Could Lightning Strike Twice in Ending Maduro’s Marxist tyranny in Venezuela?

Apr. 26, 2019
by Bob Adelmann

It’s odd that Juan Guaido, in calling for “the largest march in the history of Venezuela” to protest and end the Marxist Maduro regime in Venezuela, would pick May 1 for the protest to happen. It’s not only the middle of the week, but the date also has historical references and allusions. It was on May 1, 2011 that Osama Bin Laden was declared dead near Abbottabad in Pakistan. May 1 is the socialist International Workers’ Day. And, perhaps most importantly, on May 1, 1776 the Bavarian Illuminati was formed by Adam Weishaupt.

Guaido could be hoping that lightning might strike twice. After all, it was Christmas Day 1989 that Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime ended Romanian oppression that had lasted for 40 years. His destruction of the free market led him to impose price controls on his people, which led to rationing. Protests were quashed by his Securitate (remarkably similar to Maduro’s colectivos), which was responsible for mass surveillance, repression, and human rights abuses of those perceived to pose potential threats to his regime. He suppressed and controlled the media and the press, and arrested any who dared to speak out about those abuses.

Those economic controls led to declining tax revenues, which led to government deficits, which resulted in the buildup of enormous debts to foreign countries friendly to the dictatorship. In exchange, Ceausescu exported desperately needed agricultural and industrial products in efforts to repay them.

The rationing led to shortages of food, water, oil, heat, electricity, medicine, and other necessities.

All of which not only sounds awfully familiar to those watching events unfold in Venezuela, but led to the moment of crisis for Ceausescu. His military turned on him following a speech on Christmas Day 1989 where he lost control of the crowd. Wikipedia tells the story:

Ceausescu raised his right hand in hopes of silencing the crowd; his stunned expression remains one of the defining moments of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe.

That “stunned expression” is available on YouTube (see Sources below). Wiki told what happened next:

The Ceausescus were tried before a court convened in a small room on orders of the National Salvation Front, Romania’s provisional government. They faced charges including illegal gathering of wealth and genocide. Ceausescu repeatedly denied the court’s authority to try him, and asserted he was still legally the president of Romania.

At the end of the quick show trial, the Ceausescus were found guilty and sentenced to death. A soldier standing guard in the proceedings was ordered to take the Ceausescus out back one by one and shoot them, but the Ceausescus demanded to die together. The soldiers agreed to this and began to tie their hands behind their backs, which the Ceausescus protested against but were powerless to prevent.

The Ceausescus were executed by a gathering of soldiers: Captain Ionel Boeru, Sergeant-Major Georghin Octavian, and Dorin-Marian Cîrlan, while reportedly hundreds of others also volunteered.

Following the elimination of the Ceausescus, Ion Iliescu and his National Salvation Front took control of the government, and six months later held the “free and fair” elections they had promised the Romanian people. Ilescu was elected president overwhelmingly, and over the next several years began instituting both economic and political reforms that brought Romania back from the edge of extinction.


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It might take lightning (or a similar event) to oust Maduro. Sanctions aren’t working, and neither are offers of amnesty to his top military officials. As of Wednesday, barely 1,500 of Maduro’s 280,000-strong military have defected, escaping to Colombia on the west and Brazil to the south. Most of them have come from the lower ranks and the country’s National Guard.

Those few who have successfully escaped told Reuters that rebellion “has been contained by intimidation and threats of reprisals against officers’ families.” Said one escapee, a female National Guard lieutenant who crossed into Brazil on foot, to Reuters, “Most military people that are leaving are from the National Guard. They will continue coming. More want to leave.” But they are constrained by threats of reprisals against their families if they oppose Maduro. Those threats are being carried out by the colectivos – motorcycle gangs with automatic weapons – who terrorize any who might support Guaido’s opposition.

An official who worked on President Trump’s Venezuela policy told the Washington Post: “I think the administration, as well as the opposition, put too much hope in [Maduro’s] military rising up … we haven’t been able to flip them. And we’ve been trying and trying.” Another official, Juan Andres Mejia, a lawmaker from Guaido’s Popular Will party, agrees: “We know our message to soldiers is being heard and that there is discontent within [his] armed forces. But there’s too much surveillance, blackmail, and counterintelligence. The [amnesty] strategy hasn’t produced the effect we were looking for.”

Elliott Abrams, Trump’s envoy in charge of removing Maduro, was asked why. He responded: “Why hasn’t it broken open yet? Good question. It’s open for debate. I’ll give you part of the answer, and it’s the Cubans.”

It just might take an extraordinary intervention – lightning, or something else – to oust the dictator, remove the Cuban influence, and begin to restore Venezuela and its people to the level of freedom and prosperity they enjoyed before the communists took over. It might even happen on Wednesday.

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Sources:

Washington Post: Venezuela’s military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro

News.Trust.org: Disaffected Venezuelan military tell of rising desertions to Brazil

News.Trust.org: Venezuela’s Guaido calls for ‘largest march in history’ to oust Maduro

Background on Nicolae Ceausescu and his final moments

History of the Romanian Revolution in 1989

Background on Nicolas Maduro

RedIce TV: Importance of May Day – May 1st – in history

History of Ceausescu’s final speech that turned his military against him

YouTube video of Ceausescu’s final speech – watch his face when he realizes he’s lost control at 1:36 into the video.

Background on Ion Iliescu, opposition leader in the Romanian Revolution

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