Small Wars Journal

Venezuela

Is it Time for an Insurgency in Venezuela?

"Frustrated members of Venezuela’s opposition and their supporters saw their attempt at a military coup fall short last week as senior leaders of the security forces failed to join an attempt to force President Maduro out of office and out of the country. Despite an economy in ruins, a failed health care system, and international sanctions; the Maduro regime has survived. There are several reasons for this."

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Blood and Power: The Militia-Corruption Nexus in Latin America

Modeled on the Iranian Basij militia, the 'colectivos' have targeted critical media outlets, opposition politicians, and dissidents as well as exerted control over entire neighborhoods and towns. They have operated death squads with the full acquiescence of Venezuela’s intelligence agencies and in partnership with the military. Venezuela’s previous president, Hugo Chavez, organized these paramilitary groups to protect the gains of his self-proclaimed Bolivarian Revolution from the perceived threat of external powers. They rapidly transformed into a force to prop-up the political elite and to preserve the power of the regime.

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The Monroe Doctrine in 21st Century Great Power Competition

After a 20-year hiatus since the fall of the Soviet Union, the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) identify a new great power competition as the priority security threat to the United States. Although focused on Europe with Russia, and Asia with China, this great power competition is just as applicable in Latin America where China is aggressively using the economic instrument of power.

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Supporting a Venezuelan Insurgency

Venezuela is on the brink of an insurgency. The insurgents are not currently violent, but that could change immediately if the Maduro regime attempts to use force to suppress the opposition. To date, the United States has supported the opposition led by Juan Guaido with diplomacy, sanctions, and humanitarian aid. The question now is what we should do if the insurgency turns violent.

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