Picture it. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit has just landed in La Guaira and is now marching on Caracas, The Dwight D. Eisenhower Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is docked a few miles offshore and a no-flight zone is being enforced over Venezuela by the U.S. Air Force. Venezuelan forces in Táchira, Mérida and Zulia have surrendered without resistance shortly after American troops crossed the Colombian border and were welcomed by crowds gathered in public squares waving the seven star Venezuelan flag. Nicolás Maduro’s whereabouts are unknown but he’s presumed to have left the country a few hours after the U.S. Navy intercepted Diosdado Cabello on a small boat heading to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

This is the kind picture most people come up with when they imagine a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. Now that the biggest protest movement the country has seen in years has petered out, leaving only increased authoritarianism in its wake, some in the opposition are dispirited enough to actually think it’s a good idea. After all, if kids with cardboard shields couldn’t do it, surely the gringos can, right?

Hanging heavily over this scenario is the legacy of the 1989 U.S. Invasion of Panama, which some mis-remember as a quick and painless military triumph. Lost in this account are not just the entire civilian neighborhoods that burned down during the fighting and the hundreds of innocent civilians killed, but the structural differences between Panama back then and Venezuela today.

For one thing, Panama came handily pre-invaded: over a dozen U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force facilities were up and running in the Panama Canal Zone in 1989 which, lest we forget, was technically U.S. sovereign territory. The U.S. could, and did, airlift soldiers directly from the States into Howard Air Force Base, a fully operational base a stone’s throw away from the capital. Everything was already there: fuel depots, radar, even a submarine base.

Venezuela they’d have to invade from scratch, a vastly different proposition.

If kids with cardboard shields couldn’t do it, surely the gringos can, right?

The political differences are just as stark. Unlike Maduro, who still counts on the fanatical support of some 20% of the people, General Noriega was genuinely loathed by a population he couldn’t hope to melt back into. There was no Panamanian La Piedrita, no 23 de Enero to hide in.

It’s important to realize that, in Venezuela’s case, the full-on invasion scenario is a fantasy: unfeasible on diplomatic, political, and geostrategic grounds. Invading Venezuela would be a radical move with no plausible justification in International Law that would threaten Cuban, Chinese and Russian interests. It would require Colombian help, which will not be forthcoming, and Brazilian help as well. It would need congressional support, which hasn’t been sought or built, and support from the Pentagon, which would worry that starting a regional war-of-choice would divert U.S. military assets and capabilities away from far more pressing national security theaters: the Korean peninsula, the Middle East, Afghanistan, even Eastern Europe.

In other words, an all-out invasion pipe-dream…or a pipe-nightmare, depending on your point of view.

But the President of the United States talked about military options, not about an “invasion.” So what other options would he have?

A somewhat more realistic — though still deeply problematic — option would be a much more limited engagement: a series of attacks from the air, likely using cruise missiles, that would put no U.S. servicemen’s lives on the line. These could range from a handful of missiles designed to “send a message” to a sustained series of barrages designed to cripple the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FANB).

A move like this would lack U.N. Security Council support —China and Russia would surely veto— and the diplomatic consequences for the U.S. would be considerable. The potential for collateral damage is significant enough to make the whole concept hateful — one wrong set of GPS coordinates and poof, there goes half your family. No sane Venezuelan could want this. Worse, it’s not even clear how a war from the air would really degrade the regime.

The President of the United States talked about military options, not about an “invasion.” So what other options would he have?

You can, of course, take out the FANB from the air. But FANB is only one piece of the problem. The regime has lots of people with guns outside FANB supporting it. They’re more militant, more ideological, less disciplined and less worried about casualties than their FANB counterparts. Taking out FANB and leaving the regime to rely solely on armed civilians is taking the country out of the frying pan and into the fire.

But the relative ease with which FANB could be decimated without putting any U.S. lives at risk points to the truly intriguing military option, one that could badly destabilize the regime without firing a shot: what if Trump bluffs?

Think of this from the point of view of a fat, corrupt Venezuelan Army General. Just a few days ago you were standing next to Nicolás Maduro as he announced to the country how the recently named Comisión de la Verdad will bring an end to all political dissent. You clapped, just like you always do when Maduro takes another step along his not-so-long path to dictatorship. Later that night, you got home and drank your usual 18-year old scotch with your usual cocaine trafficking proceeds. Life was good.

Then the President of the United States gives a televised speech, and life stops looking so good. Flanked by the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he says the United States has determined it is against its vital interest to allow a new Marxist dictatorship in Latin America. He announces he’s ordered the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Group to sail south, and says the United States will take all steps necessary to restore constitutional order in Venezuela.

How do you think you’re sleeping at night now, General? What do you think your WhatsApp group with other FANB Generals feels like now? How long until you start questioning your own revolutionary spirit as you start regretting all those pictures clapping fir Maduro? What, if it came down to it, would you really prefer, dealing with Maduro yourself, or facing a sustained U.S. air assault?

The truly intriguing military option: one that could badly destabilize the regime without firing a shot: what if Trump bluffs?

An actual U.S. military intervention isn’t even needed. That’s surplus to requirements. What’s important is that FANB feels in its bones that the tomahawks could start flying at any moment.

Most of the officers who remain loyal to the government do so because they are either as deep in shit as the guys they defend or because the corruption network created by chavismo is just too lucrative for them. This isn’t about deep ideological commitments, it’s about a calculation of costs and benefits. But the U.S. can radically alter that calculation without firing a shot.

If there’s one thing any poker player knows is that if you’re going to bluff, you need to commit.

Mike Pence’s recent Latin American tour was quite committed. Our country was in the spotlight of most press conferences and meetings Pence held. The American VP even addressed the humanitarian issue and its implications in a particularly personal way while retelling the stories he heard from Venezuelan families who fled to Colombia recently; making clear that the Venezuelan crisis was a real concern for the United States, no matter how clumsily President Trump may manage the issue.

Now that democratic institutions have been butchered, Venezuela’s remaining options are horrible. The menu includes open-ended urban insurgency, a U.S. oil embargo that sets off a humanitarian catastrophe, outright civil war or just turning into the next Libya. The one, narrow opening we have for some sort of a soft landing involves FANB remaining cohesive as it pushes for a peaceful transition. It’s desperate, but that’s our best choice.

So please, Mr. Trump, don’t send the Marines…just make sure these FANB assholes think you will.

