The Current

Foreign intervention risks 'the hostility of most Venezuelans,' warns expert

As the world watches the unfolding political instability in Venezuela, U.S. President Donald Trump says that "all options are on the table" when it comes to the question of U.S. intervention. We look at the likelihood of putting American boots on the ground, and how the Venezuelan people might react to outside interference.

Idea of putting U.S. troops on the ground 'a little bit absurd,' says Alan McPherson

Members of the opposition gather in Caracas, Venezuela on Saturday. As the political instability continues, one expert warns that any intervention by a foreign power would have to take public reaction into account. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)
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Foreign intervention in Venezuela's political crisis could come at a high cost, and meet resistance from the Venezuelan people themselves, warns an author who has written about the issue.

"The Venezuelan public is so divided that half would probably welcome some kind of intervention," said Alan McPherson, author of A Short History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"It really depends how it goes … support for Guaido and part of the military, I think that would be somehow acceptable," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"But an actual full-scale foreign intervention, especially a unilateral one just from the United States, I think that would garner the hostility of most Venezuelans."

Last Wednesday, the head of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, Juan Guaido, took an oath swearing himself in as Venezuela's interim president. His party has urged the country's armed forces, as well as foreign powers, to withdraw support for President Nicolas Maduro. The embattled leader accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup.

It's unclear what support foreign powers are giving Juan Guaido, Alan McPherson tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. 0:51

The U.S., Canada and some Latin American and European countries have since announced their support for Guaido as Venezuela's interim leader, but a number of other countries, including Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, remain on Maduro's side.

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned that "all options are on the table" if Maduro tries to repress the opposition with force. But McPherson said that "talk of invasion is a little bit absurd these days."

"This would be a massive operation that would cause thousands of American deaths, not to mention Venezuelan ones."

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Produced by Howard Goldenthal, Ines Colabrese and Julie Crysler.

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