As the crisis in Venezuela sharpens, the US and its allies in South America are becoming bolder and bolder in their actions towards the Venezuelan regime. This weekend saw attempts at forcing aid convoys across Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro closed the borders with both countries and vowed not to let the aid into his country, claiming that it was just an attempt by the United States to smuggle weaponry into the country along with humanitarian aid.
On the Colombian border aid trucks were set on fire, with National Assembly President Juan Guaido’s supporters claiming that Maduro’s forces set the trucks on fire and Maduro’s supporters claiming that Guaido’s supporters set them on fire in a false flag operation. Nearly 300 people were injured on the Colombian border, while two people were shot to death at the Brazilian border as Venezuelan soldiers sought to keep people from reaching the aid convoys.
Venezuela is in the midst of a hyperinflationary crisis created by the Maduro regime that has resulted in shortages of food, medicine, and basic supplies. Millions of Venezuelans have already fled the country to escape impoverishment, putting additional pressure on Venezuela’s neighbors.
The key to Maduro’s survival will be keeping control of the military. Thus far his highest commanders have all pledged their loyalty to him and not to Guaido, as they stand a great deal to lose if Maduro were to be swept from power. While Guaido’s supporters claim that the overwhelming majority of the supporters side with Guaido and not with Maduro, thus far defections have been few and far between.
However there have been instances in the past in which Venezuelan soldiers have made small raids into neighboring countries to acquire food. If Maduro is unable to keep paying and feeding his soldiers, which may very well occur in the future if he is unable to keep funding his government, that would spell the end of his rule. Let’s hope for the sake of the Venezuelan people that that happens quickly and without bloodshed.