In recent months, the economic, social, and political crisis in Venezuela started to be felt more strongly within Venezuelan military garrisons. To learn more about this issue, Diálogo spoke by phone with former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002), who is well versed in regional military issues, after leading one of the largest U.S. military cooperation efforts in the hemisphere. Known as Plan Colombia, the operation sought to confront narcotrafficking and terrorist groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish) and the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish).
“There is a military rupture in Venezuela, which became evident to international public opinion on April 30, when a group of service members repudiated Nicolás Maduro's authority and recognized Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela,” Pastrana said. “This was fully evident when President Donald Trump's security advisor, John Bolton, confirmed that Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino and Major General Iván Rafael Hernández Dala, responsible for presidential security, had told the opposition that Maduro should step down to facilitate a peaceful transition in Venezuela.”
“No country in the world has more imprisoned service members than Venezuela; at least 200 of them are in jail, causing a great division in the Armed Forces, mostly in the middle ranks, and added to this is the discontent with the humanitarian crisis and lack of will to resolve it.”
Pastrana described the Maduro regime as a narco-dictatorship “that represents a continental threat due to the illegal operations of the powerful Cartel de los Soles led by Diosdado Cabello [president of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly] and Tareck El Aissami [former vice president of Venezuela], who is associated with the FARC and ELN guerrillas living in Venezuela, and also linked to 10 Mexican cartels.”
This is why Pastrana endorsed Guaidó’s move to enforce Section 187 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which grants Congress the power to authorize international military assistance and “disrupt the usurpation of Maduro, and resolve the humanitarian crisis that each day costs people’s lives in Venezuela ”