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  1. #1
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    The Perils of a Putsch in Venezuela

    Encouraging a coup in Caracas will give Russia and China a foothold in the United States’ backyard.

    BY BRIAN FONSECA | MAY 4, 2018, 12:20 PM



    In recent months, high-ranking U.S. officials have been signaling to Venezuelan military leaders that they have Washington’s blessing to take the reins in Caracas. In a February speech ahead of his trip to Latin America, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.”

    Others have been blunter. Just a few days after Tillerson’s remarks, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) took to Twitter to say that the world “would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.” And earlier this week, in a speech at Florida International University, Juan Cruz, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special assistant and senior director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council, urged “the military to respect the oath they took to perform their functions.”

    Giving the green light for a military coup is not only bad for America’s image; it is also a threat to U.S. strategic interests. That’s because encouraging a putsch in Venezuela could backfire and end up increasing Russian and Chinese influence in the Western Hemisphere.

    The U.S. officials praising the prospect of a military takeover seem to disregard the fact that U.S.-Venezuelan military relations are virtually nonexistent today. U.S. defense contacts with Venezuela declined sharply in the years following the rise of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 1999. Meanwhile, the Russians, Chinese, and Cubans have replaced the United States as the primary sources of financial, technical, and material support to the Venezuelan military.

    The mere threat of a coup in Venezuela could be enough to rally the military around hard-liners and compel U.S. rivals to consider their preferred alternatives to the Maduro regime as collapse becomes imminent. Rivals with economic, political, and geostrategic interests in Venezuela, such as Russia and China, are far better positioned than the United States to influence the Venezuelan military during any transition.

    Moscow and Beijing will be especially interested in cultivating ties with the top brass in Caracas if they sense that offering economic and political support to a new Venezuelan leadership could change the mineral-rich country’s trajectory from an economic basket case to an economically and politically stable authoritarian regime. In such a situation, Russia, China, and Cuba — in some formal or informal configuration — could abandon the flailing and ineffective leadership of President Nicolás Maduro and back a military regime in uncomfortably close geographic proximity to the United States.

    The current situation in Venezuela is untenable. Oil production is declining, public unrest is spreading, inflation is up nearly 13,000 percentage points in the last two months, and military and civilian elites are becoming increasingly dissatisfied. Moreover, other countries in Latin America that stood by Chavez in the past are now denouncing Maduro. Pressure for regime change is growing.

    For now, the most viable path to change involves the military in some way. However, it would take years for the United States to rebuild substantive relations with the Venezuelan armed forces after almost two decades of estrangement. Making matters worse, Washington may not be prepared to provide the economic and security assistance or the political backing in international forums like the United Nations and the Organization of American States that would be needed to sustain a new military regime.

    Supporting such a regime would also create tensions between the United States and its allies in the Western Hemisphere and around the world, while legitimizing authoritarian political models at a time when China and Russia are already challenging the efficacy of democracy.

    Russia, China, and Cuba all currently have extensive and friendly relations with the Venezuelan military.

    Indeed, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban engagement with the Venezuelan armed forces has increased exponentially over the last decade — Venezuelan personnel have been attending Russian and Chinese military schools for years, and Venezuela is the top buyer in Latin America for Russian and Chinese military equipment. As for the Cubans, their security forces started providing technical assistance on the ground to the Venezuelan military shortly after the last — arguably U.S.-inspired — coup attempt in 2002.

    In the event of a coup, these existing ties mean that the priorities of Moscow, Beijing, and Havana will likely prevail over Washington’s in managing a military transition. Moscow has experience in this regard. Russia and the Soviet Union before it supported the rise and maintenance of authoritarian regimes in Latin America — including Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and military dictators such as Juan Velasco Alvarado in Peru.

    The situation in Venezuela could also be an opportunity for Russia and China to expand their emerging strategic partnership with nations in the Western Hemisphere. Both countries are increasingly using their military ties to counter U.S. influence around the world. Russian and Chinese defense officials even discussed forging a strategic partnership in a series of recent meetings. For now, their relations have been limited to bilateral meetings of key leaders and joint military exercises. Still, that should be enough to give U.S. policymakers pause.

