Calls for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela are growing, most recently from Senator Marco Rubio. Even Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States has said he would not foreclose the military option. Yet as devastating as the regime of President Nicolas Maduro has been for Venezuela and its people, and as compelling the need for change, a military response – especially one led by the U.S. – is unrealistic and would be counterproductive. Instead, Venezuela’s American neighbors and their democratic partners outside the hemisphere will have to find another way.
Venezuela’s deepening misery is captured in breathtaking statistics and heartbreaking stories. In just five years the economy has shrunk in half and inflation is nearing 1 million percent, leaving nine out of every 10 Venezuelans in poverty. The health system is in tatters, hospitals lacking medical personnel and even basic supplies.
Maduro’s response has been to double down on repression. His government now tracks citizens through the electronic “carnet de la patria” identification cards, threatening to cut access to government-controlled food and medicines to those who might dissent. The regime also has taken to arresting not just members of the political opposition but also many from within the bureaucracy and military ranks, with mounting reports of torture and death in prisons.