The Trump administration badly wants Nicholas Maduro out of power in Venezuela for for Juan Guaido to assume the presidency on an interim basis, but the failure of this week’s effort to turn the military against Maduro demonstrates why this effort will take time – if it happens at all.
On Tuesday, Guaido called for the nation to rise up against Maduro. Standing alongside some troops who switched their loyalty from Maduro, Guaido urged the military in particular to join his effort. Most did not, and Maduro remains in power.
“Obviously Guaido’s Operation Liberty did fizzle. The reality is that he doesn’t have the forces with the guns to go against the like of Maduro, who obviously has a very large army, a very well-armed and obedient armed forces,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a frequent writer and commentator on national security affairs.
If the military doesn’t turn on Maduro, Guaido would appear to be in limbo. And Maginnis says the U.S. is unlikely to come to his rescue militarily.
“Our national interests have not been articulated by the president and so I would be hesitant to endorse sending U.S. troops and U.S. forces into that vicinity to do what? Topple a government? Land in Caracas and take down the presidential palace?” asked Maginnis.
Maginnis says our best options remain economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, but with the likes of China, Russia, Cuba, and Iran all boosting Maduro, he’s not optimistic the misery in Venezuela will end anytime soon.
“Nobody has really articulated (a plan) and until such time as they do, and I know John Bolton is working feverishly with the National Security Council to figure out what they ought to do, I don’t know that we’re going to do much more than talk,” said Maginnis.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Maginnis assess reports that Russia already has nuclear weapons in Venezuela and identify which neighboring countries are more logical choices to intervene militarily in Venezuela.