Venezuela’s tyrannical, despotic, and corrupt “leader” – Nicholas Maduro – once again demonstrated his cancerous influence on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela this week, with his utter subversion of the will of the people. Despite his 20% approval rating, along with the mass starvation and lack of prosperity in his nation, Maduro is still in power – largely due to the backing of the Cubans, ex-Chavez officials in the government, and oligarchs who wish to fatten their own wallets. Under the facade of “socialism”, Maduro has transformed the Venezuelan nation into a hell on Earth.
The opposition, led by Juan Guaido, represents technological progress and populism. Guaido, head of the now powerless National Assembly, has inspired millions of Venezuelans to the streets. He faces against Maduro’s cronies and the Venezuelan military – a faction which is, for now, loyal to Maduro. Ultimately, the military holds the keys to power. If the military is with Maduro, protestors would be gunned down in the street and Venezuela would turn into a military junta. This is a horrible outcome of a horrible situation.
It is, however, likely that there are massive cracks within the military’s support for Maduro. Foot-soldiers and lower-ranking officers within the military likely oppose Maduro, but due to a combination of Cuban intelligence agents within the Venezuelan military, and well-paid superiors ordering loyalty to Maduro, are rendered unable to take down the Maduro regime. While sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil companies may be helpful, they will ultimately be ineffective in capturing the short-term energy provided by the numbers of the Venezuelan opposition. Instead, the military of Venezuela must be either incapacitated – rendered unable to stop a revolution – or even be turned.
A direct invasion would be a disaster. The only way to neutralize the Venezuelan military would involve American military force, in large quantities, applied to South America. The idea of American bombers flying over Carcaras and bombing military barracks does not aid the Venezuelan people’s idea of Juan Guaido or the United States. But the United States has allies in the region, and America has the most powerful military on Earth. The history of the American military is filled with massive humanitarian aid missions – Japan in 2011, Indonesia in 2004, Haiti in 2010 – and humanitarian issues are a huge problem in Venezuela. The United States must use this vast power to deploy aid to Venezuela – food, clean water, medicine, etc. Maduro will likely reject this aid, for fear of “foreign influence” in Venezuela. When he does this, he loses even more support from his military. Meanwhile, US troops in Brazil or Colombia escalate pressure on Venezuelan borders, forcing Maduro to open up his nation to feed and help his people. Either Maduro caves, humiliating him in front of the power of his people and allowing for American-administered aid to flow to Venezuela, or he is violently overthrown as his corruption and tyrannical instincts are revealed. This is a textbook usage of soft power – America and Guaido must win over the hearts and minds of the Venezuelan military before having the chance to bring Maduro to the Guillotine.
The back of the Maduro regime must be broken with the combined strength of the Venezuelan people, the American military, and American allies in South America. The Venezuelan military must be turned. America must deploy aid to Venezuela in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and strengthen Guaido’s image. After this is done, the Maduro regime will collapse in on itself – and justice can be served to a man who ruined a nation.