96 COMMENTS

  1. Juan,
    Best line in your post → “POTUS talked about a military option in Venezuela telegraphed lack of seriousness”. Any mention of influence into Venezuelan matters (military or otherwise) is fodder for political rhetoric in Latin America. As some posters have mentioned… “Political Currency”

  2. Juan Carlos, good article. You failed to address my main concern, what happens the day after. Without the Blue Helmets (not happening because of Russia and China) who will be on the ground to stabilize the streets? A regional coalition would be needed, but the region can not even vote to invoke the Democratic Charter. If the Armed Forces, National Guard and Police forces all folded, there would be tens of thousands more armed individuals without direction or allegiance. Add to this the pranes and colectivos. This would be a nightmare for anyone involved.

  3. “If the Armed Forces, National Guard and Police forces all folded, there would be tens of thousands more armed individuals without direction or allegiance. Add to this the pranes and colectivos. This would be a nightmare for anyone involved.”

    Waltz, we’re already living in a nightmare. Do you read the newspapers from down here? The last page of virtually everyone of them covers the murders that took place around the city the night before, complete with gory photos. Shops close at 5:00 PM, and many restaurants that served evening meals no longer open or have gone out of business because of the crime. The prans prefer to stay in prison and operate their criminal activities from there because it’s safer. No shit. I still own a home in Maurin and if I never see it again that’ll be fine with me. And Maturin is one of the more, shall we say, tranquil towns.

    “A somewhat more realistic — though still deeply problematic — option would be a much more limited engagement: a series of attacks from the air, likely using cruise missiles, that would put no U.S. servicemen’s lives on the line. These could range from a handful of missiles designed to “send a message” to a sustained series of barrages designed to cripple the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FANB).”

    I still think this is a viable option to break the back of the FANB, splitting the ranks, and causing chaos within chavismo. Of course, I was laughed off the page as I’m sure you will be as well.

    “Mike Pence’s recent Latin American tour was quite committed. Our country was in the spotlight of most press conferences and meetings Pence held.”

    This observation does not square with other CC authors. They claimed he was “traipsing” around S. America, a decidely negative connatation.

    Now, if anyone can lay out a viable option to some sort of US military action bringing an end to this nightmare, I’d like to hear it. Anyone who thinks Maduro et al will hand over the keys after some imaginary loss next year in presidential elections (if they’re ever held) is delusional. But, I eagerly await the answer.

    • Sorry if I was not clear, at this point the US is responsible for none of the current problems facing Venezuela. Despite what some commenters want you to believe regarding sanctions and some nebulous economic war. With any military actions the US will have “bought” all of the problems. Highest murder rate in the world, typical Latin American impunity rates an economy that is less stable than a two- legged stole. Would the US also be responsible for the needed prison reforms, ending gasoline subsidies, allowing the BF to float, and countless other necessities? I do not believe that the US population wants to take the task of nation building in a country that it does not see as a threat. Thus my belief that if any action that is to be taken to oust the regime a regional stabilizing/occupation force will be needed. Venezuela would be lucky to get Nicaraguan and Bolivian assistance here (Cuba of course would be giddy at the opportunity), sarcasm intended.

      • waltz, that is not how geopolitics works, unless you want to build a wall around the US ,stop trading globally and hope all the worlds problems will go away or let Russia or China “fix” them.
        By the way, why you ever bother commenting in a blog about Venezuela?
        Why you care so much about something that is apparently not of your problem?

        • There are contributors here who condone MUD assuming the proverbial fetal position and another here who is concerned about wealth redistribution not wealth creation, I do not think I am the bogey man under your bed. You support US military intervention, as a US citizen I have questions and concerns about this. Address those questions and concerns or not.

          I do not understand “geopolitics” and thus would not be allowed to vote under your Platonic Republic, which I assure you will need to be imposed at the barrel of a gun, just like Maduro’s regime.

          At least promise me when you get to play philosopher king that I will get a hardy pat on the back, a double ration of chirrinchi, and my CLAP bag will arrive on time for a job well done.

        • To your questions, I see no need for a wall. I will side with David Ricardo on trade before the populist BS that seems to be overtaking the world. Just like import substitution and expropriations, among many other things, have left Venezuela devastated I believe a trade war would do the same, to a lesser extent, to the US. Now do you mind addressing my concerns, I can only assume that those in the halls of power here in the US have the same questions.

  4. The funny thing is that Trump is in a bizarrely strong position to put “Mad Man Theory” to work, BECAUSE HE GENUINELY IS KIND A KOOKY. A threat from him could genuinely destabilize the regime because, even though it’s diplomatically poisonous, people have come to expect Trump to do diplomatically poisonous things as a matter of course…

    • Trump is not crazy unpredictable. He’s textbook crazy. The Russians have no doubt circulated copies of the DSM V to its allies with sticky notes and a memo on how to manipulate and distract a narcissist. The same memo they put together for Chavez.

      • You remind me of a dog I had many years ago. He knew damned good and well he wasn’t supposed to get into the garbage……that he was going to get whacked repeatedly by the dreaded rolled up newspaper because of it.

        But he just couldn’t help himself. The mere mention of Trump brings you running every time.

          • Indeed, well, the bar on buffoonery and ignorance has dropped precipitously since I came up with that, but here we are:

            Donald J. Trump is President of the United States and he has garnered among his followers a little band of potty mouthed opponents of Venezuelan populism with his anti-immigrant, anti-democratic, America-first rhetoric.

            As Hamlet said to the fool, or the fool said to Hamlet (or the skull): would could have imagined that s—?

            And what an imagination you have.

    • It is widely agreed by a majority of norte americanos that 45 is somewhere between unstable and flat out crazy. But, it is also agreed that he is, as we say in Texas “big hat, no cattle”. Always threatening to sue, but he hasn’t filed a law suit since ~1993, it’s others suing him. Problem is we all know everything is a bluff, and so do many others. Not so unlike HFC he’s a coward at heart.

      • Gringo 2 – I have no idea where you get the notion that “the majority of norte americanos” think President Trump is “between unstable and flat out crazy”. If you take a look at the world you may find that socialism is what is totally – homicidally – insane. Do you not have the personal courage to even look at that?

      • Ira / Gringo: no disprespect intended. Anytme I say “American” I get the “we are all Americans”, etc. married to a Venezuelana y many Canadian friends and elsewhere.. btw the comment is about Trump q no tiene bolas.. ok?

        • How is it widely agreed that the majority of NorteAmericanos think Trump is crazy?

