The despotic Nicolas Maduro will cling to Venezuelan power as long as he can feed and sustain his loyal army top brass.
In comparative terms, the generals are doing okay: they are getting paid and enjoying three square meals, in sharp contrast to millions of hungry civilians in that tortured land.
Reports are that a staggering 87 per cent of the 32 million Venezuelans are eking out an existence, some rummaging in dustbins, babies dying of starvation, patients crying to death at hospitals because of the lack of medication.
In a country in which inflation is more than one million per cent and the economy is crumbling by the day, maintaining the military is no sure thing.
After Maduro was blocked from withdrawing US $1.2 billion worth of gold from the Bank of England, the British authorities reportedly became sympathetic to turning over the assets to Juan Guaido.
Other similar international measures are expected.
The oppressor is "desperate to hold onto the dwindling cash pile", according to Bloomberg.
The US targeting state-run oil firm PDVA is another tight noose around the tyrant's neck.
US officials are reportedly attempting to divert Venezuela’s overseas assets to Guaido, who enjoys up to 80 per cent popular support.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered Guaido US $20 million in humanitarian aid and more is said to be in the pipeline.
Military hardliners like John Bolton are strongly urging Trump to foist regime change in Caracas and he has quoted the US president as saying that "all options are on the table".
The US White House summoned a media conference on Monday—the first in more than a month—at which Bolton declared that Maduro could "no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people".
The US is considering withholding the proceeds of the purchase of Venezuelan oil; Caracas ships 41 per cent of its petroleum to the United States.
Bolton, a key Trump adviser, has pleaded with the military to "accept the peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power".
Already, the top military diplomat has defected.
The army will stay loyal to the autocratic leader only as long as he can keep their pockets and stomachs filled.
The military is the country's strongest institution but is deeply disliked because it has been used against the people (more than 100 protesters have been killed in recent months) and is assisting in frustrating the will of the people.
The army is Maduro's strongest domestic ally, partly because about 16,000 top officers were promoted through blind loyalty to the president, a former bus driver with no military experience.
The headache over the military is compounded by the fact that most democracies have resolutely stood against one of the most dreadful oppressors in the western world in recent years.
Most hemispheric leaders are standing up to the tyrant in their backyard, and they have the active support of most of Europe and other modern States.
Caricom’s decision to long ignore the humanitarian crisis in its backyard is decidedly worsened by its hasty decision to voice support for Maduro, against good sense and reasonable foreign policy.
The move was possibly prompted by T&T's concern over the Dragon Gas deal and the other island States' gains from PetroCaribe, the preferential oil deal.
But Venezuela's energy assets belong to the people—not to an authoritarian ruler.
Local armchair bleeding hearts have damned the US, alleging imperial designs while ignoring the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis in our backyard.
By their reasoning, the world should sidestep all abuses of human rights, including the Yemeni tragedy.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s boisterous rebuff of the US envoy in Port-of-Spain Joseph Mondello is regrettable not only for its undiplomatic tone, but also because he missed an opportunity to emerge above the fray.
Rowley should have called in Mondello for discussions.
That angry outburst and his overall emotional pampering of Maduro make a mockery of Rowley’s offer of mediation.
The diplomatic corps attended Kamla Persad-Bissessar's public presentation on Sunday and would have been heartened by her support for a humanitarian intervention and for the reinstatement of the rule of law.
With the steadfastness of the international community, regime change will take place in Caracas and Guaido would be granted an opportunity to restore human rights and to rebuild the shattered economy.
The military, isolated and hungry, will fall in line.
For its part, a chastened Caricom would have learnt a telling lesson in diplomacy, politics, and power.
Cockroach, after all, should stay away from fowl business!