Venezuela Invokes Martial Law: “A State of Exception” ---Military Junta Possible as Venezuela Military Called into Quell Rioters in Caracas.
Venezuela like margarine has a ubiquitous presence in the USA. Every time, you see or fill up in a Citgo gas station, you are directly putting money into the pocket of the Venezuelan dictators—Hugo Chavez [before he died] and President Nicolas Maduro [before he is about to die].
Why is that the case?
11% of US oil consumption comes directly from Venezuela. Through Citgo, Venezuela and the U.S. subsidiaries own eight U.S. refineries. These particular refineries are highly prized by both Venezuela and the US because they are especially configured to refine HEAVY CRUDE which has a high sulfur content. This heavy crude oil can then be sold on the world markets at a major discount to lighter crudes. Like many geographically disparate areas around the world, oil and gas play an exceedingly important part in the internal dynamics of Venezuela.
American oil and gas interests in countries like the Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Venezuela are often wrapped in all sorts of different narratives which include such blistering words as ‘democracy’, ’liberation’, ‘freedom’ and so on.
You get the idea….
Venezuela is not really very much different than the other countries listed above.
Several decades ago, a lowly military officer was placed with our approval into the Chancellorship of the failing institution known as Venezuela. He became so obnoxious and incompetent that our CIA saw it fit to attempt a coup against him. True to form, the coup failed.
Chavez was mad, rightfully so. He continued on his dysfunctional course of leading the country to poverty, corruption and stagnation.
However, he left our oil interests alone. Instead we found concern about our geopolitical interests not south of our border but in some 16,000 miles away in Iraq then Afghanistan.
For the most part of the past fifty years, South America has been of little if no concern to American foreign policy interests. With exception of our frisky CIA and some of our SOF that have been playing in the jungles and cities of Colombia, Chile, Bolivia etc. In particular, the CIA had a momentous burst of history when it arranged for the assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende and put in his place, General Pinochet. However, this South American shenanigans was not quite movie material for our CIA office embedded in Hollywood. So these ‘stand downs’ , ‘false flags’ and ‘assassinations’ in the Southern Hemisphere would not be dramatized for the movie audience, like Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Homeland et. al.
Southern Command, the military headquarters located in Miami was at best an appendage to an inert military civilian South American foreign policy. Also, SOCOM, Special Operations Command, located in Tampa, Florida was replete with sex, mischief and dinner parties. General David Petraeus as SOCOM Commander and DCI, was literally ‘blown away‘ at the military command center of Iraq, Afghanistan.
Sidebar: Why NOT locate SOCOM in Florida? Beautiful beaches, great fishing and gorgeous socialites married to busy doctors and four star military officers bereft of meaningful human companionship….all on our tax dollars!
Now back to Venezuela.
The present scenario of young students fighting the oppressive government is familiar.
Then what makes this scenario so different from the one in Libya, Egypt, Syria?
The nature of 21st century internet coverage by other young aficionados of revolutions have afforded a worldwide audience a chance to see the inevitable pattern of informal opposition to any ruling power, irrespective of geographical location. What one sees is that a few organized students start off with rocks bottles, stones. Next we see the initial confrontation against the police escalate to Molotov cocktails and then eventually lighting cars on fires and gunshot. The sequence of events is inevitable because the drama of militant confrontation follows a very strict script. If one deviates from it, the news disappears or the opposition snuffs out the protests. However, if the internet can sustain a conflict for the viewership for whatever Machiavellian or ‘altruistic’ reasons, then the viewership escalates exponentially.
Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant film, NETWORK, presage decades ago the necessity for TV [then] to orchestrate or arrange for riots, protests for whatever reasons , as a means of entertainment for the masses.
Am I being facetious or callous?
Bread and circus had always been a part of the historical imperative of political change, whether by force or by consensus. The only difference between Venezuela and the Ukraine is the military. Once a leader calls upon the services of his/her military to suppress political dissent, then all bets are off as to the outcome. The military as in Egypt and Syria can and will support the ruling elite---which is usually the military.
It is well to remember that in Venezuela, it was the military that brought Chavez into power and keeps Maduro in his place. But once you serve at the good graces of any military, you should well remember, the sullen words of Brutus: “I come not to bury Caesar; but to praise him.”
Good luck Venezuela, you will need it.
America is out for a South American Siesta------ and we will back----- never!