          Of course, Canada doesn’t count. It never does.

          And Americans ELECTED Trump!

          Seriously–are you a fucking idiot?

  5. They will have to take some type of miitary action for anything to change.I believe that key date is December 2018.That is when the gig is up.His term ends and they said they would hold elections.If they steal them or postpone/cancel them that then it is unquestionably a dictatorship.What we have now is an authoritarian regime but they still have the facade of elections that the opposition will participate in and some legitimacy.He can’t go past his 6 years.I know it’s not a popular theory and I welcome debate not name calling and accusations of being a Chavista or a Communist troll.

    • Maduro’s presidency lost all pretenses of legitimacy when the RR was illegally killed by criminal courts in several states.

      While cunt Tibisey had dragged her feet on the process forcing the recall to move into 2017 and denying the opposition an outright election mandate, the non-valid signatures had been discounted, and sufficient valid signatures had been approved to move the process forward. Maduro was going to be forced to name a successor. No one denies that, at least not that I’m aware of.

      • adding to this, I think it was emiliana who participated on the validation of firms and made an article about it, the biggest mechanism they used to consider firms “invalid” was handwriting. People had to input the name first, then, in a later step they would check with the cne, if the names were ever so slightly different because you couldn’t properly read their handwriting, then the firm is invalid! a whole planilla (they contained 10 firms each, if I recall) was invalidated because it looked like it said “nicolas mauero” or something like that instead of “maduro”. They’ll employ any and all traps and dirty tricks they can to accomplish whatever they want.

        Also when discussing possible lives cost of an operation I think it’d be wise to take into account the people who are already dying here, it’s not just the over 100 murdered during protests, there are over 20 thousand murders a year, and who knows how many people dead from preventable disease.

      • chavismo lost all pretenses of legitimacy the moment chavez ordered the Llaguno murderers to slaughter the protesters that headed to Miraflores on april 11 of 2002.

    • Another one who has not seen the writting on the wall. Venezuela is a military dictatorship, PUNTO. Talking about elections after the Constituyente fraud is a waste of time and energy.

      • We may know that but many do not.4 years into a 6 year term does not seem to outsiders as such.If he goes beyond his allotted reign then more will recognize as one.

        • “Why are you whining so much? It’s just two years added to the term, why don’t you go and shut the fuck up in your houses until they’re not your any longer?”

          Heh, chavista hypocrisy can be so infuriating that it goes all the way around to ridiculous and laughable.

          • Well you never accepted Chavez as a legitimate president.He always cheated right?How long has this been a dictatorship Ulamog?I am curious..

          • You whine, whine and whine with no reason at all.

            You whine because of “guarrrrrrrimbas”, when there was barely anyone whistling in the streets.

            Yoiu whine “guerrrrrra económica” when chavistas have the monopoly of dollars in Venezuela.

            You whine about “mass media censor against chavismo” when chavismo has 99% of all the media in their grasp.

            And you whine about “intervention and invasion” when cubans have invaded the country since the 60s.

            Seriously, you sound like a little spoiled sifrino brat complaining about not wanting to eat the caviar his enchufado parents bought with stolen dollars.

            You must have some kind of problem in the roof, dude.

  6. As Juan Carlos points out, US military intervention is a dream. I would add one of Venezuelan self absorption thinking that its oil and its beauty queens are that important as the register in the US conciseness to warrant blood and treasure.

    We act like a banana republic and the most we get is pity from this self inflicted, once democratically elected wound of Chavismo. Elections have consequences.

    Yes, Venezuela may unleash a ghastly humanitarian crisis, but this is nothing new, Central America exports refugees continuously for 30 years, so does Cuba and Haiti and the Dominican Republic and… Nothing new to see here.

    By the way Chavistas speak, and proto Chavistas like Henry Falcon, I can see that paranoid self delusion of Venezuelan grandiosity may keep them up at night. But this is not a geopolitical problem, it is a psychiatric.

    Dictatorships must have some modicum of effectiveness in governing. Hyperinflation is the most salient symptom of their incompetence. So, yes, the solution is a military one, but not a kinetic action but instead the horrifying medieval siege, where disease and starvation collapses the king.

    • Correct. Little Kleptozuela and its cheap, heavy oil is nothing to the World, nothing to the USA. They have their own problems, plus hundreds of other nations to worry about. They are just politically correct, as always, with their bullshyt condemnation public declarations. As other nations’ political bureaucrats are. That’s all. They say shyt just because it sounds right, for Latino votes and popularity.

      If they must arrest some Narcos to fight the drug trade, they will, covertly, surgically, and quickly. That’s what the CIA, the FBI or Seal Team 6 do. Most of it we will never know about.

      Also, American presidents can’t do whatever they please. The White House or the Pentagon and the CIA are no Tropical Bodegas like Miraflores. There’s a check & Balances system. Congress rules. Before Trump takes a shyt in the morning, he must ask for permission and the approval of a several dozen people from both parties, and have the blessings of American public opinion.

      • Oh, of course not.

        If the U.S. doesn’t declare war, which DOES require the approval of congress, the President has a free hand in projecting military might around the world.

    • Well, there are certainly merits to your arguments.

      My main issue with them is that Venezuela is Cuba Part II, and that makes it a very different “story.” It’s unique, distinct, and “more important” to the U.S. than those other countries you mentioned. (And the oil doesn’t hurt either.)

      Let’s not also forget American popular opinion…or should I say votes…which dictate foreign policy in the U.S.? The Cuban ex-pat community is the greatest example ever (aside from the Jewish community) of voters electing local leaders who push national leaders to form certain policy. And with the Cuban diaspora on the Vez ex-pats side, this is also Part II.

      Senators Rubio and Menendez, amongst many congresspeople, have been all over this for a long time, and getting significant network airtime for it. (No easy feat nowadays.)

      In other words, this ain’t the DR. And by the way:

      I wonder how Zelaya is doing!?

      • Absolutely right, Ira, both above comments. Florida’s Electoral College votes for Trump, by the way, were/will be key to his presidential election chances. Venezuela, for U. S. geopolitical strategy, is NOT about narcotics/humanitarian injustice/massive emigration/even the trampling of democracy, although these will be used as excuses for justification of military action, if needed. Venezuela is about CASTRO-COMMUNIST SUBVERSION destabilizing neighbors/the Region, which, to stop/uproot in the mid-/longer-term, will be many times more costly/difficult than stopping/uprooting in the short-term.

