CNN and other US media report that Donald Trump and his administration
are actually preparing a change of government in Venezuela to restore US
influence in South America and liquidate the Russian and Chinese
bridgehead in the western hemisphere. According to sources in the Trump
administration, the White House regards official recognition of an
alternative Venezuelan government under the leadership of pro-American
opposition leader Juan Guaydo, the speaker of the Venezuelan parliament,
which is in tough conflict with President Maduro, as a key element of
the plan to bring the country under political and economic control. It
is easy to see that from recognizing an alternative government to direct
(including coercive) American participation in the change of power in
Caracas is not even one step, but literally a half-step. It should also
be borne in mind that the decision to intervene can be made by the US
President in the context of the continuing “shatdaun”, that is, the
political crisis associated with the termination of the work of most
federal bodies because of the impossibility of adopting the budget for
2019. Donald Trump needs a loud political victory, or at least some
important topic in the info field, which would distract attention from
the political crisis and the inability of Republicans and Democrats to
find a budget compromise so that millions of American state employees
still get their money. A small and victorious war (or a color
revolution) is a very good way to divert attention. In addition, the
transformation of Venezuela into an American colony will damage Russian
and Chinese interests, and this is an important bonus that will allow
Trump to once again demonstrate that he is not an ‘agent of the
Kremlin.’ Another pleasant reward is the Venezuelan oil production:
under the conditions of a successful coup, it can be quickly and cheaply
privatized, which bodes well for US oil companies that have numerous
and long-standing ties (as well as sponsorship) with the US Republican
Venezuela is now particularly vulnerable due to some political and economic reasons. The fact is that, despite Maduro’s victory in the presidential election, there is indeed a very serious opposition movement in the country and, in fact, a fully opposition parliament – the National Assembly, which does not recognize the results of the last election and, therefore, has support in Washington and is able to elect new president. Maduro recently held the inauguration, and some American analysts see the opposition’s demarches as a last chance to dislodge it.
Official statements by the US National Security Council do not inspire much optimism. Although the representative of the US National Security Council Garrett Markis abstained from recognizing alternative authority in Venezuela, he stressed that ‘the United States expressed its support for Juan Guaydo, who, as chairman of the democratically elected National Assembly, boldly declared his constitutional right to apply Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution and called for free and fair elections. The United States supports the National Assembly as the only legitimate democratic structure in Venezuela. ‘
In an amicable way, after such statements by American officials the most rational way of behavior for the Venezuelan authorities is immediate preparation for the next move to be made on the streets of Caracas. The scenario with intervention only at first glance seems fantastic – in August 2017, the Trump administration discussed the possibility of a military attack on Venezuela, and, according to US media reports, only the resistance of Trump’s closest advisers (some of which have already left the administration) ensured the preservation of peace. Feeling the aggravation of political instability in the country and a sharp deterioration in the economic situation, Trump may well realize this long-standing idea.
However, the main problem of the legitimate Venezuelan authorities is not connected with the Americans, although this factor is really a serious risk for Venezuelan independence and for Russian interests in the country, which include loans, the joint exploitation of oil resources, as well as the sale of weapons and other forms of military cooperation.
The main problem is the terrible economic condition of Venezuela itself, in which its current leadership is largely to blame. An attempt to achieve social justice with the help of a printing press, as well as to stimulate economic development by pumping money, led to hyperinflation of 1,700,000%, the flight of millions of Venezuelans from the country, the total deficit and even the need to pay bonuses to the police in the form of toilet rolls.
The fact that under such economic conditions we managed to avoid the color revolution is actually a miracle that can only be explained by the decisive actions of the Maduro administration and the fact that a significant part of Venezuelans suspect that the change of power in pro-American puppets is unlikely to bring them prosperity.
A few months ago, the Venezuelan authorities turned to Russia for help: the Maduro administration wanted to get recommendations on how to bring the country’s economy out of crisis, and even wanted a Russian financial consultant to work in Caracas on an ongoing basis.
A few days ago, it became known that Russia offered Venezuela an informal plan for improving the country’s economy and is waiting for a reaction. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said: “We made a proposal to them (Venezuela. – Ed.). Informal. Because traditionally, after such consultations, a draft conclusion is being prepared and the partners react to this project. Ultimately, this should be a product agreed and consultants, and the recipient of assistance. Otherwise, it is all meaningless. Why should we recommend to someone, knowing that this does not suit him. ‘
It remains to hope that Caracas will listen to advice from Moscow, even if it may seem difficult to implement. The risk of losing the country is too high, and the time is too short to be limited to half measures. If everything goes well, both Russian and Venezuelan interests will remain safe and sound, and the Americans will have to continue to put up with the fact that they have a ‘backyard’ country that does not want to obey Washington.