It's time someone asked...

Image credit: Policia Nacional de los colombianos, via Wikimedia Commons and Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0



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