Sunday, February 10, 2019

Venezuela: A Tentative Prediction

While a US ground invasion to tip the scales in favor of Juan Guaido's presidential claim seems very unlikely, here's something that (to me, anyway, doesn't):

A couple of weeks ago, the US regime seized control of the Venezuelan regime's US bank accounts, putting them under control of Guaido's faction rather than Maduro's. Beyond any cash already in those accounts, the idea was that revenues generated by the state-owned Venezuelan oil company, PDVSA, would end up financing Guaido instead of supporting Maduro.

Maduro's first response was to order that ships leaving Venezuela with oil wouldn't be allowed to leave port until the oil had been paid for (with the funds going to his regime rather than Guaido's).

Yesterday [h/t Steve Trinward], PDVSA began directing incoming oil revenues to Gazprombank AO, a Russian bank (the Russian regime supports Maduro v. Guaido).

My tentative prediction: Unless something else breaks big with the Venezuelan situation pretty soon, we may see a sort of half-assed reprise of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Step 1: Guaido asks the US to help him stop Maduro from "stealing oil and oil revenues" by selling the oil and accepting the money into Maduro-controlled accounts rather than Guaido-controlled accounts.

Step 2: The US blockades Venezuela, intercepting tankers and not letting them leave until it's been established that the oil they're carrying was purchased with money deposited to Guaido-controlled accounts.

Step 3: The Russians send ships to escort tankers carrying oil for which Maduro, rather than Guaido, was paid.

Step 4: US-Russian naval standoff (or even violent encounter).

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