June 29, 2017

NOAH ROTHMAN: The Syria next door.

As Maduro continues to shed the confidence of Venezuelan power brokers, the talk of a military coup has grown louder and louder. The head of a group of exiled Venezuelan officers, former National Guard Lieutenant Jose Colina, told The Telegraph that the regime’s support rests on the shoulders of a handful of politically loyal army officers. The unreliable ones are being sent to the provinces or are being disposed of in other, grislier ways. “The government is purging the armed forces as it anticipates having to use the army to repress growing street protests,” said retired Admiral Ivan Carruto.

While there are no outward signs of dissent against the government, Reuters revealed that recruiting for the military and police is becoming more difficult. The Telegraph reported that, according to exiled sources, some 5,000 officers have left the Venezuelan army and could make up the backbone of paramilitary forces in the event of a putsch. The stability of government is, however, due entirely to the fact that most of the army remains loyal to it. A coup attempt with sufficient support could fail. If it did, it would likely result in a civil war.

The prospect of a protracted Syrian-style conflict in the Americas seems an event for which policymakers in the United States are ill-prepared. Such a scenario would mean the implosion of a country rich with oil resources, a state flush with government-backed narcotics traffickers, money, and weapons.

Interesting times.

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