Venezuela is not a country with a government, it is a hostage situation. The Maduro regime in Caracas has declared its ransom demands. They are actively robbing their captives, and make no mistake, they are executing many of those captives on a daily basis.
Among its top ransom demands, the government in Caracas wants to restructure its enormous and dynamic debt burden. Their state-owned oil apparatus, PDVSA, was once a lucrative slush-fund/money-laundering operation for Maduro and the Cuban proxies in the upper echelons of power in Venezuelan politics. Now, PDVSA is financially underwater and struggling to make good on its obligations. Its debt could be restructured but only if US sanctions are lifted. This is the outcome the Maduro
crime family government desperately wants but it is one that is unlikely to materialize any time soon.
In the meantime, the people of Venezuela have been robbed blind by an inflation rate that nears an astronomical 500 percent. The International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will skyrocket beyond two thousand percent in 2018. In addition to this, IMF data reveals plummeting metrics as far as the eye can see: GDP, gross national savings, imports and exports, investment, and employment are all down dramatically and will continue their downward spiral for the foreseeable future. The transference of wealth from the people of Venezuela to their captors is complete as demonstrated by Maduro munching empanadas during a live national address while his people slaughter zoo animals for subsistence.
If starvation or disease won’t kill you in Venezuela, snipers and various other government goons just might. After a Maduro-orchestrated re-arrangement of the government, the socialist dictator has given himself nearly unchecked autocratic authority over the nation, leaving his battered and starving people little or no recourse but to succumb to his will and die, or fight back and die. It would be tempting to blame this on the misguided malfeasance of rabid leftists engaged in yet another failed experiment in socialism, but there’s more to it than that. This wasn’t the accidental product of revisionist history and myopia combined. This was a premeditated crime.
Since Mises and Hayek intellectually dismembered socialism during the Calculation Debate, socialism has proven itself to be a predictable catastrophe. The only logical reason any regime would ever implement it isn’t that it might, after decades of disasters, work this time. The only logical reason is that it is a surefire way to enrich entrenched politicians and their cronies. Socialism isn’t an ideology, it is a conspiracy to commit theft and murder disguised as politics. If you knew there was a violent hostage situation occurring in your neighborhood, you’d probably do something to stop it, unless you’re a raging psychopath or criminally apathetic. You’d call the police or, if you’re capable enough, you could actually intervene personally. Venezuela is no different, and it is of the utmost importance that this calamity be addressed decisively and immediately.
The U.S. could cripple Venezuelan-owned Citgo with a complete ban on Venezuelan oil imports and leave Rosneft holding the bag for the PDVSA’s massive debt burden. (Rosneft, a state-owned Russian oil concern possesses a nearly fifty percent stake in Citgo, which it received as collateral in exchange for a $1.5 billion loan to Caracas.) Efforts to increase U.S. domestic oil production will need to be accelerated to make up for the loss, but this will be a temporary situation. Further embargoes and sanctions on the Maduro regime will build up more pressure on the Venezuelan government, but it won’t compel a change in leadership. This is a long-term strategy. The point is to constantly find ways to weaken the Maduro government, to fatten it up for the kill, so to speak.
A fleet of ships bearing food, medicine and cash should be mustered and sent to the waters off Venezuela’s coast and a broad propaganda campaign announcing their arrival could be transmitted to the Venezuelan people by a variety of methods. Put a bounty on Maduro’s head, dead or alive (preferably dead, what do we want with him?). His closest associates and other ancillary members of his crime syndicate should be targeted as well. Continually increase the bounty on him and his family until their doom becomes inevitable. Make the people of Venezuela rich by actively promoting his regime’s total and violent ouster.
In exchange for US largesse, we’ll need a sizable piece of the action in Venezuela’s new economy. We’ll need major control of their opening markets and vast compensation for our efforts. In so doing, we will help enrich our own country by helping them enrich theirs. We can both be winners, but only if Maduro and his partners in crime are finally brought to justice. And if anyone would like to make a comparison between this proposal and the regime-change endeavors in the Middle East, there’s an important difference: In Venezuela we are not dealing with an unwashed horde of heathen savages such as what we confront in Iraq and Syria and beyond. Venezuela is overwhelmingly Christian. There is no way to portray this intervention as a crusade. This is a rescue mission, and the people of Venezuela will see it for what it is and come to love us for it. We can deliver, but not unconditionally.
Original artwork by Jesse Comeau