Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro presides over a virtual failed state. The dictator succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, who heralded in so-called 21stcentury socialism. With the oil prices dropping, the country has been ravaged by economic destitution. We have rolling blackouts, people eating their pets, lack of basic supplies, and increased crime. Hungry Venezuelans, slaughtering the animals for meat, are breaking into zoos. They’re eating out of trashcans. Hospitals reportedly don’t have basic items like gloves and soap, with conditions mirroring those seen in the 19th century. Common medicine is hard to find. Venezuelans from all social classes and levels of education have now resorted to prostitution for groceries even some children have participated.
To bolster Maduro, Cuba has reportedly deployed some 20,000 troops to the nation, with aid packages. These aid packages have forced Cuba to start rationing their own goods, as it’s started to drain their resources. Cuba says there are no troops in the country, which is just as credible as North Korean state television. Cuban security forces have been seen protecting Maduro reportedly no longer trusts his own military.
So, with conditions worsening, how is it that Maduro has survived with a growing opposition movement? Well, it’s highly fractious and keeping it united has proven to be "devilishly difficult,” according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. There are multiple leaders jockeying to become the successor, or thinks they should be, and that division will surely impact any effort to get rid of this socialist dictator. Still, Secretary Pompeo thinks Maduro will be forced out, but that could take a long time if this drama keeps up (via WaPo):
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a candid assessment of Venezuela’s opposition during a closed-door meeting in New York last week, saying that the opponents of President Nicolás Maduro are highly fractious and that U.S. efforts to keep them together have been more difficult than is publicly known.
“Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult,” Pompeo said in an audio recording obtained by The Washington Post. “The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro.”
The remarks provide a rare window into the challenges the Trump administration faces as the momentum to oust Maduro stalls and some of the countries that initially backed the opposition explore alternative diplomatic paths to resolve the crisis.
Pompeo said he was confident Maduro would eventually be forced out, but “I couldn’t tell you the timing.”
In the meantime, Venezuelans are crushed under the brutal boot of socialism. Every day is a struggle. The collapse of Venezuela has been the worst recorded for any nation in nearly 50 years outside from war.