Nicolas Maduro’s illegitimate government is collapsing.
The regime – a cabal of gangsters and drug traffickers – miscalculated thinking it could silence its critics with repression, guns and murder.
No amount of regime repression will halt events or reach a conclusion satisfactory to the regime.
But make no mistake. The outcome of this popular rebellion against tyranny will not be decided democratically at the ballot box.
Anyone who thinks there’s a viable democratic pinpoint of light at the end of this tunnel is sadly mistaken.
The bloodshed going forward could be horrific, particularly if folks now under gunfire from the thugs start returning fire – which I think will happen.
What’s happening now in Venezuela isn’t 2002-03 repeating.
The pueblo is fed up and furious, particularly after last night’s brazen attacks against unarmed civilians by “colectivo” gunmen who are being protected by Bolivarian National Police and the National Guard.
This isn’t a political movement like the one we experienced in 2002-03.
This isn’t a political conspiracy by the opposition hatched to replace Hugo Chavez with a hired bootlicker like former Fedecamaras president Pedro Carmona – who was actively duped on one hand by Chavez moles and simultaneously encouraged on the other hand by civilian and military figures high up in Rafael Caldera’s blood/political family.
Another very important difference between today and 2002-03 is that the current popular rebellion is spontaneous, bubbling up from below and is not controlled in any sense by any political groups or individual politicians.
Another important difference between today and 2002-03 is that people weren’t going hungry 12 years ago, but today everyone is doing without.
There’s not enough food, no spare parts for anything, no medicines. People now must stand in line for hours to get a smidgen of anything and they’re still hungry.
Venezuela still had hard currency in 2002-03, but now Venezuela is bankrupt, literally.
The regime already has defaulted de facto on over $43 billion that it owes the private sector even if technically a sovereign and/or Pdvsa default has not occurred yet.
Yet another key difference between 2002-03 and today is social media. Practically everyone nowadays uses Twitter, WhatsApp and other online social media. Practically everyone now has a smart phone with good quality video and photo capabilities.
The regime cannot hide its explicit, active complicity in the criminal repression of the people. There is overwhelming evidence of criminal repression by Maduro’s dictatorship that can and hopefully will be used when these thugs finally get hauled before justice in Venezuela or international courts.
Diosdado Cabello is responsible for the current violence.
Maduro will get the blame because he is president, but Maduro lacks the balls, brains and command authority to perpetrate the violence unleashed against the pueblo.
This is entirely Diosdado Cabello’s doing.
Cabello finally has shown his true criminal colors, and his day in court will come. Cabello will spend most of what’s left of his life in prison, eventually – unless he has the good luck of being gunned down before he is hauled before a real judge.
Cabello is backed by individuals now in government – including Carabobo governor Francisco Ameliach and Tachira governor Jose Vielma Mora – who share a common root: they are former Army officers that actively took part in Hugo Chavez’s failed coup attempt in 1992.
The original followers of Chavez within the Army are now the figures chiefly responsible for commanding the slaughter of the unarmed people today. First they were traitors and now they are stone-cold murderers of the people.
Are Cubans involved in the violence? The Gringo’s military contacts say, yes, definitely there are Cubans in Venezuelan uniforms attacking Venezuelan civilians with the explicit support of the National Guard and Bolivarian National Police commands.
But the extensive videos and photos online show several things:
One, the main waves of attackers consist of civilian “collective” gunmen armed mostly with 9 mm semi-automatic handguns – which only the regime is legally allowed to manufacture in Venezuela or import to the country.
Two, the “collective” gunmen are being supported and protected by uniformed Bolivarian national police and National Guard forces, who in many cases ALSO are firing live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators.
PoliCaracas cops also are supporting the “collectives,” which isn’t surprising given that many PoliCaracas officials past and present also are active “collective” members.
Three, some “collective” gunmen also have been spotted carrying what Venezuelan authorities call “armas de Guerra” or “armas largas.” So far the gunmen have used mostly semi-automatic handguns in their attacks, but be prepared for heavier firepower when the people start fighting back.
The “collectives” funded, armed and protected by Maduro’s tyrannical regime also possess thousands of FAL and AK-103 assault rifles that we have not spotted in action yet.
A small factoid from my army friends: when Chavez purchased 100,000 AK-103/104 assault rifles from his gangster Russian friends, at least 2,000 of the first shipment of 30,000 assault rifles was never delivered to the Bolivarian armed forces.
The “collectives” have civilian police forces badly outgunned. The “collectives” can (and will) deploy assault rifles against police who at best have only semi-automatic handguns.
Will the civilian population continue to withstand attacks by the “collectives” without defending themselves? I think yes.
Few people today (particularly anyone younger than 40) remember the February 1989 “caracazo,” since the students now protesting were babies or not even born at the time. Same for the bloggers active today – most were very young and weren’t in the streets back then.
But this Gringo remembers witnessing firsthand how residents of neighborhoods in downtown Caracas and La Urbina took up handguns they had in their homes and self-organized themselves to repulse looters and thugs.
If the “collectives” continue to attack the populace like they did overnight on 19 February, I believe some folks will start shooting back very soon.
Hundreds if not thousands of civilians with firearms in their possession are former military and state security personnel purged by the regime over the past 15 years. Most of these ex-military officials now live with their families in middle class neighborhoods.
Gringo knows dozens of former army and security personnel who are very well armed but like everyone else have been trying to live as best they can amid Venezuela’s accelerating implosion. If the regime continues to push, eventually there will be pushback.
“Ya basta, carajo!” is a phrase that applies more to the pueblo than to the regime, as Maduro and gang will learn going forward.
Experts that study topics like urban violence, crime and gun ownership estimate that Venezuela’s civilian population owns over 6 million unregistered and unlicensed weapons.
The Maduro regime cannot control or contain the armed “collectives” unleashed by Cabello, who (this Gringo believes) also cannot control the “motorizado” gunmen. Cabello can’t put the “collectives” back into Pandora’s Box now that he opened the lid.
The National Guard, demonstrably and empirically, is now a clear and present threat to Venezuela’s prospects for regaining any stability. The National Guard also constitutes a clear and present danger to the Army in a country where the State years ago lost (surrendered) its monopoly over the organized use of weapons.
Sounds like a civil war is coming, doesn’t it?
Henrique Capriles is still preaching peace, but events on the ground have left Capriles and other political leaders in the dust. MUD indeed is completely flat as I noted in January 2013.
I dearly hope that peace trumps violence, but everything I’ve learned working as a geopolitical analyst with 37 years of direct experience in Venezuela tells me that Venezuela – a country I love dearly – is tumbling into a prolonged civil conflict.
PS: Watch out for Henry Ramos Allup of AD, who always has worked not to advance freedom for the Venezuelan people but instead to maintain the status quo on behalf of Victor Vargas and other scumbag bankers like Juan Carlos Escotet who have profited hugely thanks to their incestuous political ties to the Bolivarian regime. Anything Ramos Allup says as a so-called political leader should be discarded immediately as a strategy to benefit the bankers who pay his way.