It is in Caracas’s interests to see the US have internal strife.


Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he speaks during a session of the National Constituent Assembly at Palacio Federal Legislativo in Caracas, Venezuela August 10, 2017


Russia’s official TASS News agency included an interesting comment from Venezuela’s thuggish leader, Nicolas Maduro. In the comment Maduro suggests the US could be on the brink of a “civil war.” The civil war talking point has been one that exists in far-right conspiratorial discussions in the US.

Why is Russian media and Venezuela’s leader, a key ally of Russia, Turkey and Iran, suggesting the US might have more violence in coming weeks? It is possible that the goal here is to put wind in the sails of the far-right in the US and fan the flames of conflict. Venezuela’s leader is ostensibly from the far Left but his tradition goes back to Hugo Chavez, a one-time coup leader. Chavez was a militarist and Venezuela’s regime is anti-American and militarist. It is in Caracas’s interests to see the US have internal strife.

Maduro claims that the US is in a crisis and that US President-elect Joe Biden will come to power in the worst possible scenario including “a hostile polarization, a split, an animosity and confrontation, virtually on the verge of a civil war.”

Maduro ostensibly should be happy to see Biden come to office because Venezuela had to deal with a Trump administration that openly supported the opposition and was tough on Caracas. The US under Biden will likely also be critical of Venezuela’s regime. However the days when it looked like mass protest in Venezuela would lead to Maduro departing, perhaps fleeing to Russia, are now over. Maduro has remained in power and failed efforts to unseat him have embarrassed the opposition. He is entrenched with Iranian, Russian and Turkish support. Iran, Turkey, Russia and Venezuela also all share interests in seeing more US domestic crisis and having the US play less of a role in world affairs. The US has generally been critical of Russia, Iran and Venezuela’s leaders in the past.

Could Venezuela play any role in fanning the flames of civil strife in the US? Generally Venezuela has not had much impact on US domestic politics and there doesn’t seem to be any way that Maduro, who is not known for being a regional thinker or great strategist, will have an impact on the US. Nevertheless, his assessment is interesting and Russia’s highlight of it are interesting because the messaging is designed to portray an America that will soon be incapable of conducting robust foreign policy, due to domestic problems. This is clearly what Caracas and Moscow are hoping for.