COMMENTARY: Venezuela, the psychology of intimidation

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Photo, CC BY 4.0, Wikipedia

I often ask myself whether Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro is laying the groundwork for the future, raising the stakes in the present, or doing both by being about what is all for himself. I observe a leader who knows the cards he has, the limits of them, and the bluffs that he can try with them. There is a considerable energy in Guyana about neither pebble nor blade; There is that, then there are the cold facts of reality. They bring a shiver and they are sobering.

The matchup is against Guyana, from the weight differential ( heavyweight vs flyweight) to the disparity in depth ( numbers), to the level of hunger  (free land, free treasure). Nothing new or unknown. What is new, is how Maduro has harnessed all those components and puts them to inflict psychological anxieties on Guyanese. He drew his map. He named his governors. He moved his troops and armaments. He has now given himself the cover of law and the backing of his Parliament. Pressure. One step at a time, Maduro showed his hand and tightened his upraised fist. More pressure.
In each of the actions identified a sentence ago, his hand is raised in the manner of a hammer against Guyana. I think he has taken stock of what goes on there and plays upon the fears and weaknesses of Guyanese. Check with the last person standing in that country and a barrage of bellicosity will be heard. The name of Maduro is mud, and Venezuela is vile.
Once thought of as a reasonable neighbour (Petro Caribe), but now representing the worst of intimidators and the lowest of greed-consumed, hovering invaders. In the shortest description, the most fitting, Venezuela is the vilest. None of this means much to Maduro for he knows that the little that Guyana puts out could break his bones. Some delays and damage, of course; but that has been part of the grand sweep of history and nations.
The objective from Caracas is to keep Guyana hopping from foot to foot, and guessing what will happen next. Play with local minds. He has been relentless in lining up his ducks. Danger lurks, ambushes set. Argyle sticks. I think he has not shown his full hand, yet. To cross the line of no return or play the waiting game. Something troubles. I muse about whether Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela are pawns in the developing Great Game in this untouched part of the world. Untouched in that Guyana has been spared the march of feet like Afghanistan and the Middle East, among the coveted territory. Hence, I push the question to the forefront: is Venezuela and Maduro (he is not mad), being used to keep the top dogs in this country (Guyana) from getting ideas, viz., duly caged? A pattern is detected in Maduro’s actions: he starts fires, then has the discipline (or self-preservation) to hold himself in check. America has a record of keeping all of its options energized; thus I ponder this angle.
Separately, I absorb the muscular friends who are either warning Venezuela or turning up in front of Guyana’s gates in displays of delicate force. Guyanese should never forget the country has 11 billion energy beverages, with anywhere from 15 to 30 billion ( likely more) in reserves that is known. Taking the estimated high end of 30 billion barrels there, Venezuela still has 10 times Guyana’s reservoir(s). They represent a fistful of interests.
The Democrats came in for perennial blame and withering scorn for losing China. Neither the present ones nor their adversaries want to be remembered by history for letting go of 300 billion barrels of Venezuelan crude, and just beyond Florida. The point is, it’s a dormant prize, with enemies of America looking to carve out a place for themselves in Maracaibo. What must be done to ensure that they are numbers one, two, and three over there?
While there is some comfort in the flag-waving by locals and anchor weighing by foreign powers, I watch as Maduro does his most maniacal reproduction of another Nicolas. [That] would be Nicolo Machiavelli. Keep Guyanese on their toes, even if it means risking a bloody nose. Practically speaking, he doesn’t have much to loose, having used up most of his Western political colateral. But he knows that he presides over vast basins of oil. In the world of trump cards, he owns the pack, considering that Arabs and Persians prefer doing business with Easterners. Operate from all the angles, play his hand smoothly, know the territory, know his controllers better. He must conduct himself as if he is his own man, not one given to impulse and crassness. Most regrettably, in all this, Guyana’s place is that of a wisher and hoper; a bystander and spectator ( what is the man really up to?); and a low-level player and contributor (everyone eats first, Guyana is last). Maduro knows this very  well, so he weaves his psychological webs.
Part of Maduro’s mangled magic is that he likes to play the madman; it’s part of his psychogical battering ram. He revels in behaving as a man with a warlike message but having to hold off on any mission. Make Guyana see matters his way. And get the Americans to give him some breathing space. He may not have the material edge, but he has the psychological upper hand, where Guyanese are concerned. They must depend on the good will of others. Maduro has what it takes to rock the local boat. He can so do all on his own.
He has repeatedly.

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  1. Yowzer
    April 28, 2024

    I sincerely believe that Maduro would not be so bold had it been Columbia or Brazil. He is just acting out so Exxon and the other oil conglomerates can toss him some coins so he can be pacified and crawl back in his corner.

  2. que
    April 28, 2024

    This is not Maduro’s plan, neither is it the United States’ plan (hilarious reach there). This has been Venezuelan policy for DECADES. If you knew anything about the country you would know that even in a country where the ruling regime doesn’t have the popular mandate, this is one of the issues that they have almost unanimous support on. Pretty much all venezuelans have been indoctrinated with the idea that that region belongs to them. It’s only now because Guyana is making moves to exploit the resources in the region that it has heightened the stakes.

    By the way the United States foreign intervention angle is HILARIOUS considering that one of Venezuela’s claims have been that it’s the US pushing for Guyana to gain full control of the region so that their multinational oil companies can exploit the resources there.

    April 28, 2024

    I don’t know where you have been hiding all this time, but you sure bring a new breath of fresh air to articles to this medium. Moreover, you put our brain cells to work critically ! Keep writing brother.

  4. Not me alone
    April 27, 2024

    Sadly, Dominica is not too far behind. We are right there with Venezuela

  5. Labour power
    April 27, 2024

    Why this blue monkey did not mention Roosevelt Skerrit and Dominica,I don’t know.That whole piece was written because Dominica has close diplomatic relation with Dominica.Another UWP puppet,BBfly and prodigal son.Another pit toilet dweller with division on his mind.

  6. Had Knocks
    April 27, 2024

    Maduro (Mal Burro) ain’t nothing but a bully who finds solace and strength in flexing his muscles to threaten less less imposing nations like Guyana.

    He should be focused on reeling in his country’s most precious natural resource, its people who continue a mass exodus across North and South America from a country supposedly dripping in oil.

    Stupid he ain’t as he clearly understands the nuances of geopolitics while hedging his bet that the traditional global arbiters and mediators will never leave Venezuala empty handed even if their case hinges on as bogus claim.

    I am not hating on Maduro all that much knowing that Venezuela is a victim of financial hijacking by the very entitities who have managed to put the lid on US 6 billion of the country’s money in the name of human rights violations. True to form, it appears the bullied has sadly become the bully.

  7. Zandoli
    April 27, 2024

    What else should one expect from Maduro. This is the classic style of dictators. That is par for the course.
    Check around the world and they all behave in the same manner. Their either intimidate their people or their neighbors.
    That his how they stay in power. They are just bullies.

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