Will the Hybrid War on Venezuela Become a Conventional War?

By Marcelo Zero, on May 6, 2019

The question asked by everyone is whether there will be or not be a war on Venezuela.

Well, first, let’s note that the United States is already making a war on Venezuela. A hybrid, non-conventional war.

The United States is throwing everything at Venezuela. Besides a commercial and financial embargo, which has caused the death of at least 40 thousand people, they have confiscated Venezuela’s gold and other assets abroad; fostered sabotage that led to power cuts; introduced a ridiculous puppet in Juan Guaido to try to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro; coordinated a diplomatic and political isolation from our neighboring countries; coerced soldiers to make them abandon the constitutional government; promoted a huge misinformation campaign about Venezuela to criminalize Maduro and the Bolivarian government; and on and on.

The point is not whether the United States is going to make a war on Venezuela but if the current hybrid war is going to escalate towards a strictly military one. In an attempt to answer this question, we have to take two big issues into account.

First, regarding the United States new geopolitical strategy towards Latin America. What they want is to establish, by force, if necessary, the New Monroe Doctrine through which our region would once again be a space of their exclusive influence; their own back yard as the expression goes. In that new scenario, there would be no place for countries which have independent foreign policy and stronger relations, like China and Russia for instance, who are geopolitical and geo-economic rivals of the United States. Therefore, overthrowing the Maduro Administration is crucial for the agenda of the United States in the region, given that Caracas today has tight relations with both of those countries and has a very independent foreign policy despite not having stopped supplying its oil to the North American giant. It is worth mentioning that the Jair Bolsonaro Administration in Brazil subordinate as it is to the empire, is already threatening with leaving BRICS (the economic association of emerging countries that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and abandoning Chinese-Brazilian agreements.

Second, regarding different opinions in the United States Administration about what to do and how to do it concerning Venezuela. As is the case in Brazil, there are two big groups in the U.S. Administration with different opinions about this and other affairs. There is the group of extreme right ideologues, among them National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the US ‘Special’ Envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.  Together they make up a dangerous extremist gang, separated from reality, who have Trump’s ear. This neo con constellation is pushing for the military intervention in Venezuela. Especially Bolton, the revisionist architect of the New Monroe Doctrine, who has already asked the Pentagon for several intervention options, from precision bombings to full-scale invasion with ground troops. The problem, for him, is that the generals in the Pentagon, as those here in Brazil, are resisting and warning Trump about the risks of a war on Venezuela, especially if it involves ground troops.

Venezuela is twice as big as Iraq and its territory is very difficult for ground operations, considering its impenetrable forests, swamps (llanos), mountains, etc. That is to say, an ideal land for a defensive war of tactical positions and guerrilla fighters. Besides Venezuela has preparing for this scenario since 2006 through the New Military Thought. Even in the face of a complete defeat of Venezuelan regular forces, the Bolivarian Militia with its 500,000 members would offer fierce resistance throughout Venezuela.

If that is not enough, Venezuelans could receive logistical support from China and Russia, especially the latter, which developed close military cooperation with the South American country. There is a general lack of international support for the military option, particularly a ground invasion. Even the traitorous satellite countries in the region, in the Lima Group, rejects the military option but have no problem pursuing and supporting the devastating hybrid war against Venezuela. European countries also prefer betting only on the hybrid war.

But does this mean that the transformation of a hybrid war into a conventional war is being dismissed? No, not at all.

As the Juan Guaido charade continues to miserably fail and a negotiated and peaceful solution is not being pursued, impatience and discontent grows among the neocons headed by John Bolton. It is necessary to take into account that Bolton is a very dangerous and influential personality, with a long and disturbing history of information manipulation to make his theories prevail. We can see this with the latest disinformation that Venezuelan generals are controlled by Cuban agents. This is a lie being repeated in the oligarchic media, and the anti-Castro lobby in Washington.

While Trump has entrusted Bolton with this major foreign policy issue he is looking to be convinced that the war would be a short one, but they are also factoring in that the current scenario of failure and humiliation is weakening them before the conservative forces in the US. In the chronic persistence of this scenario of humiliating impasse, it is possible that they opt for a military intervention restricted to some punishing bombings against precise military and political targets. From a logistic and military point of view, that would be a feasible alternative. Venezuela is very close to the United States. Besides, the United States has two big military posts very close to the Venezuelan territory in Guantanamo (Cuba) and Soto Cano (Honduras). It would not be difficult either for the United States to use facilities in Panama, Colombia, or even in Brazil. Moving a good naval force towards Venezuela’s coast would be fast as well.

Venezuela’s capacity to oppose to such attack is limited, even with its Sukhois SU-30 and its S-300 missiles. The power of Cruise missiles and stealth aircrafts is overwhelming. Besides, Venezuela does not have experience in electronic war. Once the military communication system is destroyed, there is not much they could do. The decision of making an attack of this kind or not will depend on the evolution of Venezuela’s domestic conditions and the effects desired on Trump’s voters. If the political impasse continues, if they manage to crack Venezuelan forces and economic conditions continue to deteriorate, and if U.S. conservative voters start to see positively a stronger action, the hypothesis of a restricted military intervention, without ground troops, can not only become feasible, but desirable.

A false flag operation that resulted in deaths and wounded victims to blame “dictator” Maduro would be enough to “justify” that action. Another theory, as the pathetic puppet Guaido explained, is that the Venezuelan parliament invites U.S. troops to destroy Venezuela.

It would be a high-risk bet in any case. But the cruelty and gruesomeness of US imperialism and Venezuela’s right wing should not be discounted. In order to protect its interests, the United States is not concerned about destroying countries and killing millions of people, as long as they are not North American lives. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria were destroyed, millions of lives were lost, killed, directly or indirectly, by war.

Some say there would be more brakes in Latin America to stop these kind of actions, given the existence of a huge Latin population in the U.S. but, considering Trump’s disregard to the suffering of Latin American migrants, it is not prudent to presuppose that the current Administration in the U.S. will be guided, in the case of Venezuela, by humane and rational principles. The risk of a military escalation that may lead to a prolonged civil war in Venezuela is therefore real.

In previous times, Brazil would lead Latin America against that madness. Now, however, we are a submissive neighbor, stirring continence, even literally for insane people like Bolton.

Bolsonaro opened the doors for barbarism not only in Brazil, but for our entire region.

Oscar Wilde affirmed that the United States is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

The Brazil of captains and astrologers gather, in one single historic phrase, decadence and barbarism.


Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation, North America bureau