There has been a chorus of opinion calling for a negotiated solution in Venezuela that eschews direct military intervention. This chorus tends to ignore the brute force that is being employed every day by the usurper Nicolas Maduro and his clique. Consider last month’s destruction by the disloyal elements of the Venezuelan armed forces of much needed food aid, in direct disobedience to the orders of Venezuelan President Guaido.
How bad is the situation in Venezuela? The middle class has become impoverished, and the poor have become emaciated. Within the borders of Venezuela only one person in eight lives above the poverty line, and most of them are cronies of Nicolas Maduro. Since 2000 the homicide rate has tripled to a chilling 90 per 100,000. If this rate applied evenly every year, over an 80 year period the average Venezuelan would face a 7 percent probability of being murdered.
Diseases that had been controlled, and had all but disappeared, have returned with a vengeance. These include tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria and in the south of the country, malaria. It is estimated that upwards of 600, 000 children have
been left behind by their parents in Venezuela, as parents seek to eke a living abroad — many of these children are in the care of informal guardians with no legal standing as stepparents. Then there is the recent revelation in The New York Times that Cuban doctors withheld medical care from opposition activists. One woman was denied lifesaving oxygen because it was being saved for the May 2018 sham election as part of the government’s macabre “get out the Socialist vote” scheme in which access to medical care became contingent on one’s electoral support for Nicolas Maduro.
Last week an investigative commission dispatched to Venezuela was kept away from the large public hospitals such as Antonio Marıa Pineda Central Hospital in Barquisimeto where medical care has nearly collapsed. Caracas Chronicles report that one woman arriving for a c-section was warned by hospital staff to bring her own supplies; cold packs, gloves, saline solution, bottles of clean water, and a small hook used for newborn babies.
The commission did visit the Enrique Tejera Hospital in Valencia. When a group of doctors had the temerity to try to speak with the commissioners, they were manhandled by the cordon of security forces there to isolate the U.N. fact finders. One of the doctors, Ronny Mantilla, didn’t get through the U.N. mission, but he did manage to talk to the press, for which act of free speech he is now being pursued by the secret police.
Tal Cual reports that the visit of the U.N. commission to Lara was accompanied by savage attacks on the press by “colectivos” (bands of thugs working for Mr. Maduro), including an early morning attack on the offices of the newspaper “El Informador,” and threats to burn alive newspaper correspondents Emmanuel De Sousa and Reinaldo Gomez. Not content with these acts of intimidation, government functionaries harassed reporters Neicary Albarrn (El Informador) and Agatha Reyes (La Prensa de Lara).
While the U.N. visit led to another round of repression directed at the press, and at those willing to talk to them, Radio Noticias reports that Dr. Rene Rivas, head of the Lara State Medical Association, hoped they would come back more regularly — as the visit led to the sudden arrival of supplies just ahead of the U.N. visitors.
After the visit U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, a former apologist for Hugo Chavez, attempted to spin the U.N. report on Venezuela by suggesting the possibility that harsh conditions in the country were being made worse by U.S. economic sanctions directed against Venezuelan government officials involved in drug trafficking. While the report was not as shameful a cover up as many had feared it would be, it ended with a pathetic plea for mr. Maduro to do something about the problems facing Venezuela. He’s become very good at ignoring mealy-mouthed pleas that he behave himself.
Well, the chorus calling for discussion now has something else to ignore — earlier this week Russian soldiers arrived in Caracas to back the thug Nicolas Maduro. The armed Russians are not there to cure those afflicted with tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria or malaria. They are instead the “remedy” for a population not yet ready to abandon democracy nor to accept the chains of slavery in which Mr. Maduro would shackle them.
Thus far the world has done exactly nothing about the armed intervention of the Russians. The notion that it would be possible to talk Mr. Maduro into leaving the position of power he usurps has long since been exposed as a fantasy. This week the assertion that that outside intervention could be avoided has likewise been revealed to be a myth. External military intervention has already happened.
The arrival of Russian muscle signifies the closing of a window of opportunity during which Venezuela’s military might have disposed of the usurper Maduro. Now Venezuelans left in their impoverished and blacked out country face a nightmarish choice — confront the usurper and the Russian invaders he has brought in to back him, and die quickly, or try to make do in the kleptocratic hulk that was Venezuela only to die slowly as malnutrition turns to disease.
Meanwhile Russia sends soldiers to help Mr. Maduro kill unarmed civilians, while the “civilized world” sends sternly worded letters to contain Mr. Maduro and his thugs. Every day we wait, stopping Mr. Maduro gets harder, and more innocent people die.