National Security Adviser John Bolton is painting a bit of a rosier picture of whatever is going on in Venezuela. He told ABC’s This Week the opposition is starting to win because Interim National Assembly President Juan Guaidó isn’t under arrest.
And I think one reason for that is that [Dictator in Chief Nicolas] Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed. The fact is, and the media don’t know it because people don’t talk about this, there are countless conversations going on between members of the National Assembly and members of the military in Venezuela; talking about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition.
They’re not going to broadcast that…
It’s interesting Bolton decided to publicly say the National Assembly and military are talking because it strikes me as the kind of thing which should remain secret. One would think Maduro would start some sort of purge to remove any possible hint of opposition within the military. Of course, he’s got bigger things on his mind with the fact most of Venezuela is in darkness with apparently no end in sight.
Bolton may feel emboldened to declare Guaidó is starting to come out on top because of the protests and power outages – which now both have body counts. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday at least 15 people are dead because of the blackout and there’s fear thousands more will die.
Francisco Valencia, director of Caracas-based health-sector watchdog Codevida, said 15 dialysis patients have died as a result of the blackout and some 10,000 more were at risk if they continue without treatment. Some patients, who require three treatments a week, will have gone five days without dialysis, dangerously increasing the level of toxins in their body.
Venezuelans say the past few days are the most difficult they remember. Point-of-sale terminals for debit cards, which are crucial for the most basic transactions, aren’t working in a country hammered by hyperinflation and lack of hard cash.
Food is rotting as restaurants and supermarkets have shut their doors. Police prevented a looting attempt at a food market in eastern Caracas on Saturday. Residents of the upscale Chacao municipality blocked streets on Sunday in an antigovernment protest.
The situation in Venezuela is emboldening more and more people to call for military intervention of some kind to oust Maduro. Former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma has been tweeting non-stop over the last couple days for Guaidó to formally request the UN come in and clean up the mess.
[F]ormally request humanitarian intervention, apply R2P concept, request in the National Assembly apply Art 187 # 11 CN. To stop extermination, genocide and destruction of what is left of the country. Before it’s too late.
The R2P concept was used by NATO to oust Muammar Gadafi from Libya in 2011.
Guaidó and the National Assembly are expected to vote on a declaration of a national emergency tomorrow. The declaration involves article 338 of the Venezuela Constitution, but Guaidó is being pressed about using another part of the Constitution to bring foreign military into Venezuela. Via Reuters.
At the opposition rally, Guaido said he would not invoke an article of the Venezuelan constitution allowing the congress to authorize foreign military operations within Venezuela “until we have to.”
“Article 187 when the time comes,” Guaido said. “We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else.”
Trump has said that a “military option” is on the table with regard to Venezuela…
Here’s specifically what Article 187 declares:
(11) To authorize the operation of Venezuelan military missions abroad or foreign military missions within the country.
Monday could end up being a big day in Venezuela, especially should the National Assembly formally request someone from the outside come in to take over. It is still wise for the U.S. and NATO to stay out of Venezuela and not start any sort of military operation.