Socialist Power Struggle

PUBLISHED: 6:58 PM 24 Jan 2019

Venezuela Has Two Presidents? US Rejects Russia, Recognizes Opposition

President Nicolás Maduro, who many have called a dictator, is facing serious challenges to his power after the U.S. and other nations recognized Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, as Venezuela’s president.

Nicolas Maduro is facing strong opposition to his reign, and his rule of power may be on the chopping block.

Despite the fact that Russia is warning the U.S. and other countries not to support the interim opposition leader, Juan Guaido, President Trump recognized Guaido, not Nicolas Maduro, as Venezuela’s president and other countries followed his lead.

Apparently, the president forgot he’s supposed to be a ‘puppet’ for Putin. The U.S. and other country’s support has essentially delegitimized the socialist ‘dictator,’ so he responded by announcing a break in “diplomatic and political relations” and ordering American diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours.

However, that’s apparently not going to happen.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo implied the administration would not heed Maduro’s demand these diplomats be removed, and called on the Venezuelan armed forces to refrain from endangering American personnel or face “appropriate actions.”

“The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela,” yesterday’s statement said. “Accordingly the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.”

Earlier in the day, Trump was asked if military force was being considered. “We’re not considering anything, but all options on the table,” he said. “All options, always, all options are on the table.”

According to reports, over the last two years, Russia has poured tens of billions of dollars into Venezuelan oil assets, spending billions more to prop up Maduro in the process.

Observers argue “that the advancing Russian hegemony into the South American nation is a major reason why the Trump Administration is hoping to depose Maduro and replace him with a leader who plans to restore the democracy and freedoms Venezuelan citizens formerly enjoyed.”

The administration is serious.

“Reports late in the day had Venezuelan troops loyal to Maduro shooting at some of the millions of citizens who took to the streets in support of Guaido. It’s easy to shoot and kill innocent people who stupidly allowed themselves to be disarmed by the country’s previous socialist thug, Hugo Chavez.

“It’s much harder and more futile to fire back at U.S. Marines backed up by American air cover and gunships.”

The situation in Venezuela is as bad as it can be. Corrupt socialism (the only thing that happens in a socialist government, which becomes a dictatorship—just as the Germans in the late 1930’s) has created squalid conditions, starving people, and horrific unrest.

Maduro’s actions are tyrannical.

“As the international campaign against him grew, Maduro, the anointed successor of the late socialist firebrand Hugo Chávez, was confronting a new opponent in the form of Guaidó. Before a cheering throng on Wednesday, the 35-year-old industrial engineer and recently named head of the country’s National Assembly invoked the constitution to declare himself the nation’s ‘president in charge.’”

“We will stay on the street until Venezuela is liberated!” Guaidó told the crowd.

“The developments came as anti-Maduro protests drew hundreds of thousands of people into Venezuelan streets. After months of mounting U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, the move by the Trump administration to shift recognition to Guaidó amounted to the strongest statement so far against what it called a ‘disastrous dictatorship.’”

In a statement, the president called on other governments to follow the United States’ move, and many did.

“The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” Trump wrote. “I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.”

“Shortly afterward, 11 countries in the Lima Group, which was created in 2017 to deal with the Venezuela issue, signed a resolution backing Guaidó as president, and the European Council and Parliament both backed the National Assembly but fell short of recognizing Guaidó as interim president. Mexico, Russia and Cuba, however, reiterated their recognition of Maduro.”

“This changes the game in Venezuela,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society. “It’s an inflection point that turns the Maduro regime into an international pariah and gives an immediate boost to Guaidó’s claims under the Venezuelan constitution. But it is not without risk, either by Guaidó or the Trump administration. Maduro will never accede to this course or willingly give up power, and Guaidó’s actions will not give Maduro the option to ignore him.”

“Maduro’s claim to power is based on an election last year that was internationally condemned as a fraudulent power grab. Mismanagement, corruption and failed socialist policies have broken the oil-producing nation, spreading hyperinflation, hunger and disease. The government has used repression, torture and exile to keep dissidents in line.

“Though stripped of its power by Maduro, the National Assembly, headed by Guaidó, is widely acknowledged internationally as Venezuela’s last democratic institution.

“Guaidó still faces a formidable security apparatus at Maduro’s disposal, and experts warned that Maduro could yet survive this challenge, as he has others in the past.

“The military’s loyalty remains key to Maduro’s survival. A U.S. intelligence official told The Washington Post this month that Maduro’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, has privately told Maduro that he should step aside.

“On Wednesday, Padrino Lopez tweeted his rejection of Guaidó’s claim to the presidency, but he noticeably did not reiterate his backing of Maduro. He called a news conference for 10 a.m. Thursday to make “an official announcement.”

“Desperation and intolerance are attacking this Nation’s peace,” he said in the tweet. “The soldiers of this nation won’t accept a president imposed in the shadows or self-proclaimed unlawfully. The National Armed Forces defend the constitution and guarantees national sovereignty.”

“Thousands of police and military rank and file have deserted their posts, but outward signs of division within the military have been limited.

“Nevertheless, there are growing indications of cracks. On Monday, dozens of Venezuelan National Guard personnel stole arms from two Caracas units, kidnapped four officials and recorded themselves in a northern slum urging people to join them in rebellion. The videos circulated on social media, but shortly afterward, the government announced the arrests of 27 dissenting officials.

“That same day, hundreds of residents took to the streets as protests broke out in western slums across Caracas in the afternoon, continuing well past midnight.

“The demonstrations led some observers to suggest that the poorest sectors of the capital could join the opposition’s traditional upper-class base in Wednesday’s protests – something that has rarely happened in the past.”

“I’m tired,” said Gladys Ibarra, a 40-year-old informal merchant who was protesting in a northwestern Caracas slum. “I’m tired of not having water, energy. Tired of waking up at dawn trying to find gas to cook.”

For the sake of the people starving and dying in a nation that is rich with natural resources, many people are praying Maduro is completely deposed.