The Venezuela Crisis has become a major threat to the U.S., as militaries from Russia, Cuba, Iran, and China gather to support Nicolas Maduro and his regime. Will the U.S. military need to intervene? And what will happen to Juan Guaido?
Last year, Maduro won a another sham election. Those sham elections are why Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly, has declared himself interim president. He’s asking the people to help him topple the Maduro regime.
Who Supports Maduro?
Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, spent years getting support from countries like Russia, Cuba, China, and Iran.
Venezuela has one of the largest stockpiles of weapons in the western hemisphere. A lot of that came from Russia. In just two years, Venezuela got over $4 billion worth of Russian weaponry. The Venezuelan government is not transparent, so it’s difficult to know just how much and what Chavez and Maduro have bought. But it’s pretty serious stuff: anti-aircraft missiles, hundreds of thousands of rifles, and handheld surface-to-air missile launchers.
When Maduro’s grip on power started to look a bit shaky, Russia sent an estimated 100 troops and a military trainer into Venezuela. A popular Russian military journal warned that in the event of a civil war in Venezuela, Russia should help supply military intelligence and create military alliances with other socialist Latin American countries and “colectivos.” Russian military contractors have also been sent to protect Maduro.
Cuba has a long history of supporting socialist uprisings in Latin America. When Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela in 1999, Cuba was there to help with the transition, particularly the military transition. In 2004 Cuba began helping transform the Venezuelan military from largely NATO equipment to Russian. According to a report, Cuba began training Venezuelan troops to use new Russian guns as well as guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency operations.
The U.S. says it was more than just training. When Guaido recently failed to overthrow the Maduro regime, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a reason: the 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban security forces in Venezuela.
Cuba says there are no troops in Venezuela. But one former high ranking soldier in the Venezuelan military said the Cuban soldiers were dressed in civilian clothing. Cuban doctors said they were ordered to warn residents they’d be cut off from medical services if they did not vote for Maduro.
Maduro is deeply in debt to the Chinese Communist Party, and China is protecting their interests. China sold loads of weapons to Maduro’s riot police. There have also been reports of People’s Liberation Army troops in Venezuela, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.
Chavez originally established close ties to Iran. In fact, in 2007 Venezuela and Iran created the “axis of unity” against the U.S. In 2010, a Pentagon report claimed Iran’s elite fighting force was being deployed in Venezuela. This April, Iran’s foreign minister said Iran could send more of them to Venezuela. There’ve also been indications that Iran will send warships to Venezuela, which, according to an expert on Iran-Venezuela relations, is extremely dangerous.
It’s crazy to send three warships to the U.S. backyard. If it happens, Washington will send an aircraft carrier to the Venezuelan coast.
Press play to listen. What do you think? Please leave your comments below.