By Theodore Shoebat
Since the year 2017, Donald Trump has made statements about military operations in Venezuela. For example, in August of 2017, in a meeting in the Oval Office about Venezuela, Trump turned to his top aids and asked why can’t the US just execute a military invasion of the country. The question stunned those around him, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who have since left their positions. This event was recounted by senior administration official familiar with what was said.
McMaster and others present tried to council the president about how a military strike would ruin relations with Latin American countries. But Trump was insistent, and referenced historical events to justify his suggestion, like the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s. On August 11th of 2017, Trump shocked people by mentioning a “military option” to remove Maduro from power in a talk in his club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “We have many options for Venezuela, and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Trump told reporters outside. He made a remark that obviously implies the use of the American military in Venezuela when he said in that same conversation:
“We have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away — Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering, and they’re dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”
He emphasized on it further when he said: “a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.” On September of 2017, Trump brought up the issue of military intervention in Venezuela with the president of Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos. According to a piece from the Military Times, Trump “raised the issue with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, according to the U.S. official. Two high-ranking Colombian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing Trump confirmed the report. … Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos, the same three people said and Politico reported in February.”
On September of 2018, Trump again made affirmed that it would be an easy task to topple the Maduro government: “It’s a regime that, frankly, could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that”. In January of 2019, John Bolton held up a notebook that read “5,000 troops to Colombia.” Just recently Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered all U.S. diplomats to leave Venezuela, declaring that their presence there “has become a constraint on U.S. policy,” hinting at opening potential military options. Another interesting point is Trump’s appointment of Elliot Abrams to oversee affairs in Venezuela, the same Abrams who was in charge of the bloodbath that went on in Central America in the 1980s.
An invasion of Venezuela would look very ugly. And thats an understatement. An even uglier situation would be an occupation of Venezuela. If you thought Iraq was hard to occupy, a Venezuela occupation would by twice as worse. It would take between 100,000 and 150,000 U.S. troops to invade Venezuela, and they would be facing 356,000 Venezuelan troops in a country twice the size of Iraq. It may be easy to defeat Venezuela’s military. But, now you have to occupy the country. Venezuelan military commanders and special forces soldiers would go rogue and work with guerillas. Just as Saddam’s military was easy to defeat, but the difficulty really hit the US when American troops had to deal with insurgents, so it would be the same with Venezuela. Sure, the government itself would be easy to topple; but then you have to deal with guerrillas and paramilitaries. There are legions of guns floating around Venezuela, and there are plenty of people willing to fight for paramilitary groups against what they would perceive as American imperialism. Many American troops would be returning home in a coffin. As Rebecca Chavez, senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, said during testimony at a House hearing: “It would be prolonged, it would be ugly, there would be massive casualties”.