What do we do about Venezuela’s Maduro?

Over the weekend, I spoke with a Venezuelan living in Virginia. He was in the Dallas area at a religious retreat.

So I asked him the same question I’ve asked many others: “What about a U.S. intervention to remove Maduro?”

His answer is the same as I’ve heard from others: “Everybody in Venezuela wants it to happen.”

To be fair, I have not done a scientific survey, and I am speaking with anti-Maduro exiles living in the U.S. At the same time, Maduro is not that popular down there. I wouldn’t be surprised if many Venezuelans living in the country agree with an intervention, too.

Jorge Castañeda, the Mexican writer, looked at the issue this week. He wrote:

Recently, Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, or O.A.S., made a stunning statement at a rally on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, warning that no option was off the table in Venezuela, and in particular, that a “military intervention” to “overthrow” its government, could not be discarded. Some observers interpreted this as meaning that an invasion of Venezuela by other countries was now on the agenda.

Others, more intelligently, surmised that Mr. Almagro was referring to a domestic involvement by the Venezuelan armed forces: in short, a military coup d’état.

I don’t really know what he meant, either, but his concerns are completely real.

First, this is no longer a domestic crisis. There are countless Venezuelans walking into Colombia and Brazil. They are naturally putting pressure on social services and creating a backlash from the locals. The number is over 2 million, according to Castañeda.

Second, Venezuela is more than a failed state. It is a disaster. Venezuelans are hungry. They are ill lacking medicine supplies. The country cannot provide basic services, from electrical power to a police force. Let’s not forget that violence is rampant, in large part because the state has failed.

Will the U.S. participate in an overthrow? I would say no. At the same time, we should be encouraging a military coup and assistance to bring in emergency supplies as soon as Maduro is gone.

What do they do with Maduro? He should put on trial, and let the Venezuelans figure that out.

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