    A coup in Venezuela would be a chance for China and Russia to collaborate on an issue far away from their own spheres of influence. If successful, it would give them greater access to Venezuelan mineral resources as well as a military footprint in Latin America.

    China would likely be a silent underwriter, as it has been hesitant to openly challenge the United States in Latin America so far. Still, Beijing could provide much-needed political and economic support. Russia might flex its muscles more visibly. Both would likely avoid sending troops to support a military regime in Venezuela. However, there could be an increase in arms and equipment transfers, technical training, and Russian security contractors on the ground in Venezuela, much like what Russia has done in Syria.

    The Perils of a Putsch in Venezuela ? Foreign Policy
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

  2. #2
    Connected HuangLao's Avatar
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    Actually, China is making quiet inroads and influence throughout much of Latin America of recent years.

    Some are just catching on.
    The new bosses.

  3. #3
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    Totally Caracas

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    Last year strolling around Santa Cruz de la Sierra (the city that drives much of Bolivia's economy) I noticed what a large role Chinese businesses play in that region of South America. The Chaco region is full of natural gas and nearby Paraguay has humongous potential for soybean plantations (never mind the ecological damage such monoculture can cause).
    Pues, aquí estamos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    Washington’s blessing to take the reins in Caracas.
    Something like what's been exercised in Chile?
    Why not to send there the White Helmets?

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    My money is on the chinkies. They can afford to pour money down a Venezuelan drain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    it is often times that the military is the agent of change
    Usually with the tucks, planes, ships, bombs and bullets arriving from ameristan.

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    You're kind of a one-note band, OhOh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    Actually, China is making quiet inroads and influence throughout much of Latin America of recent years.

    Some are just catching on.
    The new bosses.
    Slowly slowly catchee monkey, their long term plan exploits the tendency for most leaders being motivated to sign off on generous future sacrifice for relatively small realtime gains.

    And it's paying off.

  10. #10
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    Indeed. And I do wonder how many of those gains are under the table, and into Swiss bank accounts ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    In recent months, high-ranking U.S. officials have been signaling to Venezuelan military leaders that they have Washington’s blessing to take the reins in Caracas. In a February speech ahead of his trip to Latin America, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.”

    US backing anti-commie militants in Latin America...what could go wrong

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncle junior View Post
    US backing anti-commie militants in Latin America...what could go wrong
    The Venezuelan military has been complicit in enabling the rape of the country by Chavez and now Maduro and his corrupt cronies.

    Probably because they've had their snouts in the same trough as part of the deal.

  13. #13
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    Why not to help them to have their big guys as in some "democracies" (please no names here) - i.e rich only from their hard work not from raping their and other countries...

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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    You're kind of a one-note band, OhOh.
    Care to expand on your allegations that ameristan does not believe South America is their patch, to govern as they think? Care to provide evidence other countries are creating situations to enable "regime change"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Latindancer View Post
    Indeed. And I do wonder how many of those gains are under the table, and into Swiss bank accounts ?
    Care to produce facts that this illegal activity goes on? Or are you just expressing your own prejudice here?

    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Probably because they've had their snouts in the same trough as part of the deal.
    Care to produce facts that this illegal activity goes on? Or are you just expressing your own prejudice here?
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Care to expand on your allegations that ameristan does not believe South America is their patch, to govern as they think? Care to provide evidence other countries are creating situations to enable "regime change"?



    Care to produce facts that this illegal activity goes on? Or are you just expressing your own prejudice here?



    Care to produce facts that this illegal activity goes on? Or are you just expressing your own prejudice here?
    Gets criticised for being a one trick pony.

    Accuses everyone else of being a one trick pony.

    You're just a broken record, and a bad one at that.



    https://worldview.stratfor.com/artic...-block-reforms

    https://www.aei.org/publication/new-...itary-emerges/

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    Criticise away with facts that can be argued. The three requests have not produced one fact so far. Just waffle from yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Criticise away with facts that can be argued. The three requests have not produced one fact so far. Just waffle from yourself.
    I actually posted links, which *again* you clearly haven't read. All you ever try and do is ask stupid questions.

