Update Venezuela: Will Maduro Prevent Food From Getting to his People?
All’s quiet on the Venezuelan, Colombian and Brazilian fronts (sort of), as the United States and others heed recognized Interim Venezuela President Juan Guaidó’s call for humanitarian assistance of foodstuffs and medicines. The supplies are being flown in and stockpiled in warehouses in Colombia, Brazil, and other undisclosed points outside of Venezuela, and have yet to reach those inside Venezuela who need it.
Past President Nicolas Maduro has refused entry of the aid, seeing it as a pretext to his ouster because of his illegitimacy to serve a second term. Guaidó has set February 23rd as the day that distribution begins, and he dares Maduro’s military to stop it.
There are currently thousands of Venezuelans recruited as volunteers to form a human distribution network on that day, from the borders to throughout the country, in conjunction with more mass protests. The logistics of the distribution are still unknown, but the political logistics are strong and well thought out:
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has identified six top Venezuelan military officers as key to turning the country’s armed forces away from Maduro all by themselves. As these six go, it’s argued, so goes most everyone else in uniform. He has announced in public, and God knows what he and U.S. officials have said to them in private, that the clock is ticking for them to make the right decision, a decision that will give them amnesty, possible visas to the destinations of their choice, and let them take their ill-gotten gains (money) with them.
Rubio rightfully argues that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and letting a few men escape justice in order to bring social justice to 30,000,000 Venezuelans is a deal worth making. However, he told them that this is a coupon with an expiration date, not redeemable one day past that date, and with February 23rd on the table, this makes for one interesting, upcoming scenario.
If the military doesn’t turn in Guaidó’s favor, violence at the borders seems inevitable, both at the two major Colombian crossings in the west (the Simon Bolivar International Bridge and the Tienditas Bridge), and the southern border crossing into Roraima, Brazil. Incidentally, the indigenous native peoples in southern Venezuela have vowed to fight the military if they try to stop the aid, and they have a track record of causing the military a lot of headaches.
If the aid is stopped and violence occurs, the U.S. is going in, one way or another. My prediction. First step might “just” be a U.S. naval blockade, though.
Remember that February 23rd date? Well, Guaidó is in close communication with the White House, and February 23rd took Venezuela off of Trump’s very full plate for now, allowing him to deal with the budget and avoid another shutdown, plus start his national emergency mechanism to get proper funding for the wall. In other words, Guaidó, in coordination with the White House, slowed down the timetable and immediate expectations, so as not to prematurely cause Trump any headaches before their time.
Granted, the logistics of setting up distribution for the aid takes time anyway, but I think it’s more than just a coincidence that we’re looking at this convenient timing between events taking place up here and the activity going on down there.
If the military does turn on Maduro and carries Guaidó on their shoulders to the presidential palace, all I can say is there are going to be a lot of Venezuelan soldiers getting real lucky with the ladies that night.
As for the Venezuelans themselves, I feel comfortable saying that it’s a 50/50 mix of sentiments amongst those who want Maduro gone, which I feel totally confident saying is the vast majority of the people. Half are trying to keep up hope that come February 23rd, events will force outside military intervention to come in and begin fixing this mess once and for all. The other half are downhearted and disgusted that this intervention hasn’t taken place yet.
So where, in my equation, does that leave those who want Maduro out, but don’t want to see outside military intervention?
As the past few years have unfolded, there are less and less of them. When your house is on fire, you don’t care who breaks down your door to bring in the garden house.