  7. I have written before that I believe the Venezuelan military would soil themselves and run away in fear, if they believed an invasion was imminent.
    Nature abhors a vacuum.
    There has to be a civilian or coalition force that fills that vacuum.
    Mud needs to work with retired Generals and other authorities to create a credible plan for transition.
    A collapse of the Venezuelan government without anything to fill that void will leave the collectives roaming and terrorizing at will.
    The lights need to be kept on. Essential services must be provided.
    Order needs to be restored for aid to be distributed throughout the country.
    The corruption that is endemic throughout Venezuelan society creates an incredible challenge to an orderly transition.

  8. “The funny thing is that Trump is in a bizarrely strong position to put “Mad Man Theory” to work, BECAUSE HE GENUINELY IS KIND A KOOKY. A threat from him could genuinely destabilize the regime because, even though it’s diplomatically poisonous, people have come to expect Trump to do diplomatically poisonous things as a matter of course…”

    As Lorenzo noted in one of your earlier articles:

    “If I were a negotiator, I would appreciate having the Commander-in-Chief of the mightiest military force on my side, chomping at the bit. And if he were a little bit crazy and unpredictable, so much the better.”

  9. Trump has already bluffed. Twice. With economic sanctions and with military intervention. They did not move the regime an iota. The bluffs do not become more credible as they increase in number. Which is partly why his chicken hawk jabbering is so counterproductive.

    I suspect that a general might say that if you put troops and warships off the coast of a country and make a threat, you’d better be prepared to use them. And if using them is as you say, a really bad idea, then in a rational world, it’s back to square one.

    But before we place our last hopes in the gringos faking an invasion plan, I wonder this: How long can the regime hold up given its present and ever worsening financial situation?

    • “But before we place our last hopes in the gringos faking an invasion plan, I wonder this: How long can the regime hold up given its present and ever worsening financial situation?”

      Thirty, maybe 40 years, I figure. Cuba’s working on 60 years and they don’t have this country’s resources.

      • Cuba had the Soviet Union and Venezuela propping it up a good chunk of that time, as well as insane, counterproductive measures imposed by the gringos which sustained Castros legitimacy in the eyes of vast numbers of Cubans.

        Are people going to continue to extend credit to Maduro for much longer? And honest question…

        • Cuba also had the Canadians doing business with them to help keep them afloat, but that’s a topic for another thread.

          This regime is now going on 20 years and I, for one, don’t see any end in sight.

          PDVSA may be a dumpster fire, but the oil’s still there, and a lot of it. Maduro will have no problem handing over more and more of the country to the Chinese and Russians if that’s what it takes to keep him in power, and out of jail.

          So, in short, my answer is yes, I do believe certain countries will continue to extend credit to Maduro. He doesn’t care if his countrymen starve, in fact, many here believe that’s the actual plan. Tough to revolt on an empty belly.

          • Maduro might not care if his people starve, but I can assure you that the people pulling the strings know what fate awaits such an aloof attitude. The smart ones are always in the shadows, unnamed and unseen. If Maduro is found one day swinging from a lamp post, you can be assured that the puppet masters will be milling in the crowd, taking selfies with the gawkers.

            One thing I have learned in my mere 53 years of exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, is that the way to hurt people with power is to take that power away from them. And NOTHING creates/keeps power like a source of income. The only thing that Venezuela produces reliably these days is oil. The logical solution to Chavismo would be to cut off their ability to sell the one thing it can sell. This can be done diplomatically or… less than legally.

            I personally like the solution of the United States buying Venezuelan oil but paying for it in medical supplies or bulk food. This would placate the bed-wetters who insist that US sanctions would harm the people of Venezuela. (it actually wouldn’t placate the bed-wetters… they are bed wetters and they WANT/NEED to wet themselves). Maduro would of course refuse such a deal with the devil. How would he be able to keep his bond holders in loot, when Goldman Sachs and Russia doesn’t take arepas and aspirin for payment?

            Another course is to have any purchase of Venezuelan oil be contingent upon approval of the AN, not the ANC. This too, would make Maduro look the fool, as he and his puppet-masters have already made much noise about the ANC.

            There is no need for a US led invasion. An embargo would work just fine.

          • El Guapo, I’m of the view that a soulution would be a disruption in the export of oil, but that Venezuelans themselves are the ones with the means to do that, and should be the ones to do it, and if there is not the internal organization and support to do it, it’s not an effective strategy if imposed from outside anyway. In other words, I tend to think our hopes better rest with the civilians at PDVSA, or with Venezuelan dock workers or electricians, etc., than with the FANB.

          • “The smart ones are always in the shadows, unnamed and unseen. If Maduro is found one day swinging from a lamp post, you can be assured that the puppet masters will be milling in the crowd, taking selfies with the gawkers”

            That’s why the chaveco garbage hates so much the “escraches”, and that’s why they burned billions of dollars trying to clean their records such as wiping pages like reconocelos.com

  10. US intervention in Venezuela will look much more covert and sublime, less overt and sinister. It will take the form of sabotage of infrastructure that will cripple oil output. Possibly some “direct pressure” of key figures. Once the money runs out, you can expect the military to fold like a cheap suit.

    The citizens of the United States are tired of spilling their sons blood for idealism. Most countries are not as grateful for US military intervention these days. Iraq and Afghanistan, for example.

    If Venezuela wants freedom and liberty, they are going to have to seize it for themselves.

    • Yes. What many of us here are forgetting is that there are many devastating ways to hurt them, which don’t appear all that devastating and won’t raise the ire of worldwide opinion.

      In fact, cyber attacks are now considered military.

    • “If Venezuela wants freedom and liberty, they are going to have to seize it for themselves.” That’s what the U.S. would much prefer. You just laid out a future scenario for Venezuela, I think: even with the “institutionalized” corruption, if it is kept to minor levels, the economy can be reorganized along lines already laid out by Freddy Guevara. It will take some time, and there will be disagreements and delays and “man~ana” as usual, with more disorganization than in the prosperous years, less oil money flowing, but it can be accomplished,

  11. A well written piece that offers a rebuttal to the view that the US invading Venezuela would be like Panama. It’s clear from Veep Pence’s recent tour of Latin America that there’s little support in the region for a US led military invasion. And Trump’s ad-libbed threat has likely taken the ‘bluff’ strategy off the table. Trump is regrettably the best foil for the dictatorship in Venezuela. He fits well the uncle Sam hat and even wears it with pride. About the threat that some FANB general might feel from a US threat, I’m skeptical. The army top brass are all a bunch of sell outs, perhaps in the lower ranks there are some still left with some cojones. The threat of US warships firing missiles from afar seems a little far-fetched. As the writer points out it would be far too risky. The US is now committing more troops to Afghanistan which seems to continue the policy of priority given to the fight on terror and such.
    One scenario that might develop is some sort of conflict with neighboring Colombia that could result in some type of military intervention rooted in Latin America with US support. But even that’s a bit of a stretch. Approaching the issue of Venezuela by lobbying the Cuban’s like the Mexicans are doing might be one part of the puzzle. But there again you have Trump who appears to be rolling back what Obama was trying to do.
    The image of US war ships off the port of La Guaira is enticing. And the part about Cabello being caught as he feels in a speed boat would be something to behold.

