A strategy to overthrow the Government of Venezuela

President Maduro should act quickly in order to prepare for the inevitable offensive to come.

The recent Presidential elections in Venezuela and the victory of current president, Nicolás Maduro, once again offer a scenario clearly pointing to the implementation of a strong strategy of harassment to revert not only its authorities but also its internal legality.

The high abstention, around 53.9% (32% higher than that of the last presidential elections) added to the more than two million votes Maduro lost compared to the last victory of Hugo Chávez (shortly before his death), have allowed the US, the EU and the so-called Group of Lima to definitively opt for an aggressive strategy, based on a rapid "non-recognition" of the legitimacy of the elections and therefore of the elected candidate.

A few hours after the results announcement, 23 ex-presidents (21 Latin Americans and 2 Spanish) released a hard communiqué calling for the non-recognition of the elections, the toughening of sanctions and economic measures against the South American country and for Venezuela to be suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS).

Likewise, the ex-presidents asked that diplomatic relations with the Caracas government be reduced to a minimum, and that the Venezuelan authorities be taken before the International Criminal Court for alleged "crimes against humanity."

As if everything had been scripted, agreed and timed, shortly after this statement, the Lima Group (made up of 13 countries from the region plus Canada) issued a statement announcing its non-recognition of the results as well as its intention to reduce the levels of diplomatic relations (calling its ambassadors in Caracas back home for consultation).

Furthermore the Lima Group presented a declaration condemning Venezuela to the OAS, and stated their intention to coordinate actions to ensure that the regional and international economic organisms deny credits and financing to the Venezuelan Government.

For its part, the US government announced, simultaneously, its non-recognition of the elections and issued new financial sanctions that include freezing assets and payments for imports of Venezuelan oil.

On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, the head of the European Union foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, said that the elections "did not meet the necessary guarantees" and that the EU will study "adequate measures".

In the meantime, in Venezuela, the main candidate of the opposition, Henry Falcón, chose to ignore the results one hour before it was made public, and was unexpectedly supported by one of the 5 members of the National Electoral Council, while the international observer delegations were satisfied that the elections had met all the standards.

The abstentionist opposition having realised, too late, that it could have really opted for the presidency if it had contested the elections, put a request on the table: that presidential elections be held again in 6 months.

A period of time that should be highlighted in red because it seems chosen to try to overthrow the Government through a citizen rebellion or, in its absence, by an external intervention, induced by a situation of extreme shortages, and justified with the possible argument of "humanitarian intervention".

It is also important to not forget the hypothesis of a possible violent conflict in the long and conflictive border that Venezuela shares with Colombia: two countries that at the moment maintain a strong exchange of accusations and mutual verbal insult.
As to Chavism, it is evident that both the electoral results and the aforementioned external actions require a quick and intense political reflection, to then implement urgent and effective measures, in the short term, in daily aspects such as political and social work with the Chavism grassroots, the fight against corruption or the urgent regular assurance of basic goods at affordable prices, among others.

That is to say, it is necessary to urgently articulate political actions that allow the internal recovery of lost social and individual support.

One of the most delicate aspect in the current situation, and its evolution, will surely be placed in the allegiance and support of the Armed Forces, which until now have shown strict loyalty to the Constitution and the maintenance of legality. A loyalty which is crucial in this situation in order to guarantee, besides the national defense capacity, also internal governability.
In the field of international affairs, the Government of Nicolás Maduro has the unconditional support of a part of the regional and international left, plus of the ALBA countries (Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and two small Caribbean countries), to which could be add a second circle of neutral and moderate countries, always in favor of negotiated outputs, which at the moment seem to have little room, given the harsh tone of the confrontation.

In this second circle are countries such as El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay or Ecuador.

However, the correlation of forces in the region is neither favorable nor sufficient to guarantee the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people, or a moderately normal functioning of the Venezuelan export-import economy.

Far from the coasts of the southern Caribbean, Maduro can count on agreements, alliances and "fraternal relations" with influential countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Turkey, which can offer some shielding in international organizations as well as in what refers to normal commercial relations to guarantee essential and basic commercial and financial supplies.

Sufficient is a recent example: the announced arrival in the South American country, these days, of 385 containers of goods and vehicles, sent before the elections, from distant Turkey.

An extra-continental support and solidarity that, both as an influence and "collateral" damage, will in turn place Venezuela a piece in the international geo-strategic struggle.

The re-elected Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, has already called on the opposition candidates who have contested the elections, to a national dialogue that given the circumstances and positions appears really unlikely.

The battle for Venezuela has already acquired the character of open "war".

An internal, regional and international conflict, where beyond the black and white images will prevail the shades of modernity: the media war, with its fake news, the economic and material embargo, affecting directly the entire population and seeking to stir social and violent outbreaks that justify foreign interventions.

No doubt Venezuela will be a constant source of headlines of all kind, in the short and medium term, because in and around that South American country is developing an open struggle, with multiple edges.

Venezuela’s enormous reserves in hydrocarbons, added to a long and varied list of mineral wealth (so desired by multinationals of any origin) and huge extensions of under-utilised arable land, are some of the reasons for such strong external interest and internal belligerence.