Venezuela finally plunged into chaos
Venezuelan authorities finally did what they should have done long time ago - President Nicolas Maduro introduced state of emergency - Estado de Alarma - for a period of one month. According to observers, Maduro was too late to realize that the games are over, no matter how events unfold, no matter how softly he behaved in relation to opponents, no one will forget about labels attached to him. In addition, staff of the US Embassy in Venezuela was asked to leave the country within 72 hours. In other words, Maduro decided to aggravate relations Washington and his opposition, despite direct warnings, in particular from the US presidential adviser on security issues John Bolton.
Does the head of Venezuela have some kind of serious and reliable support, which can help him to go against the "imperialistic evil"? Or does he just act like that since he's cornered?
Yes, demand to leave Venezuela, issued by Maduro's government to American diplomats, came after the decision of the US State Department to completely evacuate its diplomatic staff, and more likely was a propagandistic step. However, on the other hand, evacuation of the diplomatic mission is announced not only because of dangerous situation inside the country, but also when there's a readiness to attack.
If we look at current situation from this angle, then Nicolas Maduro showed his readiness to accept this challenge. Even thoigh Maduro's regime has support of such serious players of the international arena as Russia, Turkey, China, South Africa and Iran, it's hard to imagine that they will be able to provide something other than humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Some of them are not even capable to do at least that. Authorities will mostly have to deal with exsting troubles themselves.
Today it doesn’t even matter why Venezuelan power industry had failed - because of American hacker attack or sabotage, as authorities say, or because of miscalculations made by specialists in this sphere, or because of systematic underfunding of the energy industry, which resulted in shortage of qualified personnel.
What matters is how to restore it as soon as possible, because blackout makes the most difficult situation in the country's history even more difficult. Naturally, blackout paralyzed all other areas and branches of the Venezuelan state economy. Population is literally on the verge of death, especially in cities, where people are not able to go to the closest river with a bucket. Half-working enterprises stopped they work completely. Hospitals can only receive patients and assist them on outpatient basis. Transport infrastucture is out of order. National football championship was suspended, just like baseball tournaments, which is a number one sport in Venezuela. Surge in criminal activity also complicates current situation.
Some settlements of Venezuela are now under control of various groups and gangs that ousted law forces and even established their own laws. But at least they keep situation in such towns and settlements under control. As Venezuelan journalist Ramon Vegas wrote, there is complete anarchy in large cities. There's widespread robbery, looting, both police and dispatched army units just can't deal with it. There are not enough forces - security forces took control of all strategic objects of the country, plus fulfill their main functions, but when it comes to additional work, current human resources are clearly not enough.
It's interesting that the National Assembly of Venezuela, headed by Juan Guido, who calls himself "acting president", issued a similar decree on the introduction of state of emergency at the same time as Maduro's government. In addition, opposition leader issued another decree calling for population to take to the streets and once again try to achieve early and, most importantly, democratic elections and, at the same time, get rid of current Venezuelan government headed by Nicolas Maduro.
This situation demonstrates that authorities and opposition have approximate equal power. We're not talking about some kind of political equilibrium, but about an existing divide in the Venezuelan electorate. Part of the population accuses Juan Guaido and the United States of all troubles, since they don't allow legitimate authorities to work normally. Others consider Guaido's rise a consequence of lack of power of current authorities and Maduro personally since he brought potentially richest country in South America, which possessed energy and other resources, to poverty and devastation. Outrage of this part of Venezuelans is also growing due to the fact that even though Maduro knew what he did to his native country very well, even though he realized his own inability to lead the state, he and his government still didn't announce resignation and continues to cling to power, persuading Venezuelan people that they are able to bring the country out of this crisis, Ramon Vegas notes.
Will this crisis end? Le Mond writes that recently, in one of his interviews, Guaido said that he was ready to give "permission for American intervention based on sovereignty of Venezuela and his presidential powers." International law doesn't really prohibit any state from asking for foreign military support on its territory, Le Mond stresses, but it expressed doubt that Juan Guaido has powers required to ask for external military intervention. The fact that over 50 countries accept him as the acting president is not enough to obtain authority for external military assistance.
International law says that the government that can't fulfill its obligations due to difficult situation in the country can ask for foreign military intervention. In addition, using this option can be extremely dangerous. Using Venezuela as an example, opposition of any state will be possible to recognize a new legitimate government, and then ask for military acting, which until now has been commonly called intervention.