  12. “Taking out FANB and leaving the regime to rely solely on armed civilians is taking the country out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

    Taking out the armed civilians who only have guns and bikes will be thousands of times easier than facing the army that has tanks, grenade launchers, shotguns, whales, bats, rhinos and even the option of carpet bombing cities ala Assad in Syria.

  13. “It’s important to realize that, in Venezuela’s case, the full-on invasion scenario is a fantasy”

    It is is a fantasy to believe that Venezuela’s Marxist dictatorship has a diplomatic, democratic or peaceful solution.

    Recommended reading from serious author on these subjects.
    The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
    by Eliot A. Cohen

  14. One theme I see repeated over and over on this site is that somehow if the armed forces collapse, then the streets would be left to the malandros and colectivos as “they have the guns”.

    Let me assure those who don’t already know, just about everyone here is armed. I can’t think of a single businessman I know who’s not armed, a single farmer, a single long-haul truck driver.

    The difference has always been that those who carry weapons legally (and many who carry them illegally) don’t rob and threaten others with their weapons, but they have them and will use them to protect themselves and their property.

    • The other part of that “the colectivos are worse than the fanb and sebin” often overlooks the fact that the army has a frekkin’ zoo of armored vehicles to literally crush protesters on the streets, while the thugs are:

      1- Worse armed than the army.

      2- Disposable and with built-in deniability, no one will mourn for a bunch of lynched malandros and call it a “coup”.

      chavista’s armed forces lost long ago any pretense of restraint and are being purged into becoming MPJ’s National Security MKII.

      Colectivos can defeat only UNARMED CIVILIANS.

  15. I don’t think any of us armchair generals are capable of predicting the future on this one. But I take my position that U.S. military action is possible based on the following:

    1) Trump doesn’t care about world opinion. These days, if he liberated the Nazi concentration camps, he would still be criticized for interfering.

    2) He’s not crazy, but is genuinely moved by the suffering, especially of children. This led to the airstrikes in Syria, after the chemical weapons attacks, and potential problems with Russia didn’t matter to him.

    He may LOOK a certain way to some, but there’s a heart there.

    3) This guy doesn’t play the domestic politics game, even with his own party. This idea that “The American political establishment and people won’t stand for it” has little to do with how he handles his duties.

    4) Some here think that because nothing has happened yet, it ain’t gonna happen. Very short sighted.

    5) It won’t happen at LaGuaira–why the hell do people think it would happen in a Normandy D-Day type scenario? And why the hell would they need an aircraft carrier?

    It will happen when, how and from where it’s not expected. And the regime won’t know what’s going on, what the enemy’s objectives are, and they’ll be running like chickens with their heads cut off.

    We could bomb the oilfields, minimal casualties that way, and much more effective than an embargo.

    6) Worries about Chinese and Russian reaction? Today, Trump sanctioned Chinese and Russian companies for doing any business with North Korea, and for these countries, that means the countries themselves.

    The Monroe Doctrine mentality is still pretty strong here…this is OUR neighborhood…and with China playing games in the North China Sea against the wishes of all neighboring countries, it’s “Fuck the Chinese and Russians” when it comes to the Western Hemisphere. They have zero military options here, and they’re not firing nukes to “save” Venezuela.

    —————————

    Unfortunately, the ripest moment to end this nightmare once and for all has passed. The people laid down like sheep during the last “vote,” and are STILL laying down.

    Widespread demonstrations during and after that day, with the horrible but inevitable injuries and loss of life, would have given Trump a plausible excuse to intervene, and that intervention could have been very limited in scope! That’s all that would have been needed, and instead of bolstering the anti-Imperialista charge…

    Maybe it would have encouraged the people to take their own country back by themselves.

  16. “How do you think you’re sleeping at night now, General? What do you think your WhatsApp group with other FANB Generals feels like now? How long until you start questioning your own revolutionary spirit as you start regretting all those pictures clapping fir Maduro? What, if it came down to it, would you really prefer, dealing with Maduro yourself, or facing a sustained U.S. air assault?”

    You can also extrapolate that to people like Ortega Diaz and the personal sanctions.

    In the end, if you are a Chavista mogul, you don’t want to live as Tiby is doing, sanctioned, stranded, isolated in a devastated land surrounded by people who hate her and her family — have you guys ever seen the security around Tiby’s house? It resembles Osama’s compound! –, that’s actually the definition of hell! A nouveau riche chavista arriviste is materialist to the bone and wants to live large showing off what they have now, that’s the meaning of life for them, especially because they resent a lot their past at the bottom of society, they will never overcome that, and they don’t want to be some sort of recluse now, because that would be going to the bottom again, in their eyes it would be their personal ruin. They want to live as rockstars! They NEED that. That’s the reason why they embraced Chavismo in the first place: to climb the social ladder.

    That’s what made la China ‘change sides’, and I promise you that she will end up in Florida with her family after her ‘via crucis’ ends, and uses it to fool the US government to apply for political asylum status.

    It wasn’t the sanctions per se that made she defect, but the THREAT of being sanctioned, the fear of becoming another stupid and stranded Tiby, who didn’t jump ship at the right moment, and is now with her family in an unstable place permeated by betrayal and conspiracy, and now with ‘military option’ being considered by the strongest army the world has ever seen, and nowhere to run when the time comes, and given the spiral out of control Venezuela is in, most likely it will come!

    • I didn’t know Ortega was called La China. But she’s an interesting example to watch in the future.

      Nazi bigwig Hess flew unauthorized to the U.K. to make peace, pretty early in the game too, and he still spent his entire life in prison.

