Hezbollah is in Venezuela to stay

Given the present instability in Venezuela, it’s fair to wonder what would happen with Hezbollah under a government led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who was recently recognized as the legitimate ruler of the country by the United States and dozens of other nations, including European heavyweights France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain.

A government led by Guaidó would almost certainly be more active in opposing Hezbollah’s presence on Venezuelan soil, not just nominally but in more aggressively seeking to curtail the group’s criminal network and, by extension, the influence of Iran. As part of a quid pro quo for its support, Washington would likely seek to lean on Guaidó to crack down on any Iran-linked activities throughout the region.

But there is a major difference between will and capability. And while a Guaidó-led government might initially demonstrate strong political will in countering Hezbollah and Iran—at least to appease the Trump administration—Venezuela as a country faces an immense challenge in attempting to rebuild its shattered society. Pushing back against Hezbollah may simply fall much lower on the list of priorities for Guaidó and his administration than the United States might like.