14:49 GMT29 January 2020
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    The political situation in Venezuela further escalated this week, with opposition leader Juan Guadio calling for more military support, as he attempts to turn up the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro. But would further intervention by the US only make the situation worse?

    Sputnik spoke with Hugo Perez Hernaiz, associate professor of sociology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, to discuss the prospect of US military intervention in Venezuela.

    Sputnik: Will the US intervene militarily in Venezuela?

    Hugo Perez Hernaiz: I see that as very unlikely. For all the talk from the US administration about all the options on the table, and of helping Guaido with direct intervention. The truth is that the US doesn't have the military assets in the area to do that in the short term.

    It's very doubtful that the US would intervene without the support of Brazil and Colombia, and that support doesn't seem to be forthcoming.

    I wouldn't totally close off the possibility for the future, but as Guaido has already asked almost directly for intervention, when the issue about international aid that was held up in the border occurred, and nothing happened. I see it as very unlikely, at least in the short term.

    Sputnik: How do you see the situation in Venezuela panning out in the coming weeks?

    Hugo Perez Hernaiz: It's very complicated. Part of the Guaido issue is something that happened in the US administration post factum, Guaido was sworn in as President at the assembly and so on, and then the United States jumped on this wagon.

    Probably the US, the European community, Uruguay and other stakeholders in this would prefer that the Venezuelan government negotiated an electoral solution to this issue, that's what I think they would prefer to see.

    READ MORE: Russian and US Positions on Venezuelan Crisis are Incompatible — Lavrov

    It's easy to see Guaido as a puppet of the United States, but Guaido and his group have also been calling the shots and pulling along the international community with them.

    About the oil, well yes of course, Venezuela has large reserves. But the truth is also that production in Venezuela has been going down since at least 2008, and it's not nearly the export giant it used to be until twenty years ago, it's probably exporting less than a million barrels a day right now, and that number is going down.

    I don't know how much that plays into the issue. Of course it does, it's one of the variables but also you have to remember that before the sanctions in 2017, and before the very recent sanctions in 2018, Venezuela was a very reliable provider for the US.

    It had tried to diversify its export market to China, but that was very complicated, there's a premium that you have to consider if you export oil all the way to the other side of the world.

    The refineries in the United States handled the particularly heavy crude oil that Venezuela exports, so it was a match that worked until 2018, until very recently in fact so there is oil there, but it's complicated.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    military intervention, Venezuela crisis, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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