There is a coup d'etat alert in Venezuela. Mass anti-government protests are happening throughout the South American country on the anniversary of the end of the country's last dictatorship in 1958. While the opposition has frequently protested the government of Nicolas Maduro, due to increasing authoritarian tendencies, widespread shortages of basic food, medicine and consumer products, severe hyper-inflation and overall discontent, this time around may be different.
Maduro's opposition has friends in high places, and they are explicitly expressing their support for his overthrow. Just yesterday U.S. Vice President Mike Pence issued an unprecedented video supporting the opposition during today's protests and recognizing the leadership of recently-elected National Assembly President and new face of the opposition, Juan Guaidó.
He also published an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal, again supporting the opposition's efforts to oust what he termed 'the dictator Maduro'.
U.S. Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, who has Trump's ear on Latin America, also issued a series of tweets warning the Venezuelan security forces 'not to cross a line' with a response they are 'not prepared to face', insinuating the U.S. could take some kind of military action against Venezuela if security forces move to repress anti-government protests.
This marks an unprecedented level of explicit aggression and interventionism from Washington cleared aimed at supporting an overthrow of Maduro and his government.
Despite recent pockets of military rebellions or plans to conspire against Maduro's government, the high ranking military command appears to be sticking with Maduro, 'until he's gone.'
And Maduro has said he will 'revise relations with the U.S.' after Pence's hostile comments.
All eyes on deck for what could happen in Venezuela today. No one should cheer on a coup.
For more information on Venezuela, the Maduro government and Chavez's movement, check out my book, Confidante of 'Tyrants'.