Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Venezuela Update # 14

Creating a Climate for Greater Conflict

The April 1 press conference at the White House was disturbing.
The first part of it focused on a military mobilization to stop cartels from using the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to send massive amounts of drugs to the US.

I wondered whether President Trump is attempting to use Covid-19 as cover for a Noriega style invasion of Venezuela.  Or whether the Administration believes that a war would take attention from the frightful domestic death toll from the virus.

The announced military mobilization is an odd response to purported cartel escalation (as though they aren't equally preoccupied and weakened by illness).

Part of the build up is the questionable well publicized indictment on drug charges of President Maduro et al and the phony political compromise Pompeo announced a couple of days ago.  It was advertised as an inducement for the military to finally turn against Maduro, but the proposed interim government would be a completely one-sided creation by Guaido and the opposition. 

It appears Pompeo and Abrams (and Claver-Carone?) are making the same mistake they have from the beginning, thinking that the Venezuelan military will accept a US sponsored regime.

If they pursue this course militarily, we will tragically discover that Venezuela is not Panama.

When I circulated a version of the above,  two friends who know Washington and the security apparatus better than I responded to my analysis in this way:

1)  "I think you’re right, except the idea of a boots-on-the-ground invasion.  With COVID, no one’s going to enter that country.  But some kind of stand-off military action is not beyond the pale for these people.  The Trump people have tried, and failed, to effect three coups so far.  Maybe number four will be the charm.  With SouthCom sending ships down there, interference in oil shipments may be in the cards.

The indictment was, as you say, a complete fake." 

2)  "Just a repackaging of old one-sided ideas that are almost certain to fail as they have so far.  I see virtually no chance these days of a US military invasion.  I think it would backfire badly.  However, these people are capable of almost anything, and they are clearly grasping for a way to turn a failed policy into something positive."


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