[Venezuela] smells like stalemate/stagnation

Subject: [Venezuela] smells like stalemate/stagnation
From: newsbeanie@dictatorshandbook.net (NewsBeanie)
Newsgroups: dictator.america
Organization: solani.org
Date: Feb 16 2019 20:26:52
Title: A Grim Reminder that We Are Far from Done
Author: Juan Carlos Gabaldón
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2019 07:34:45 -0500
Link: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/02/16/a-grim-reminder-that-we-are-far-from-done/

Photo: Bloomberg retrieved[1]

Bloomberg’s Andrew Rosati and Ethan Bronner bring on the depressing read of the
week[1]. In their latest text, they dig into an uncomfortable feeling that
although not widely perceived, has already started to mess with many
Venezuelans’ nerves:The vertiginous transition process started by Juan Guaidó
on January 10th, now feels stagnated.

After January 23rd, when Guaidó took an oath as the Caretaker President of
Venezuela in defiance of Maduro’s usurpation, dozens of countries quickly
recognised the National Assembly—and therefore him—as the sole legitimate
authorities of the Venezuelan state. Several calls for the military to back the
new president have been made since then, with the United States pressuring,
while offering amnesty for those in olive who decide to turn their backs on
Maduro. So far, this vital step toward transition, hasn’t happened.

“In a country with more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only one top
officer—who commands no troops—has pledged allegiance to Guaidó. So have two
colonels (a physician and a military attache in Washington). Guaidó has said
that he has privately been in touch with other officers and that more will
follow. He doubtless is, and perhaps they will.”

The vertiginous transition process started by Juan Guaidó on January 10th,
now feels stagnated.

The article quotes Gabriel Silva, former Colombian Ambassador to the United
States and a critic of Iván Duque’s administration, according to whom “the
reality is that that process has stagnated and is not moving forward. Every day
that goes by is a day that Maduro gets stronger and stronger.”

I’m far from thinking that Maduro’s reign is done. But as a Venezuelan who has
lived most of the country’s latest protest cycles first-hand, it’s hard for me
to see how an economically and politically isolated government, recently
plagued by formerly uncommon PR disasters[2], is getting stronger by the day.

At this point, I consider that waiting for the Armed Forces’ High Command, or
even influential generals, to record themselves in videos vowing to defend
democracy and reject the dictatorship isn’t the best thing to do. Yes, as long
as Maduro controls the Armed Forces he will effectively hold power, but the
fact that dozens of generals haven’t publicly supported Guaidó doesn’t
necessarily mean they all are under Maduro’s control. Especially when, as the
article claims “The Venezuelan Armed Forces are one of the most spied on
institutions in the world.”

Actually, the fact that recent massive protests haven’t been met with the
massive repression seen in 2014 and 2017, as well as Maduro’s growing
dependence in FAES (a branch of the police) and—according to the commander of
the U.S. South Command [3]— to foreign military forces, suggests his confidence
in the Venezuelan military, at least its rank and file, isn’t the same that it
used to be a few years back.

As Rosati and Bronner point out, alternative markets and even drug money will
surely make it easier for those better connected with the ruling clique to surf
the impact of the most recent U.S. economic sanctions on the Venezuelan oil

Alternative markets and even drug money will surely make it easier for those
better connected with the ruling clique to surf the impact of the most recent
U.S. economic sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry.

“The conviction that an oil embargo will force the leadership’s hand is
challenged by other sources of income. Russia and China[4] remain allies and
oil clients. Venezuela says it will double[5] its crude exports to India. And
hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal drug[6] money make their way into
the bank accounts of the country’s leaders, according to the U.S.”

But can this money protect the government against the likely collapse of the
state’s institutions when the most dramatic effects of the sanctions hit the
country? Can the government survive a new massive wave of unrest, propelled by
a nation-wide fuel crisis (that would effectively halt most of Venezuela’s
already decimated economy and public services), without soldiers fully
compromised to the bolivarian cause?

Maybe it can, but it’ll undoubtedly be a complicated situation.

Perhaps the most worrisome bit in the article, is that it reveals flaws in the
logistics behind the planned delivery of the humanitarian aid stored in Cúcuta,
expected to be brought into Venezuela on February 23rd.

“The U.S. said it was paying for the aid but wanted Colombia to find trucks and
drivers to move it in. The Colombians said no one would accept the mission
because the Venezuelan military would arrest them. The aid remains in
warehouses near the border.”

At this point everyone seems to accept the fact that the humanitarian aid entry
is a policy primarily designed to furtherly stress the Armed Forces. The
reluctance of Colombian truckers is perfectly understandable, and suggests the
aid will somehow be pushed across the border, leaving the ball on the
Venezuelan military’s court, to see how far they will go to stop its entry. A
standoff that could easily get out of control, but that seems unavoidable at
this point.

Bloomberg’s piece is a somewhat overly depressing yet needed reminder that
there’s still a lot to do before we can cross out “end of usurpation” from our
democratic to-do list. But so far, I share Senator Marco Rubio’s[7] and Nina
Rancel’s view[8]. In just three weeks, we’ve taken huge steps in the right

There’s a long road ahead, but also plenty of reasons to remain responsibly
optimistic about it.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan
journalism by making a donation.Donate with Card[9]Donate with Crypto[10]

The post A Grim Reminder that We Are Far from Done[11] appeared first on
Caracas Chronicles[12].

[1]: https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-02-13/with-cocaine-flowing-push-to-pry-generals-from-maduro-hits-snag?__twitter_impression=true (link)
[2]: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/02/07/how-chavismo-stopped-connecting/ (link)
[3]: https://twitter.com/ElPitazoTV/status/1093894796236767232?s=20 (link)
[4]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/terminal/PMS55G6VDKHT (link)
[5]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-11/venezuela-oil-czar-courts-india-after-20-billion-hit-from-u-s (link)
[6]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-12-08/why-witnesses-to-venezuela-s-catastrophic-corruption-keep-turning-up-in-the-u-s (link)
[7]: https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/1095797340315766785?s=20 (link)
[8]: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/02/09/ninas-vamosbien-o-meter-vol-1/ (link)
[9]: https://donorbox.org/one-time-donation/ (link)
[10]: https://commerce.coinbase.com/checkout/9fb27fb0-4dd6-4444-b290-53425bbd910e (link)
[11]: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/02/16/a-grim-reminder-that-we-are-far-from-done/ (link)
[12]: https://www.caracaschronicles.com (link)

Date Subject  Author
16.02. * [Venezuela] smells like stalemate/stagnationNewsBeanie
17.02. `- Re: [Venezuela] smells like stalemate/stagnationJAB

This forum property of The Dictator's Handbook. Please read our charter.