Many of you are watching now and praying for the people of Venezuela. Reports coming in of failed attempts to get humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people, and repeated photos of Maduro and his generals/bodyguards hanging on defiantly, are enough to make good people want to tear their hair out, wondering what is coming next.
Despite assurances of amnesty and freedom to the military of that country by the incoming president, and by our president, only a few defections are being reported. With the top “brass” still in place, the lower level military officers seem to be holding with Maduro. And, you are scared.
Actually, we have seen this before. There is a predictable similarity amongst dictators. They are driven by money and power, and use any means necessary to keep themselves and a small, close group protecting them safe. Basically, they are all cowards–albeit deadly–and they all appear to study each other’s play books.
Therefore I think we are witnessing a “Baghdad Bob” moment, and the Venezuela ordeal is nearly over. If you remember when the US and allies invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, the world quivered in fear–believing his onerous propaganda about the power and loyalty of his almighty Republican Guard.
You may also remember we were treated daily with broadcast messages from his propaganda officer, Baghdad Bob. Bob claimed daily that Saddam was safe, in charge, and unrelenting, and that the Iraqi military would crush all attackers. I remember noting however that, as the days went on, Baghdad Bob’s message became very repetitive, as if he were being fed a script.
In fact, he was. Saddam and others who would have faced death if they were to be captured had one by one been escaping from Baghdad. Their money was moved, and they independently slipped away in the dark of night. But, they left a shadow communication system which made it appear that the power structure was totally in tact, undaunted by the invasion.
If I remember, Baghdad Bob ultimately was caught, pathetically reporting prepared lies of just how well the Iraqi forces were doing, and how badly the Americans were suffering. He kept doing this in an almost empty city, with an empty palace–his lone voice reporting lies daily.
Our military figured it out fairly quickly. They could hear his broadcast and knew full well that what he was describing was not what they were experiencing. I’m not even sure Baghdad Bob knew he had been thrown under the bus, left to report prerecorded messages and blustering threats from Saddam.
Eventually, the middle and lower level military officers realized that there was in fact no one on post at the highest levels–that the senior military officers had flown the coup, leaving repetitive and truly unresponsive instructions to the field commanders. Once they realized that their senior officers and the tyrant commanding them had fled to save their own skins, the military laid down its arms, and defections were massive.
The resulting implosion occurred swiftly, and we all remember the film of Iraqi citizens flooding into the streets, tearing down the statue of Saddam Hussein.
Well, my opinion is that the same thing is occurring in Venezuela as we speak. I believe Maduro has sent his money somewhere. He may have already secured his exile location, and his senior military protectors have saved their sorry behinds as well.
Some lower level military have turned sides, trying to save themselves and their families as the new regime seems poised to eventually prevail. But, as soon as the lower level field commanders realize they are receiving orders from “ghosts” who have already saved themselves, I expect we will see an implosion, and complete cessation of the military’s opposition.
My reasoning, you may ask? I doubt I am the only one who has noticed that all the recent photos seem to be the same. They show Maduro and his closest henchmen, but it seems to be the same picture. So, either we have extraordinarily lazy journalists who can’t find anything other than their stock file photo to show the world, or there is a “Baghdad Bob” showing the dictator, as they want him to be perceived by the rank and file military, and the rest of the world.
If that is the case, it won’t be long before the men on the ground realize that they have been abandoned, left with the dirty work of preventing aid from reaching a starving people. All while the real war criminals are arranging, or have already arranged, their exit strategy. Once that realization has happened, I predict we will see them, too, lay down their arms, and rejoin their families.
In the novel, “White King and the Doctor” I laid out the escape mechanisms of Ayman Al-Zawahiri (Al Qaeda’s mastermind), Bin Laden, all of them. With years worth of prerecorded audio and video, they felt they could fool the world’s best into thinking they were still in Afghanistan, and even still alive. That fictitious scenario seems to be true, and real.
So, it will be interesting to find Venezuela’s “Baghdad Bob.” I wonder if Maduro actually threw him under the bus, or whether he too has escaped using the ruse? Time will tell.
Either way, the Venezuelan military will soon be reunited with their families. That, I think, will be good news.