Yesterday, Venezuelan Opposition Leader Declares Himself Interim President. President Trump Agreed in a Tweet.

10 nations do not recognize the Venezuelan government

Unfortunately, Venezuela’s Military Backs Maduro.

Venezuela’s military on Thursday threw its support behind embattled President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday, a day after the head of the country’s national assembly declared himself legitimate leader and was recognized by the U.S. and most Latin American nations.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, flanked by the heads of the country’s armed forces, said the military would oppose any effort to remove Mr. Maduro, who began a second, six-year term this month after elections last year that were widely regarded as a sham. Mr. Padrino ended his speech with shouts of “Chavez vive,” a reference to the late socialist strongman Hugo Chávez.

During Mr. Chavez’s time in power, he politicized the military, making sure promotions were contingent on loyalty to him and “Bolivarian” socialist ideology.

In 2008, Mr. Chavez made the military adopt the Cuban-derived motto “Patria, Socialismo o Muerte, Venceremos!” or “Fatherland, Socialism or Death, we will triumph!” That same year, the military was renamed the National Bolivarian Armed Force, making clear ideological identification.

The Venezuelan military is also thoroughly penetrated by Cuba’s crack intelligence services, military officials said. Those who might revolt against Mr. Maduro face a pervasive intelligence unit, overseen by Cuban military advisers, which has snuffed out numerous plots, current and former officers said. “It’s very hard to organize a coup in Venezuela,” said Harold Trinkunas, a Venezuela expert at Stanford University. The military is “divided, corrupt, compromised and closely watched.”

Guns Matter

The guys who have the guns matter. That’s what being a de facto leader means,” said James Bosworth, head of a Latin America risk-consulting company called Hxagon.

The point at which the people with guns who can’t feed their families outnumber people with guns who can feed their families—that’s a tipping point,” Mr. Bosworth said.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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