  17. “have you guys ever seen the security around Tiby’s house? It resembles Osama’s compound!”

    This is good to hear.

    Doubt she’ll be headed to Houston anytime soon to get cancer treatment from the Great Satan. Perhaps the Cuban witch doctors can do the same magic they did on El Galatico.

  18. “Donald J. Trump is President of the United States and he has garnered among his followers a little band of potty mouthed opponents of Venezuelan populism with his anti-immigrant, anti-democratic, America-first rhetoric.”

    Speaking of followers, anyone else notice that it’s usually cannuck who brings Trump into the conversations?

  19. Meanwhile, Timochenko flew from CUBA to Bogota to form FARC’s new political party to compete in future elections in Colombia…. even tough people voted against the “peace” process.

    Again the Castro’s hands are all over the place.

    If/when they win elections, expect a copy paste of the Venezuelan process. Cubanization, one country at a time.

    • The FARC are despised by Colombians, FULL STOP. If any FARC candidate gets even remotely popular they will be exterminated ala Union Patriorica. Colombians have had/do have a front row seat to the devastation that socialist policies have had on Venezuela. Carlos Castano, if he were alive, would have a better chance at being elected to the Colombian presidency.

  20. A few random thoughts here:

    1. You don’t pull out your guns unless you’re willing to pull the trigger. It would be humiliating for Trump to say a carrier group is on the way, only to have to pull them back w/o firing a shot if a bluff does not cause a collapse

    2. That the regime will not leave w/o intervention is not the point. It must be shown why an intervention would be worth it to the US, given that we would be spending billions of dollars, taking casualties, causing collateral damage, going against global and regional opinion, possibly ending up in a quagmire, being on the hook for occupation/reconstruction, etc

    3. Post action public order question must be answered. US had over 250,000 troops occupying Iraq, land area 168,000 sq km. Venezuela: 354,000 sq km. How many troops would the US need to occupy Venezuela? For how long?

    4. From what I understand (I am open to being corrected on this point), at a popular level the current government has been thoroughly discredited…but sadly, chavismo itself has not. So it is possible that the US could intervene, take high-level criminal chavistas off to the Colorado Supermax, set up free, fair, and UN-monitored elections after a lengthy occupation…only to see a chavista candidate win the presidency. Sound impossible? Maybe. But I can see the pitch: “The bad, dirty chavistas are gone, thank God…but we cannot turn our backs on the historic legacy of our beloved comandante!! etc etc bla bla bla.”

    I hate this criminal regime too, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I just don’t see it. No local support from the oppo, no regional support, no global support, no US popular support, no politicians beating the drum for it…oh crap, did I just join Team Screwed??

    • “So it is possible that the US could intervene, take high-level criminal chavistas off to the Colorado Supermax, set up free, fair, and UN-monitored elections after a lengthy occupation…only to see a chavista candidate win the presidency. Sound impossible?”

      Not only not impossible, quite possible. Merely read the comments of authors of many of these stories and one can detect that there’s a belief that socialism can still work, if only done properly.

      Or as one poster said in another thread, and I paraphrase, they scream about ass-fisting socialism but then speak approvingly of ass-fingering socialism.

      Wouldn’t surprise me in the least that the first free and fair election after these bums are thrown out that chavista-light candidate would be elected.

  21. First of all, I don’ t think any strategy will work as long as we keep the same politicians in charge. They simply will not support any embargo, any military operation, or any social rebellion So we are losing our time here writing about this, while MUD is simply planning to go to regional elections.Going to elections right now means they don’ t want to overthrow Maduro, that they want no embargo, no US intervention, and no popular rebellion either, It is as simple as that. MUD does not want ANY solution to the problem. They invest in no alternative, and they do everything in their power to prevent anyone from doing anything. We were on the verge of defeating them, we just had to scalate the conflict. They chose to do the oppositte. They are corrupt, rotten.
    No alternative will work without the AN willing to form a new government Since they don’ t want to form government and there is no one else willing (and with the legitimacy)to do that, then it is not possible to simply overthrow Maduro. So, funny, we have the US willing to help us, and yet we don’ t want help. Como Chávez durante la tragedia de Vargas…
    Maduro would not resist any attack. His position is week. The only thing holding him is…the mediocrity and corruption of the opposition and its unwillingness to act.
    Los políticos prefieren que decenas de miles de venezolanos mueran, que el país colapse por completo, antes que renunciar a sus rentas y al sistema corrupto que le dio vida a sus mediocres carreras. No son capaces de liderar un movimiento de protestas hasta sus últimas consecuencias, ni de aceptar ayuda imprescindible de las potencias para derrocar a la dictadura. En cambio, prefieren ponerse del lado de la dictadura y mantener a la sociedad sometida indefinidamente Todas las condiciones para la salida de Maduro están dadas desde hace tiempo, lo único que hace falta es coraje y audacia.Organizarse de verdad y salir a la calle no para la foto, sino para llegar a Miraflores y forzar la renuncia, utilizando la única ventaja real que tenemos: que somos más. muchos más, en la calle. Lo que necesitamos es que salga a la calle el mayor número posible de gente y con la intención de forzar la renuncia de Maduro. Tenemos apoyo internacional y a la principal potencia militar de nuestro lado. ¿Preferimos morir en cámara lenta y en mayores números, que morir luchando por la libertad y acabar con el conflicto en poco tiempo? Yo preferiría una solución meramente electoral, pero no es posible y ya. La verdad duele. ¿Pero entonces vamos a rebajarnos al nivel de votar en las regionales y ser esclavos? ¿Hasta cuándo la ceguera?
    La acción militar de Estados Unidos es posible y necesaria, pero para que funcione necesita de nuestro apoyo.¿Acaso queremos ser libres o no?Si los políticos no quieren ver a Estados Unidos como un aliado y prefieren que la dictadura siga en el poder indefinidamente, no hay nada que hacer. Es evidente que quienes se rehúsan a ver a Trump como un posible aliado valioso, es porque o están alineados con la dictadura o son cretinos, porque cualquier otra solución dada la estupidez y la cobardía de nuestros líderes es inviable y suicida. Yo en lo particular prefiero la libertad a la esclavitud, no sé ustedes. Y aunque no estoy de acuerdo con Trump en muchas cosas, el otro camino, el camino que nos ofrece el Papa, el camino que nos ofrece la MUD, es mucho peor, es el camino de la miseria y la esclavitud La corrección política no va a sacar a Venezuela de la miseria en la que está.
    No hay que depender de Estados Unidos, pero hay que aceptar su ayuda y tomar las riendas de nuestra propia lucha por la independencia. No es lo mismo aceptar ayuda que dejarle todo el trabajo a los otros. ¿Pero acaso nuestros líderes realmente quieren salir de Maduro? Yo sé que la sociedad sí quiere, sé que la mayor parte de la sociedad está dispuesta a todo. La élite no quiere nada, excepto sus bonos y su droga y su mercado negro.

