Chaos in Venezuela by Clare M. Lopez

Originally published on Newsmax:

Hundreds of thousands of desperate, hungry, fed-up Venezuelans took to the streets today in cities all over the country after Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez, president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly of Venezuela, declared himself Interim President.

Statements of official recognition and support quickly followed from U.S. President Donald Trump and senior administration officials, Canada, and many countries in Central and South America. The governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey, notably, remain solidly behind current President Nicolas Maduro.

By day’s end, Maduro cut off diplomatic ties with the U.S. and gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. The Trump administration fired back, saying through a spokesman that “all options are on the table.”

While the diplomatic, moral, and verbal support of the U.S. and other regional countries is surely important, what will matter even more are several factors likely beyond any of their control.

Will the Venezuelan people remain on the streets this time, no matter what?

Will the Venezuelan military remain loyal to Maduro even to the point of firing live rounds at their fellow Venezuelans? (The answer to that may already be coming into view, as there have been reports of live fire from the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional and casualties earlier today.)

Will Maduro’s Cuban, Hizballah, and/or Iranian “security advisors” take an even more active, direct role in putting down what may be the most serious challenge to Maduro’s rule yet?

Stay tuned, as Diosdado Cabello, a member of the Venezuelan National Assembly and reportedly one of the most corrupt politicians in the country, has called Maduro supporters to defend Miraflores Palace, the official presidential residence, in downtown Caracas.

About Clare M. Lopez

Clare M. Lopez is Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.  She previously was a Senior Fellow with the Center as well as with the London Center for Policy Research, member of Sen. Ted Cruz’ 2016 presidential campaign national security advisory team, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee, and a career operations officer with the CIA. Read her complete bio here. Follow Lopez on Twitter @ClareMLopezView all posts by Clare M. Lopez →

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Andrés Gerlotti on Unsplash.

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