It is often said that the current situation in Venezuela is reminiscent of the first (Cuban) Caribbean crisis. Moreover, the front pages of the left-wing misinformation media are full of headlines about the “right-wing coup in Venezuela.” The recent deployment of a small unit of Russian special forces in Venezuela leads to click-baiting with the “Carribean Crisis 2.0” headlines.
Let us look at a few of the actors in this “Caribbean Crisis 2.0” and the “right-wing coup.”
The new (self-proclaimed) Venezuelan President Juan Guaido is a member of the Venezuelan Popular Will party (Voluntad Popular). Well, a party had previously existed under the same name – in Russia at the end of the XIX century. It was a terrorist organization of ultra-left socialists. Therefore, one should not have any illusions about this new president. The party to which he belongs is a member of Socialist International (Socintern).
Let us recall that Barack Obama is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) – a party that also was a member of Socialist International. The young communist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the militant anti-Semite Rashida Tlaib are also members of the DSA. (The DSA abandoned Socintern in August 2017, because they believed that Socintern became “not left enough”).
The deputy of Guaido in the National Assembly (Parliament) of Venezuela is a politician with an unusual name – Ivan Stalin Gonzalez. This name was given to him by his parents – left-wing activists and trade union leaders, well-known in Venezuela. Which party does he belong to? As one would expect, Ivan Stalin Gonzalez is also a member of the leftist party – New Time (Un Nuevo Tiempo). This party is also a member of Socintern. As in Russia, where Stalin was likewise on the sidelines for some time, this Venezuelan Stalin is still in the shadows.
At present, the situation in Venezuela is very unenviable. However, the status quo in Venezuela also worries Russia, China, and Cuba. The socialist Guaido finds himself confronting Moscow protege Communist Maduro. It is well known that Russia has invested billions of dollars in Venezuela, and together with China they are successfully acquiring properties confiscated by Hugo Chavez from private companies. In connection with the events in Venezuela, Putin speaks of a “catastrophe,” and in this, he is partially right. Russian oil companies are on the verge of losing billions (Rosneft has invested about 17 billion dollars, and Gazprom – another 7 billion). Will Russia try to save its assets in Venezuela? Of course, they will.
However, Russia is hardly capable of an afghanistanization of Venezuela.
The Syrian option in Venezuela is too, no longer within the power of Russia. Russia just does not have the resources to project its power into the Americas. Nevertheless, Russia is actively trying to become a full party to this conflict. Why?
Venezuela’s public debt is about 63 billion dollars (by the way, Venezuela has already defaulted on this debt). At the same time, Venezuela owes Russia about $25 billion, which is about as much as Russia spends a year on education and healthcare combined. This amount is about 1/3 of the annual military budget of Russia. Russia holds 1/5 of the total gold reserves of Venezuela – about 30 tons. These figures prove beyond reasonable doubt that Russian leadership considers Venezuela as an “integral part” of Russia.
On the surface, the confrontation between Russia and the United States in Venezuela looks like another confrontation in the spirit of the Cold War, conducted with the help of proxy allies. However, this confrontation differs from all others because it is not just an interstate or ideological conflict.
The current standoff is also a conflict between the USA and the Venezuelan narco-mafia, better known as the “Cartel of Suns” (Cartel de los Soles.) This name was given to the cartel because the top officers of the Venezuelan army (from brigadier general and above) are wearing not stars, but golden suns on their shoulder straps. The Venezuelan military is the backbone of this state-level drug cartel.
The close ties between the state mafia of Venezuela and the state mafia of Russia are based on Cartel of Suns. The ideological component played an important role as well. The extreme left views of Hugo Chávez and Nicolas Maduro found understanding and a warm reception among the current leaders of Russia, educated by Soviet communists.
Opposition leader Guaido declared himself president on January 11, 2019, and at a rally of many thousands on January 23 he took the presidential oath. Less than an hour after taking the oath, young Guaido received the support of President Trump, and then many other Western countries, including Israel. However, by their actions, the Trump administration challenged not so much the adherents of a radical left ideology, but rather the inter-government drug Cartel of Suns.
So far, the practice of American arm-twisting appears to be pretty standard in this scenario. Maduro and his supporters got deprived of the possibility of international trade and the use of international finance. The Trump administration announced sanctions against the only legal source of hard currency for the Maduro regime – PDVSA, a Venezuelan state oil company. Also, Trump allowed the opposition leader to operate with foreign assets and Venezuelan accounts in the United States. Trump’s task is obvious – to deprive Maduro of cash. Without cash, he eventually would lose the loyalty of the Venezuelan narco-army and the Cuban mercenaries.
The U.S. Democratic Party has also found itself in a delicate situation.
On the one hand, Democrats cannot deny the fact that the communists Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro turned Venezuela into a concentration camp with hyperinflation at a level of several million percents a year. As befits all socialist regimes, in Venezuela – a country that has the largest proven oil reserves in the world – there is such an intense shortage of gasoline that it has to be imported.
On the other hand, the Communists of Caracas are ideological allies of the U.S. Democratic Party. The current faces of the Democrats – Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar – expressed support for the dictator Maduro. Both the Turkish half-dictator, half-president Erdogan, and the terrorist organization Hezbollah joined the Democrats. However, the most substantial support of the “legitimately and democratically elected” Maduro was offered by the “Palestinian President” Abbas (who, as we know, is now in the 15th year of his first four-year term).
In the same way, as during World War II, Winston Churchill drew International Socialism (USSR) to the struggle against National Socialism (Nazism) – its ideological counterpart and implacable enemy, Trump wisely supports the socialist Guaido in his struggle against the Soviet-style communist Maduro. However, one should be aware that this support is temporary.
After the fall of Maduro, Cuba, which is 100% dependent on oil supplies from Venezuela, will also fall. With the fall of these countries, Russia will have virtually no allies left in the international arena, except maybe the islands of Vanuatu. Moscow made a pitiful attempt at saber-rattling – in addition to some troops, two Russian supersonic bombers landed on the island of La Orchila, located in the Caribbean Sea about 80 miles from the capital of Venezuela, Caracas.
From the substantial American military base on the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean, located 185 miles from Caracas (and just 40 miles from Venezuela’s coast), they were not without interest watched by numerous units of military pilots, marines, special forces, sailors, and CIA agents.
As President Trump said, “All options on the table for getting Russians out of Venezuela.” During his first two years in the White House, Trump’s hands were tied up due to Mueller’s witch hunt. However, the feeling is that his first presidential term actually begins just about now. In the post-Mueller world, it is a clear indication that the Caracas-Curaçao-La Orchila triangle is about to become a political Bermuda triangle, in which the political ambitions of both the Leftists and their allies are about to sink.