14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 30 March 2019 — The United States will not intervene militarily in Venezuela. It is one thing to threaten and something very different to disembark troops. The country would have to feel itself in danger and that is not the case today. It has been brilliantly explained by Professor Frank Mora, former Assistant Secretary of Defense of the Western Hemisphere in the Obama Administration. Even several well-informed analysts like Andrés Oppenheimer and Jorge Riopedre have described it, with regret.
In 1965 the United States intervened in the Dominican Republic, in the midst of a battle between the factions of the left and the right, because President Johnson, within the framework of the Cold War, wanted to prevent the emergence of a second Cuba in the Caribbean. The first one had given him quite a lot of headaches. Johnson lived and died convinced that Fidel Castro had killed Kennedy and had made him president. Finally, he managed to build an operation with other countries of the Organization of American States (OAS). The most ferocious were the Brazilian soldiers.
In 1983 it was the turn of the small Caribbean island of Granada. Reagan took advantage of an absurd and bloody coup by Bernard Coard and General Hudson Austin against Maurice Bishop. It was an ultra communist coup against the man from Havana. They shot Bishop along with nine of his close associates, including his lover. Washington’s pretext to intervene was the protection of a few hundred American students who were pursuing their medical studies there. They packaged the operation with the request of two other Caribbean islands.
In December of 1989, Bush (father) invaded Panama. General Noriega, the country’s strongman, was insane. He trusted that his previous services to the CIA would protect him. It was said then that Noriega “was not bought.” He was rented for short periods to the highest bidder. His supporters had killed an American soldier and raped an officer’s wife with total impunity.
Bush’s dilemma was to abandon Panama, even the famous bases, or to intervene. He decided on the second and did not even stop to look for a pretext or add allies. It was a narco-dictatorship and that was enough. Until 72 hours before the invasion began they tried to convince the general to leave for Spain with his fortune (200 million dollars) and avoid the invasion. Noriega did not believe them and died in prison almost three decades later.
Nicolás Maduro provokes the biggest rejection. For now, it is about liquidating him using sanctions and psychological warfare. Donald Trump repeats, as a mantra, that “all” options are on the table. That includes frontal warfare, but logic and observation indicate otherwise.
Trump is an isolationist. He is a cold “businessman.” He does not believe that the United States is the leader of the West, with the associated special responsibilities that entails. He is not the only one who thinks that way. Kissinger, in his own way, believes the same. Trump presides over a nation with interests, essentially economic. This vision leads him to confront the issue of tariffs with his allies in Europe, Canada and Mexico, and to belittle NATO, the quintessence of the “globalism” that mortifies him so much.
He would like Venezuela to behave democratically and sensibly. That is why he supports Juan Guaidó and receives his wife, Fabiana Rosales, in the White House, but barely shifts from sanctions and political and diplomatic support to an open war to evict Maduro and his 40 thieves from power.
Destroying Venezuela’s military apparatus is easy. It would take a few hours for a nation like the United States to do it from the air and sea with conventional weapons. It has the necessary arsenal and bank account. But occupying a large nation (three times the size of Germany), confronting armed gangs, holding elections and creating a police force capable of sustaining authority is a task that can last a couple of years and Trump is not willing to carry it out.
However, no informed person has any doubt that Maduro and his gang have created a narco-state, allied with Iran and the terrorists of the Middle East, led by Cuba and militarily assisted by Russia. And this narco-state constitutes a grave danger to its neighbors and, in the medium term, to the United States, especially since Moscow has made an appearance in the conflict with a hundred military personnel and abundant weapons.
If sanctions and psychological warfare do not achieve their purpose, it is best to divide the functions. The United States would destroy the military installations of the narco-state and with its missiles and drones would make the heads of the chiefs roll. After the demolition, the most affected countries of the Lima Group would enter, led by Brazil and Colombia, but with the help of Chile, Argentina, Peru and Paraguay. They would occupy the territory, invoking the democratic clause, and organize the conditions for the return to democracy and the restoration of the economy under the direction of Luis Almagro and the participation of the OAS.
This harsh outcome is against the scant Latin American tradition of forging an active foreign policy, although there is “the duty to protect” invoked by the former diplomat Diego Arria. If the Spanish-American democracies do not do so, surely the incapacity of the Maduro regime will provoke a terrible famine in which two or three million people will die, presumably children and destitute old people.
In any case, it is the minimum instinct of conservation that nations must have. There is the danger that fragile countries in the area will explode as a result of the “demographic bomb.” Between seven and ten million Venezuelans will soon leave the country, almost all heading to Latin America. Quite simply, South American democracies can not coexist with a gang of thugs in the neighborhood. They have to eradicate it because that life could be theirs.
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.