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Venezuelan Crisis: The New Cold War Spreads to South America

Venezuelan Crisis: The New Cold War Spreads to South America
Our final topic, picked by you, dear listeners, earlier in a poll on our Facebook page, is “Venezuelan Crisis: The New Cold War Spreads To South America”, focusing on the latest crisis in Latin America.

The New Cold War between the unipolar and multipolar blocs spread to South America with the Venezuelan Crisis, and next week's Lima Group meeting in Canada will hint at what's to come next. Self-professed wannabe "president" Juan Guaido is publicly backed by the US, its hemispheric allies, and several of its junior partners elsewhere across the world; Maduro has the support of Great Powers such as Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and India; and the rest of the international community has yet to take sides though that might change by next week. Maduro rejected the EU's ultimatum to hold new elections by next week, so it's possible that many of its constituent members might soon follow in the EU Parliament's recent footsteps by recognizing him as Venezuela's "interim president".

Just like during the most dramatic crises of the Old Cold War, this latest one in the New Cold War is dividing the world into opposing camps, and there are veritably certain proxy dimensions to this asymmetrical conflict. Russia and China invested billions of dollars in Venezuela that could disappear if new US-backed authorities renege on those financial, resource, military, and infrastructure deals. In addition, the US has made no secret out of its desire to capture Venezuela's oil reserves, which are the largest in the world. From the US' perspective, Venezuela is the beating heart of multipolarity in the hemisphere, and its strategic partnerships with Russia and China make Washington very uncomfortable. Trump is also ideologically opposed to the country's socialist model and hates it with a passion.

As of now, the military has largely remained loyal to Maduro, though Guadio's access to upwards of $7 billion of recently seized PDVSA assets in the US could give him plenty of cash to throw around in attempting to bribe his way into power. Furthermore, the US' latest sanctions could exacerbate the economic crisis in the country and therefore catalyze more pronounced protests that could be exploited for Color Revolution purposes. In the worst-case scenario, a multilateral US-led military invasion by the Lima Group countries could also take place under the pretext of responding to deteriorating humanitarian conditions but in reality designed to implement a regime change there. Developments are therefore unfolding very quickly in the Bolivarian Republic, and it's anyone's guess what could happen next.

Andrew Korybko is joined by Nino Pagliccia, Venezuelan author of "Cuba Solidarity in Canada — Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations" and a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia.

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