Venezuela: Is Humanitarian Aid a Pretext for Invasion?

Bruno Sgarzini aid is presented by the “self-proclaimed president” Juan Guaidó as the key to the ills of Venezuelans. On his arrival in the country, there is also a political marketing campaign that places it as a relief for the ordinary people who suffer the consequences of the economic crisis, induced and aggravated by the economic and financial blockade against the Bolivarian Republic. Humanitarian aid will arrive, and we will all dance when we see it arrive.

However, according to Caritas Venezuela, we should not be under any illusions about the amount of medical supplies and food supplies that arrive because they will be insufficient and few. While the Red Cross warns of the danger that it will arrive in Venezuela without the consent of the government of President Nicolás Maduro, in addition to the risk that it will be used as a “political tool”.

The New York Times, on the other hand, says it is “an attempt by the opposition to undermine President Maduro’s bases of support in the delivery of food. According to the political scientist Dimitri Pantoulas, consulted by this media, “humanitarian aid is treated in 99% of the military and 1% of the humanitarian aspects, given that the opposition tests the loyalty of the military, increasing the cost of supporting Maduro. Are they with Maduro, or not? Will they reject the aid? If the answer is no, then Maduro’s hours are numbered.

Continuing with Pantoulas, “this is a challenge for the opposition to demonstrate that it can govern, if this fails, it could damage the image of Guaidó’s “interim presidency.

A policy of pressure, but also of marketing

The White House is public and notorious for having in its interventionist repertoire the figure of “humanitarian aid” as a way of washing its image, on the one hand, and exerting pressure against the attacked country. In some cases, also as a narrative cover of an invasion and subsequent occupation, as in the cases of Haiti and Somalia.

What’s more, it was John Kelly, former head of the Southern Command, who first spoke about the possibility of bringing humanitarian aid to Venezuela, in invasion format, in the event of a “collapse” in the country. Those words today sound much more plausible if coupled with the decision to seize Venezuela, taken last week, after the former U.S. ambassador to the country, William Brownfield, said a few months ago that the best way for the government to fall would be to lead the Bolivarian Republic to collapse through an embargo.

On the other hand, in these days it has been quite revealed that the use of Guaidó as a narrative cover is aimed at locating the entry of “humanitarian aid” as a climax to break the civic-military union. It is the same combo: the instruments of pressure are located from lowest to highest in the recognition of a parallel government, the ignorance of the State, the application of an oil embargo, the offer of a general amnesty, and finally the entry of humanitarian aid.

Above them all, the repeated threat of an intervention, of a civil war, flies in the same tone of pressure, given that the White House instruction manual, known as the National Security doctrine, states that “all the financial, military, commercial, media and diplomatic power resources of the United States must be used according to whether the threat is so great, and credible, that the country attacked is willing to give in at a negotiating table”.

Risks, retaliation and consequences of “humanitarian aid

The dangers are many and have been alerted because the “humanitarian aid” is not delivered by civilian volunteers, but by military personnel from the United States, Colombia and Brazil, among other members of the so-called “international coalition” named by the opposition. It is a fact: no foreign military enters another country without the consent of the State where he plans to enter.

That could lend itself to a provocation against the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, which would undoubtedly ruin marketing in favor of exerting pressure to bankrupt in favor of Guaidó. It would be an automatic goal for that strategy, but it is a risk that is run with the irresponsible call made by anti-Chávez.

However, it must be said that the supposed mobilization of soldiers towards the Venezuelan border does not coincide with the number of soldiers that would be needed for an invasion, calculated between 150 and 220 thousand, a figure similar to that of Iraq. But reality indicates that its magnification, in social networks, has been a function of building the “credible threat” against Venezuela, which does not rule out that any incident serves to escalate the conflict against the country.

The problem, according to Benjamin Denison, an international security expert at the Dick Center, is that in most cases, regime change operations, such as those carried out by the United States in Venezuela, fail in the medium term and alienate the attacked states, while leading decision-makers in the White House to think that they can be easy and with few political costs, forcing them, without first thinking about it, to use more and more resources to break up the attacked nations.

This type of miscalculation is what has led the United States to disasters like Iraq, where in addition to the lack of a plan and overestimation of their local allies, they were buried in a swamp where the Iraqi institutions, mainly the military, were dissolved, they found themselves in an occupation with high costs in their internal politics, without being able to fulfill in the long term the objective of controlling the country.

This realistic evaluation gives a glimpse of the great dangers of the policy that the White House pursues in Venezuela, given that if the fracture of the civic-military union planned with the entry of humanitarian aid is not fulfilled, its operation of regime change in the country would begin to deflate, exposing the lack of authority of the United States to exercise power in its backyard.

That makes some kind of military retaliation against Venezuela quite real because of the degree of arrogance, irresponsibility, and dementia of the Venezuela team, made up of John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. An example of this type of behavior by the Trump Administration happened in Syria in 2018 when they bombed that country under the excuse of a false chemical attack, attributed to the government of Bashar Al Assad, after the media pressured for intervention on a larger scale.

What is certain, beyond the possible failure of the humanitarian operation, is that in real terms; the war in Venezuela has entered the imaginary of the country, and possibly its risk of materializing marks the future of the Bolivarian Republic, as of its population, since it is around this threat that its society can move in the medium and long term.

Internationalist 360°