Monday, January 28, 2019

The Drums Of War, Con't

As you might remember from Turkey's abortive coup from July 2016, you have to have as many of the five A's in place as possible before you start up the coup-coup clock:
  • Armed forces
  • Airwaves
  • Airports
  • Allies
  • and the Asshole in charge you're trying to overthrow.
In Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido has only one of those five right now in his declared coup against President Nicolas Maduro, but it's a big one: in the Allies category, he has the Trump regime.  He's got enough breathing room to try to get the other four, starting with the Armed Forces.

The battle for control of Venezuela turned Sunday to the armed forces as President Nicolas Maduro, wearing tan military fatigues, attended army exercises, met with troops and watched as tanks fired into a hillside.

At the same time, supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido handed out leaflets to soldiers, urging them to reject the socialist leader and explaining how they could be eligible for amnesty if they help return Venezuela to democracy.

“We are waiting for you, the soldiers of Venezuela,” Guaido told a news conference, urging the armed forces not to shoot fellow Venezuelans.

“We are waiting for you and the commitment you have to our constitution.”

Sunday’s dueling appeals to the military followed a tense week as Venezuela took center stage in a global debate over who had a legitimate claim to power in the South American nation.

Guaido's move comes as the Trump regime's assets in Venezuela continue to buy him time.

Maduro broke relations with the United States on Wednesday after the Trump administration and many other nations in the region recognized Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, as Venezuela’s interim president, a move that Maduro denounced as a coup attempt.

Maduro gave U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, but the Trump administration said it wouldn’t comply, arguing that Maduro is no longer Venezuela’s legitimate president. That set the stage for a showdown at the hilltop U.S. Embassy compound Saturday night, when the deadline was to expire.

But as the sun set on Venezuela’s capital, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Maduro’s government was suspending the expulsion to provide a 30-day window for negotiations about setting up a “U.S. interests office” in Venezuela and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States. The U.S. and Cuba had a similar arrangement for decades before the Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with the communist-run island.

The State Department did not confirm the Venezuelan government’s account, reiterating only that its priority remains the safety of its personnel and that it has no plans to close the embassy.

This of course is not a sustainable situation, with Maduro holding the local military and Guaido with American allies.  Something's going to give and soon, either the US will hang Guaido out to dry (literally) and work with Maduro, or Guaido is going to find military resources of his own.  Maduro's not going to let the guy just putter around the garden, Guaido's three options now are he's President, he's in exile, or he's a corpse.

Which of the three will happen?  I'm not sure.  This is Donald Trump that Guaido has bet his life on, and Trump has this habit of screwing over people in the end.  Trump may build a coalition and start bombing the hell out of things down there, he may do it alone too.  He may piss off Russia, he may be playing along with Putin.  There's a lot of factors here.

But I do know that one miscalculation and all of this goes up in flames.

And Trump, well, Trump miscalculates a lot.

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