    Your entire form of argument appears to have descended into incessant logical fallacy.

    You're a bit dumb if truth be told.

  18. #18
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    IMO the military does more harm than good. I am no expert on South America, but the most stable democracy in the last 70 years has been Costa Rica, which coincidentally abolished its' military 70 years ago. Unfortunately, without a military, we would have to talk and negotiate rather than kill each other. What a terrible thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Care to expand on your allegations that ameristan does not believe South America is their patch, to govern as they think? Care to provide evidence other countries are creating situations to enable "regime change"?
    Care to provide the quote where I made such a claim?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Care to provide the quote where I made such a claim?
    OhOh SOP.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    I actually posted links, which *again* you clearly haven't read.
    I read the titles:

    In Venezuela, the Military's Influence in Government Could Block Reforms

    Could do, may not, ........ a known fake news publisher, a propaganda piece with no conclusion. Waste of time. You couldn't find one quote to back up your allegation.

    https://worldview.stratfor.com/artic...-block-reforms

    ?

    https://www.aei.org/publication/new-...itary-emerges/

    A non public site, requiring authorisation. No thanks. You couldn't find one quote to back up your allegation.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Care to provide the quote where I made such a claim?
    post No. 8 in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    You're kind of a one-note band, OhOh.
    You questioned my statement regarding ameristani describing South America as it's property, to do with as it wishes (Monroe Doctrine) and ameristani's proven, public record of destabilising, assassinations and regime change in South America.

    Both of you have yet to produce any proof in your useless posts. You both may accept unproven allegations , I don't.

    Without any proof. Put up or shut up.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    Slowly slowly catchee monkey, their long term plan exploits the tendency for most leaders being motivated to sign off on generous future sacrifice for relatively small realtime gains.

    And it's paying off.
    Yep. The advantages of a dictatorship; they can plan ahead a lot longer than those pesky election dates / terms, despite how inept they are.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    I read the titles:

    In Venezuela, the Military's Influence in Government Could Block Reforms

    Could do, may not, ........ a known fake news publisher, a propaganda piece with no conclusion. Waste of time. You couldn't find one quote to back up your allegation.
    Once again you illustrate your ignorance. Stratfor is not a "news" site you chump.

    It is an extremely expensive, well respected analysis site with access to ex-intelligence officers around the globe, which has free content to encourage potential customers.

    Honestly, you really do waffle, don't you.

    A non public site, requiring authorisation. No thanks. You couldn't find one quote to back up your allegation.
    And you DON'T READ you just post shit.

    It is not a "non-public site" you moron. It simply asks you to complete a Captcha, i.e. click a fucking button.

    As I said, you're in such a hurry to post waffle you don't even take the time to read what other people are posting.

    It explains why most of your posts make no sense in the context of the conversation.

  24. #24
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    Just for HoHo, who no doubt will just say it's "Ameristan" being mean.

    Venezuela’s heavily politicized security forces also have a long history of criminality that goes even beyond the violent repression of protesters.

    As AEI
    chronicled earlier this year, the military has actively engaged in narcotrafficking for years, turning Venezuela into a major transit hub for cocaine and other illicit products.

    Numerous current and former Venezuelan military officials are under indictment by the United States for their role in drug trafficking.

    As the AEI report stated, “The spread of corruption and criminality throughout the government has been facilitated by the centralization of power under the presidency; the politicization of the military and the judiciary; and the breakdown of transparency, accountability, and the separation of powers.”
    https://www.aei.org/publication/new-...itary-emerges/

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Venezuela’s heavily politicized security forces also have a long history of criminality that goes even beyond the violent repression of protesters.

    As AEI chronicled earlier this year, the military has actively engaged in narcotrafficking for years, turning Venezuela into a major transit hub for cocaine and other illicit products.

    Numerous current and former Venezuelan military officials are under indictment by the United States for their role in drug trafficking.
    Wondering whether a plan has been prepared, similar to the one at Panama with Noriega. (Perhaps the Army detached from Syria can be made use of?)

    Why not to cooperate with USA like their friend Colombia does, thus being the largest cocaine producer (and who is the largest consumer?)

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