    • i, I agree with you. The MUD has abdicated its responsibility to its base/the nation–whether it’s to keep its leaders out of jail (like the TSJ 33 magistrates it appointed, most on the run/in exile/hiding), or to try to gain a few shoe-in governorships (Falcon-Lara), or out of sheer corruption.(HRA?). Even “Hora Cero” Guevara is questionable, abandoning the street/its 130 martyrs/ hundreds imprisoned/ thousands wounded, and with the EXQUISITE timing of validating the ANC/CNE/Smartmatic fraud. It’s all so disgusting/despicable, that one seriously wonders if Venezuela DESERVES saving (which it doesn’t), but it is WORTH saving, not for itself, but by geopolitical Hemispheric security necessity….

  22. Weve all heard it countless times before , the trolls customary MUD bashing as being on the se3cret pay of the Regime because all they care about is the money which they get for helping the regime stay on power , paranoia sold wholesale and on the cheap ……!! Is anyone still fooled by these rants !!

      • Who benefits from maliciously inventing a secret ‘payback’ plot between MuD Leaders and the regime so as to discredit the oppo leadership , …the regime ……if so who can still believe the author of those smearing conspiracy theories is not a regime paid troll ??

        • They discredit themselves with their actions.You know very well the situation will only get worse, and that whoever still supports MUD right now will have no reason to do so in the inmediate future. I don’ t understand what could possibly be the point of supporting MUD after the ANC was installed and the decision to participate in the regional elections was made. On the contrary, as long as MUD exists, all the other more healthy,pragmatic and realistic alternatives, are not viable. MUD is only supported by idiots and the corrupt. That is the truth. I feel sorry for the idiots, I think you really have to be trully desperate to support a corrupted institution that offers absolutely nothing. I mean, if a person is intelligent enough to realize how corrupt the PSUV is, they should also be able to realize that the MUD is no better. In fact, people understand that, but they are being forced to comply. That is what I am fighting against, because I understand that there is no way to beat the dictatorship until we beat our internal enemies first.

          As I said, it is so clear that the situation will get only worse, that I don’ t even see what´s the poinf of defending such a hopeless position as yours that will of course fall by its own weight. I mean, you get to call me a troll now and some may actually sill side with you, but the situation will continue scalating inevitably until people like you (blind MUD supporters) will be completely despised and even attacked, because what you deffend simply has no future, it is completely suicidal, it makes no sense. We just have to wait and see.Defending corrupt MUD may be still seem profitable for some, but it is not profitable in the long term. Hell, it is not even profitable in the short term.Sanctions will affect the oppo venny bond holders too.

          We can win if we manage to form an alternative to MUD and side with foreign powers. Maduro´s position is weak. The only thing saving him right now is MUD.

          • Things will get worse, lots worse , because the govt is incapable of doing anything to stop the country’s slide into the abyss, anyone fighting the govt deserves our support , the govt controls the institutional and public space using misinformation ( that includes a paid coterie of trolls) deceit , fraud and direct coercion, so there are limits to what the MUD can do to remain an openly militant effective opposition, blaming the Mud for not doing what it cant do is like blaming the victims of an assault for not disarming an armed assaulter …..In any event the Mud is formed of many different people united by their desire to rescue Venezuela from the regimes tyranycal rule and its just the tip of a huge iceberg of masses and groups and movements whose hatred of the govt finds expression in what it does to confront it , there is not one MUd but many Muds acting on many fronts under different names all joined in the same objective…… even if the tactics use vary and some are less publicly visible ……. , psuv trolls of course are bound to think that because they are corrupt everyone else is as corrupt as themselves , hence their favourite line of attack……!!

  23. Editors can this PLEASE be the very last article about this topic? American military intervention is a horrible idea and probably not going to happen. The real lesson should be that “loose lips sink ships.”

    As for this article I kind of have a hard time thinking that this will work. The FANB brass has basically acted like some kind of invasion for oil or CIA conspiracy is imminent for the last 15 years. That’s been the mindset of the 🇰🇵 and Cuban leadership for decades. Exactly what is supposed to happen? The USAF and Colombian Air Force will have some kind of joint drill and that will cause the FANB generals to defect to the MUD side? The FANB has been prepping for a decade and a half for a war with America (or any number of permutations with allies) at best the Pentagon’s plans are hypocritical and probably have less thought put into them than that war plan with Canada that the Americans had in the 1920s and 1930s.

    I don’t believe that the stick of war would get them to defect but what about a carrot?How about a transitional justice plan that lets the Cartel of the Suns to keep some proportion of their ill gotten gains, their freedom, and their pensions? In exchange they allocate to wrongdoing, stop any future activities, agree to repatriate all foreign assets (liquidate all real estate and sell any foreign securities) and pay some kind of fee on them to the treasury (maybe based on a sliding scale depending on the dollar value of the assets in question). It seems win-win to me. They can be patriotic and keep some of their profits while the country gets to recover some badly needed dollars.

    I know it would be great to see some of these guys put behind bars or sent to The Hague. But they have guns and we don’t. I kind of liken it to South Africa. A lot of those apartheid guys belonged in jail for how they ran their country. Ted, they were basically allowed to retain their freedom and many other privileges. In exchange, South Africa has stability. It’s not perfect, no democracy is. But, it’s not Zimbabwe.

    • “They can be patriotic and keep some of their profits while the country gets to recover some badly needed dollars.”

      Unless chavismo is destroyed as a political movement at its very core dogma: “The chavistas are pure saints filled with good intentions that have NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG EVER”, there will be the threat of them returning to power in the near future, destroying any progress that could be made to rebuild Venezuela.

      Also, why offering them anything like that when they can simply say “why do I have to accept that if there won’t be any consequences?”

      chavista heads are like malandros, the only language they understand is that of threats and violence, and the only way they’ll yield will be if tangible consequences for their crimes are being shown to them.

    • You’re asking that this be the last article about outside military intervention?

      Go hide in your closet if this possibility bothers you.

