Venezuela Close To Getting Rid Of Maduro?
Venezuela Close To Getting Rid Of Maduro?
If this Associated Press exclusive is to be believed, Venezuela might be on the edge of finally getting Nicolás Maduro out of power. This would be huge, but the key words are “if” and “might.”
The Trump administration put new sanctions on Venezuela in hopes of getting Maduro to move on, and this is definitely going to hurt. President Trump would reportedly like to push it further with a military blockade, but has no interest in committing American forces on the ground in Venezuela. The U.S.-recognized government of Juan Guaidó says that it recognizes that it will take the people of Venezuela demanding change, not international force.
The AP is reporting that the United States has been in talks with Diosdado Cabello, who is a socialist party boss within Venezuela with allegedly enough leverage to get Maduro to step down. As we have written about before, every time Maduro gets close to leaving, and Guaidó looks poised to finally lead the country (as the Venezuelan courts say he should), something always happens to maintain the stalemate.
As Venezuela’s crisis grinds on, a predictable pattern has emerged where Juan Guaidó, who the U.S. and dozens of other countries recognize as Venezuela’s rightful leader, has been unable to woo the military and take power but Maduro lacks enough strength to apprehend his rival or rescue the collapsed economy amid ever-tightening U.S. sanctions. This month, the U.S. slapped a new round of sanctions that seizes all of the Maduro government’s assets in the U.S. and threatens to punish companies from third countries that continue to do business with him.
Now, Guaidó is not exactly a protester from Hong Kong, waving an American flag. He is a social democrat and a leftist, but not a flat-out socialist in the mold of Hugo Chavez and Maduro. And while he has been recognized internationally as Venezuela’s rightful interim president, Maduro still sits in the seat of power, unable to squash Guaidó, but with enough force behind him to stay in place. Enter the talks with Cabello, who reportedly wants guarantees that the Maduro inner circle will be able to “escape retribution” if they manage to get Maduro out of power.
To break the stalemate, some conspirators are looking to the U.S. to devise a plan to protect government insiders who turn against Maduro from future prosecution. The U.S. has repeatedly said it would offer top socialists relief from sanctions if they take “concrete and meaningful actions” to end Maduro’s rule. In May, it quickly lifted sanctions against Maduro’s former spy chief, Gen. Manuel Cristopher Figuera, after he defected during a failed military uprising.”
As head of the constitutional assembly, Cabello has the power to remove Maduro, a position that could come in handy in any negotiated transition. But to date he’s run the institution, which the U.S. considers illegitimate, as a rubber-stamping foil to the opposition-controlled congress, showing no signs of possible deception.”
Cabello is not a good guy. We are talking about a deal with someone bad, to remove someone worse, to allow someone marginally better to take control of Venezuela. Welcome to international politics. There isn’t going to be a knight in shining armor that Venezuela is going to be able to rally behind who will automatically make everything better. Even with Maduro gone, the socialist party would still have enough power to influence a future election. Guaidó would need a whole lot of those same socialists to cooperate with him in order to even get the government to work. Russia is still invested in Maduro, and in Venezuela’s military, and Venezuela owes Russia a whole lot of money for that military hardware.
Will these negotiations with Cabello help get Maduro out of power? They might, but the issues Venezuela faces are a whole lot bigger than just one dictator. It would be great if the whole of the socialist regime could be swept away, but that isn’t going to happen. Right now, it seems like the United States is willing to make a deal with the lesser of two evils in order to force some kind of change to the status quo.