Russia’s Vladimir Putin unsurprisingly has been fueling the civil war that is about to unfold in Venezuela by propping up questionable President Nicolas Maduro. These acts are classic behaviorisms of Mr. Putin, and nevertheless paint a globalized picture to yet another plunge on a civil war in a place where there used to be an untouched value – which has now been replaced with interdependent greed.
The art of propping up a politician: a concept that is not new. A concept practiced worldwide, from the Middle East to South America. Perhaps this new act of Putinism is personal, and a vendetta steamed from a historic friendship between Putin and Maduro. Perhaps it’s ego, and Putin cannot face the idea that Venezuela will move further away from being under his thumb, and he is trying to do to Venezuela what the U.S. did to the Ukraine.
Due to a surge in inflation mixed with shortages in medicine and food, Venezuela has been caught in a political and social freefall for years. Things began to boil over on Jan. 23, when Juan Guaidó declared himself as acting president, challenging the power of President Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn in to a second six-year term in office two weeks prior. Maduro did not respond well to this political action, and condemned the acts as a plan by the U.S. to replace him.
Maduro’s time in office was questionable to say the least. The economy and the country began its downward spiral during his first term, which began in 2013, and Venezuelans blamed him and his socialist government, and have been trying to leave since. The elections that got him re-elected in 2018 were deemed as highly controversial, and sparked boycotts in opposing political parties. The reason for such controversies included the facts that opposing candidates had been jailed or had fled the country out of fear of imprisonment. The re-election of Maduro was not even recognized by Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Following the re-election, the National Assembly argued that the election was unfair, and the presidency is vacant – which is cited in Venezuela’s constitution. In such cases, the National Assembly takes over as acting President, which is how Guaidó declared himself President on Jan. 23. Very shortly after, Donald Trump tweeted that, “the citizens of Venezuela have suffered too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime…” and officially recognized Guaidó as the President of Venezuela.
Maduro then broke off relations with the U.S. and gave 72 American diplomats three days to leave Venezuela. This created chaos within Venezuela, as those who opposed the government celebrated, and those within the government saw Guaidó’s move as an imperialist threat. This sparked major protests, because despite the support of the U.S. and other countries, the he does not have much political power within his own government – which is made up of government loyalists. Security forces have also kept loyal with Maduro, after his apparent acts to reward them with pay rises.
Maduro has become the postmodern Fidel Castro. Last year it was reported that Russian bombers flew to Venezuela, signaling that Putin had the ability to potentially bring nuclear weaponry to America’s backyard.
The US and Russia keep backing opposing sides, and the globalized arena for anything like the Bay of Pigs invasion may just be the dark art of what is happening in Venezuela. This time however, Russia is not backing an ideology of Marxism; this potential Cold War is strictly part of a business strategy, an economic bet on Maduro, and the Russian spread on attaining more global reach.
Photo: @Mippcivzla / Twitter