On March 4, the Center for Security Policy gathered a panel in Washington, D.C., for an expert briefing on the protests in Venezuela — and what they had to say was chilling.
Under the banner of “Implications for Democracy, Human Rights, and US National Security,” the speakers were:
- Michael Rowan, coauthor of Chávez: The Threat Closer to Home and a columnist with El Universal;
- Luis Fleischman, author of Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era;
- and moderator Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy.
The video is two hours long, and many themes stand out. Perhaps most important, though, Rowan asserts that Chavismo, despite the passing of Hugo Chávez, is “going according to plan.” That means towards a “military/police state” — with all private media and vestiges of democracy gone by the wayside — and he points to a “military directorate” already in place.
Despite the severity of the situation, however, neither Rowan nor Fleischman predict military action from the United States; even limited sanctions seem unlikely, according to the two. The likelihood is “almost zero,” Rowan says, and military action is “completely off the table.”
Rowan also repeatedly challenges what he calls the myth of Venezuela as a divided society — be that religious, racial, geographic, or otherwise. He believes that it is a fiction invented for political purposes.
However, when pressed on whether Chavismo had brought such a division to reality, he acknowledges that one third of the population have been born since 1998. In that time, government propaganda and class warfare dogma has had a strong impact on the sentiment of the population.