In Venezuela, Juan Guaido, leader of the National Assembly party declared himself the legitimate President over incumbent Socialist President Nicolas Maduro. This comes on the heels of the increased poverty that has been seen under Maduro’s presidency.
Guaido cites Maduro’s controversial re-election, which opposition parties boycotted and accused of being rigged. U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate President, which has everyone asking what the U.S. plans to do next.
There are hints to suggest that the U.S. is planning to go to war. There was speculation over a note written by National Security Advisor John Bolton that said “5000 troops to Colombia”that he held on a notepad during a news conference announcing new Venezuelan sanctions.
This is far from the first time the U.S. has intervened in South America in some capacity. One of the most well-known is the Iran Contra Crisis in Nicaragua during the Reagan Administration.
Protests broke out in Nicaragua last year, as President Daniel Ortega, who in the decades since Iran-Contra had moved away from his socialist roots, had attempted to revise the Social Security laws. The police and the military then responded to the protests with violence.
Nicaraguan resident and Executive Director of CEPAD Damaris Albuquerque spoke on how she thought Ortega should be deposed.
“It should be by constitutional way, we do not support intervention,” she said.
The Sandonistas had initially come into power in the 80’s after ousting dictator Anastasio Somoza. Poverty and wealth inequality were at an all-time high and the Sandonistas spent most of their time in power fighting off the Contras—which resulted in the irritation with the widespread poverty.
The U.S. has a checkered history with intervening in other country’s affairs. Just recently, during the Obama administration the U.S. intervened in Libya, which destabilized the region and indirectly fed into the current European migrant crisis.
Albuquerque was also opposed to further sanctions in Nicaragua, saying “it will hurt our economy; no new infrastructure will be built.” She expressed a clear desire to allow Nicaragua to solve its own problems.
Guaido enjoys support from an international coalition in Latin America. What is motivating the U.S. is something that is worth looking at here. President Reagan was concerned that Ortega and the Sandonistas might have been working with the Soviets.
The exporting of drugs had been partially credited to the sad state of affairs in Venezuela in the past. It is entirely possible that President Trump believes that ousting Maduro will reduce the number of immigrants coming through the border.
Amnesty International put out a report last December affirming that the Ortega administration had committed crimes against humanity. Former ambassadors Jose Luis Velasquez and Alejandro Bendana have assured that Ortega will face consequences from international organizations.
It remains unclear whether the U.S. will take military action in Venezuela, but the solution is right there. The U.S. should avoid violently inserting themselves into the situation in Venezuela and instead participate internationally in the dialogue.