Maduro’s philosophy right now seems to be, “if I’m going down, I’m taking some people down with me.” And those include leaders, civilians, and soldiers in both Guyana and Venezuela. Since the Chavista took office in 2013, he has done nothing good for the people of Venezuela. He has heartlessly overseen mass migration, unprecedented inflation of the Venezuelan currency, medical and food shortages, and the overall suffering of the Venezuelan people. He has stood his ground in the face of US sanctions, which, coupled with his government’s mismanagement, theft, misappropriation, and squandering of Venezuela’s oil revenues, has run the Venezuelan economy into the ground. Maduro was almost ousted by the Trump Administration in 2019, but a lack of cooperation from neighboring Brazil and the backing of Russia kept him in power – to the detriment of the Venezuelan people, and now, he threatens the lives and livelihood of the people on his eastern border.
The cash strapped leader knows he can’t afford to go to war right now, yet he threatens it. He also knows he can never win a free and fair election, so he attempts to bypass it. The threat of force to seize the Essequibo region in Guyana is a political ploy to keep him in power. Using this target, he wraps himself up in the Venezuelan flag and rallies support around a patriotic cause, as though this would make the Venezuelan people forget the economic woes they are facing under his leadership.
A war with Guyana might not be the primary objective of the campaign for the Essequibo, but it certainly is a part of the package. Maduro doesn’t mind going to war at all. In fact, a war would give him the perfect circumstances and excuses to postpone elections and hold on to power indefinitely – opening up the possibility for altering the Venezuelan constitution so as to turn the country into an autocratic state.
Nicolas Maduro is making some cunning maneuvers right now. He’s playing a dangerous game. The International Court of Justice has ruled against an invasion or occupation of the Essequibo, and the United Nations Security Council is mandated to enforce the rule of the ICJ. Invading the Essequibo would be extremely risky business for Maduro. What happens if the UN Security Council takes military action against him? After spending millions of dollars rallying for the Essequibo, and working the people and military up into a frenzy, it will be difficult for him to admit that Venezuela can’t exercise control over the Essequibo. His own military might turn against him. And this puts him between a rock and a hard place. Nicolas Maduro is walking on slippery ground. He’s grappling at straws and doing everything he can to hold on to power. He knows his time is near, and he wants to ruin another country before it’s over. His foot will slide in due time.