With a great military deployment off the coast of the South American country, USA. USA It wants to stop the smuggling of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, into the United States.
In addition, Trump’s Secretary of Defense Mark Ester, Attorney General William Barr and Head of the National Security Council Robert O’Brien announced at the press conference on Wednesday that the mission should serve to restrict the freedom of action of the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro.
Last year, the USA recognized the opposition politician Juan Guaidó, who declared himself president, as the head of state of Venezuela and imposed sanctions on the country.
Now that Maduro is no longer just an undesirable head of government, but also a “narcoterrorist” condemned by a New York court, the sanctions have a marked meaning of military power.
The United States sends, among other things, Air Force carriers, helicopters, and surveillance aircraft to the Venezuelan coast.
This is part of this type of mission, whose objective “is to stop the flow of illegal drugs,” said José Ruiz, spokesman for the US Southern Command. The wing of the US Army that organizes and carries out the operation.
All of this is standard in operations against organized drug trafficking, Ruiz told the Miami Herald newspaper.
The experts, however, do not agree on the equipment of the military operation. “The Navy team, which is being sent (off the Venezuelan coast), is quite limited, it’s more of a show than anything else,” wrote Shannon O’Neil, Latin America expert at the Council of Foreign Relations think-tank.
Adam Isaacson, from the NGO Washington Office on Latin America, on the other hand, wrote on Twitter that this is military equipment that must be taken seriously. A plane of the type used alone would cost more than $250 million.
So what’s the point of this expensive operation? There are several theories about it. One is that it could all be a diversionary tactic.
The United States is now the country with the most cases of coronavirus, unemployment figures are astronomical, and the economy is at its bottom.
What can be done when the country is not doing well? Plotting a foreign policy conflict!
If that was the idea that was around in the US. In the USA, it has not been very successful so far.
Venezuela does not matter on the covers of major news portals such as CNN and Fox News, nor in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Nor could anything be read about Maduro’s open letter, warning the US about endless conflict like in Vietnam. Currently no news can beat the coronavirus.
However, if Trump expected the military operation to go as unnoticed as possible, he could not have chosen a better time.
Some experts consider that such operation is a tactic of the Trump electoral campaign. One of the most important states, when it comes to winning the November presidential elections, is Florida. People with Latin American roots are a significant part of the population in that region, and Trump wants them on his side, O’Neil wrote to DW.
“These hard-line actions by the Trump Administration reflect the importance of Florida in the election, and not a well-thought-out strategy to end Maduro’s authoritarian regime in Venezuela,” O’Neil said.
“These symbolic acts do nothing to relax Maduro’s power control. (The actions) should be perceived as a political strategy of a Trump government concerned about the November elections,” he said.
Whatever the reason for this escalation by the United States, Michael Shifter, chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue expert group, sharply criticizes her: “There is no justification for using Navy ships of this size in the midst of a pandemic.”
“The moment is extremely unfortunate,” he adds.
Shifter fears that a misstep or carelessness on either side could lead to an outbreak of violence. Not surprisingly, the Maduro government has condemned US military operations before its doors and “is trying to capitalize on it and fueling nationalist sentiments,” said Shifter, who teaches Latin American politics at Georgetown University in Washington.
“The highest priority for the United States,” according to Shifter, “especially given the likely catastrophic dimension that COVID-19 will have in Venezuela, should be humanitarian aid and save as many lives as possible.”