Trouble Awaits Any Military Intervention in Venezuela

Jan 25, 2019 | 22:52 GMT

Military troops during a ceremony at the Fuerte Tiuna Military Complex in Caracas on Jan. 10.

Military troops are seen during a ceremony at the Fuerte Tiuna Military Complex in Caracas on Jan. 10. Venezuela's military could rapidly circle its wagons against any external intervention.



  • Many lower-level Venezuelan military personnel could desert their positions if ordered to crack down on opposition demonstrators.
  • At the same time, the country's armed forces could quickly muster a hasty defense to resist any outside intervention intent on overthrowing the government.
  • Any intervening force would face numerous challenges, including difficult terrain, logistical issues, guerrilla attacks and the prospect of fighting beleaguered but well-equipped Venezuelan forces.

With the United States and much of Latin America recognizing Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president -- declaring President Nicolas Maduro's government as "illegitimate" in the process -- it appears that the country is heading toward a chaotic, violent transition of power. As the stakes rise, so does the possibility that Venezuela could witness an external military intervention (an option that Washington has so far refused to take off the table in its desire to see the back of Maduro), particularly if Caracas responds with mass violence against opposition protesters. But despite the weak state of Venezuela's military, any military intervention in the country is unlikely to be a simple and seamless affair....

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