  24. What if the military threat came from the other LatAm countries without any military participation by the U.S.? The combined forces of Colombia and Brazil are more than capable of doing the job. The “Grupo de Lima” pointedly does not include the U.S. Oh, sure… they are there in an advisory role, but they are not included in the membership list. The military intervention (or threat of same) could come from most of the rest of LatAm, on the basis of the solid truth that Venezuela is destabilizing the region and because the regime is a criminal mafia who’s members are already under indictment for everything from trafficking in narcotics, to international corruption charges, to human rights violations. With the participation of the National Assembly, I am certain that the actions can be given international legality.

    If it is actually a bluff you are looking for, then this scenario and threat are far more credible.

  25. “The one, narrow opening we have for some sort of a soft landing involves FANB remaining cohesive as it pushes for a peaceful transition. It’s desperate, but that’s our best choice.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • TeamScrewed often says that the only choice that doesn’t involve killing the whole population of Venezuela is the nicaraguan trap, where chavistas will keep all the power.

  26. the flaw in the bluff theory is that the fat chavistas have nowhere to go, nor anything to gain from handing over any power, so they’ll likely going to fight to the last man, even if it’s not a bluff

    If there is a military solution it will have to be a internal civil war between fanb’s factions, blood has already been spilled and I believe more blood will have to be.

    • Uhhh…

      They can lose their lives. Or spend the rest of their lives in prison,

      And believe me, they all have plans in place on where to go.

  27. ¿Por qué todos se autocensuran? El asunto clave en este momento es que si la AN no quiere nombrar nuevos poderes y formar un gobierno de transición, no hay nada que hacer.
    Si no existe la voluntad de formar un nuevo gobierno, ni de conducir protestas masivas y organizadas con el fin de forzar la salida de Maduro, ni se apoyan sanciones y acciones de las potencias en contra de la dictadura, entonces no se puede hacer nada. El camino electoral, tal y como está planteado ahora mismo, no lleva a ningún lugar.

    Este es el único tema que importa ahora mismo, puesto que si no hay una fuerza política capaz de liderar la transición, entonces simplemente no habrá una transición y no habrá manera de sacar a la dictadura (y hay que ser un cretino para pensar que habrá elecciones justas después de la ANC). Ya sea una operación militar de Estados Unidos o de países vecinos, nada de eso puede funcionar si los mismos políticos de la oposición y especialmente los diputados de la AN no tienen la voluntad de formar un nuevo gobierno de transición.
    Entonces, en vez de perder el tiempo y especular sobre posibles operaciones militares, vale la pena comenzar por el principio y entender que hay factores internos de la oposición que son agentes de la dictadura, por tal o cual razón, y que no hay ninguna esperanza de formar un nuevo gobierno hasta que esos agentes sean derrotados. Es algo muy sencillo, y la autocensura de algunos, que son capaces de entender esto, pero que no quieren quedar mal con sus amigos cool y tenedores de bonos, juega a favor de la dictadura. No hay ninguna manera de salir de la dictadura hasta que no entendamos esto.

  28. To borrow an ancient slogan from the Bush 43 era politics…

    “No Blood for Oil”

    There is ZERO interest in the Americanos involvement in nationbuilding where they useless and pathetic population is completely incapable of even mounting a small resistance on their own.

    Has anyone stormed the capital yet? No, they are all waiting for CLAP bags.

    POTUS Donald Trump (still sounds like music to my ears) is not interested in starting another war with a country that poses ZERO threat to our livelyhood. There is simply no upside to throwing an already drowning economy into a total hell hole by levering military assets. In the air or on the ground.

    He is going to go after the things that hurt the dictator the most. Money… it works much easier and more quickly than nation building.

    But the original article is spot on in many areas. Just not where we put ships off shore and threaten an invasion. We called this the “Pottery Barn” Rule…you break it, you own it.

    If China and Russia want to help, they can pay for the oil a 2nd time and forgive loans. How are they not seen as “vulture capitalists”?

  29. A brief history of MAJOR Oppo mistakes, and evidence of why Venezuela cannot save itself: 1) 4/11/2002-Chavez massacres 60 or so of 1mm marchers to Miraflores, is rightly ousted by his own military, Oppo appoints Carmona, head of Fedecamaras, for Chrissake, with no broad public backing, as interim Pres., who, little-Napoleon style, dissolves Congress/Govt., and does NOT form a traditional Junta Civico Militar, causing the Military to throw his sorry ass/Oppo out, and restore massacre butcher Chavez; 2) 2004- After many delays, and with newly-introduced Smartmatic machines, with software programmed in Cuba, a Referendum on Chavez’s permanency is held, with the Oppo U.S. exit polling group giving a 60-40 win to oust Chavez, but the Smartmatic machines/Cuban software giving a 60-40 win to not oust Chavez; published in the largely still-free press of the time, were certain machine results showing random yes/no results up to, say, 200, then hundreds of consecutive uninterrupted pro-Chavez votes from then on; erstwhile Carter team goes to electoral machine warehouse to “audit” 1+% of the machine results, finds their software incompatible with the fixed-Cuban software, accepts the CNE’s audit software, and finds everything AOK (“best little election system in the world”, they say later -as, presumably, “donations” from Venezuela flow in to the Carter Center in Atlanta); 3) Caprles-Maduro Pres. Election-Capriles’s figures show him a winner, Maduro’s CNE says Maduro is a squeaker winner, Guevara/et. al. protesters are stopped from publicly street protesting to avoid a potential bloodbath, the CNE/TSJ subsequently do not allow the opening of 5m disputed ballot boxes which would show the fraud, and the Oppo once again loses; 4) 7/30/2015-The Oppo finally has proved to the world that the Regime is a Castro-Communist-Narco Dictatorship, maintained by CNE/Smartmatic electoral fraud, and, after 103 street dead/hundreds imprisoned/thousands wounded, and on the heels of a 7.6mm hugely successful anti-Govt. plebiscite, instead of calling for the promised Regime-ending Hora Cero final general strike, immediately goes running to Regime-called Regional elections with the same crooked CNE, thereby validating the crooked ANC (which then annulled the legitimate Oppo AN), the crooked CNE, and the crooked Regime.

  30. I find amusing about how people talk about all the lobbying that will prevent an intervention….when Trump’s Afghanistan speech was about isolating the US military from political control. And they will not reveal actions until they happen. And when the US decides to go all in, there’s nothing that Latin American goverments or China or Russia can do about it.

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