As Venezuela sinks deeper into total meltdown, past predictions about what the Bolivarian Revolution would ultimately mean for the country, haven’t come to be.
Since Hugo Chavez first took office democratically in 1999 (subsequent ballot wins were fraudulent because of Chavismo control of state resources to finance campaigns, as well as other vote meddling factors like intimidation, coercion, etc.)…
To his death and the election of his anointed successor Nicolas Maduro in 2013 and up to the current state of the crisis…
Venezuela has defied all of the experts, and defied logic, leaving the pundits scratching their heads. So let’s take a look at some predictions of our own for 2019, as millions of Venezuelans flee, hundreds of thousands die from lack of medical care and violence, and everyone goes hungry.
With Maduro having just begun a second term as President which most of the world views as illegitimate, more eyes are now on Venezuela than ever.
Prediction 1: Oil prices rebound and the crisis is relieved (Odds: 100 to 1)
Not only is a significant increase in oil prices nowhere in sight, it also wouldn’t help Venezuela very much if they did. The state oil company PDVSA is now pumping, processing and shipping at record lows, and any possible increases in production would be the result of new co-op drilling agreements with Russia and China. The problem is, this potential revenue increase would go to pay off past loans owed to Russia and China.
Think about The Sopranos and paying a gangster his “Vig” (exorbitant interest) on a loan he extended you. Then think about borrowing even more money from the same gangster to pay him back on the past debts you owe him! You can never catch up.
No one can get an accurate handle on the combined debts VZ owes to these two countries, to be paid in oil and discounted oil, but some estimates have it at $50 billion.
So increased oil revenue wouldn’t really help dig VZ out of its hole. It would only help China and Russia fill the holes they dug for themselves by lending so much money to VZ in the first place, all for the sake of “geopolitical influence” in the Western Hemisphere, with free and cheap oil as an added bonus.
Prediction 2: The military deposes Maduro (Odds: 9 to 5)
Those are great odds! The problem is, it’s even money that the new boss will be the same as the old boss. Maduro has lasted this long because he’s given his men in fatigues free reign to rob and plummet VZ through several schemes, going so far as to giving them complete control over food distribution. Perks like these are hard to say goodbye to, and military leaders aren’t anxious to join the impoverished masses in the name of democracy and justice.
Prediction 3: Outside military intervention (Odds: 10 to 1)
Venezuela’s neighbors can’t handle the current influx of migrants, let alone what’s to come in 2019 (you ain’t seen nothing yet!), but they simply don’t have the backbone to attack a fellow Latin nation, never mind that the fellow nation is responsible for so much human suffering.
One would think that with new conservative leaders in Colombia and Brazil, and a little support from Washington, the time would be ripe for military action, the stigma of even peripheral American interventionism in Latin America be damned. But it’s not likely to happen soon under the current situation.
However, we don’t see many people complaining about the state of Panama these days, and Trump isn’t exactly one to cater to Latin American public opinion. So if Maduro decides to get more aggressive with Colombia over competing oil claims in the Gulf, or against Guyana over the Essequibo territory and oil deposits there, all bets are off. That gives America more legitimate reasons to come in militarily. It’s a fairly long shot, but don’t totally dismiss the possibility that Maduro does something really stupid that almost invites American forces in. (The man specializes in stupid.)
And remember that Trump is also thinking about scores of Venezuelan migrants eventually making their way to Tijuana.
Prediction 4: Maduro resigns, hightails it to Havana (Odds: 5 to 1)
If he hasn’t done it already, it doesn’t look like he will now. With a chance to sun on the beach sipping Mojitos, with billions in the bank, this is just one more example of Maduro’s many poor decisions. Could happen though.
Prediction 5: Civil War (Odds: Not Accepting Wagers)
Since Chavez de-armed the population, the prospect of a Civil War just isn’t there. In addition, the people are defeated, lack the will, and most still believe in socialism! This is the tragedy of Venezuela, and a lesson for the rest of the world:
The pueblo doesn’t blame Chavez or his socialism for their current misery, they blame Maduro and his socialism, even though the two have enacted identical policies.
The majority still believe in something for nothing, and as long as they get it, they’re happy. If they dug up Hugo’s corpse tomorrow and put him on the ballot, half the people would vote for him, totally ignorant…still ignorant after two decades…that he started this entire mess in the first place.
Prediction 6: The status quo continues (Odds: Even Money)
Cuba has done it for decades, so why not Venezuela? Let the people leave, leaving less “complainers” to worry about, making them easier to identify, subjugate, harass and arrest. Fidel taught Hugo everything he knew about this, and Hugo taught Nicolas.
Things do not look good for Venezuela in 2019. Unfortunately, they don’t look very promising for the subsequent years either.