Small Wars Journal

Venezuela Update: Momentum and Desertions

Has the Venezuelan Opposition Lost its Momentum? By Anthony Faiola and Dylan Baddour – Washington Post

CARACAS, Venezuela — For more than a month, opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s audacious campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro captivated the world while bringing hope to millions of desperate Venezuelans. But his U.S.-backed movement to unseat the socialists is at a crossroads, in danger of losing its greatest asset: momentum.

 

Guaidó, a 35-year-old civil engineer turned national hero, staked everything on a weekend operation to break the government’s blockade of U.S. humanitarian aid and turn Maduro’s armed forces against him.

That bid largely failed, producing a trickle, but not a flood, of military defections. The opposition’s next play — a call for intervention by foreign forces — did not win immediate support in Washington.

 

The succession of setbacks left the opposition here scrambling Tuesday to sustain what has become the single biggest challenge to 20 years of socialist rule and manage inflated expectations of a rapid ouster of Maduro…

Read on.

 

Desertions Reflect Discontent With Maduro, But Not Enough to Topple Him by Nicholas Casey and Brent McDonald – New York Times

CÚCUTA, Colombia — The first in a wave of defectors was a sergeant in Venezuela’s national guard: He sneaked over the border into Colombia in early February and declared he no longer supported President Nicolás Maduro.

“We have to eat nothing but rice and beans every day,” said the sergeant, Harry Solano.

Since then, at least 350 other members of the armed forces have joined Mr. Solano, pouring over the border to ask for sanctuary, according to the Colombian government. The majority came over the weekend, after Juan Guaidó, an opposition leader who has declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, called for the military to join his effort to weaken Mr. Maduro’s grip on power and break his blockade on humanitarian aid.

While the desertions are not good news for Mr. Maduro, they are not exactly what the opposition had hoped for, either…

Read on.