US Navy Expands Presence Near Venezuela

Officials say deployment meant to put pressure on Maduro

Following up on a $15 million bounty the US has placed on the head of Venezuela’s President Maduro, the Pentagon announced a substantial buildup of naval assets in the Caribbean, with a lot of the ships parked off the Venezuelan coast.

This is not unrelated to US hostility toward Maduro. Officially, the Pentagon says the ships are to engage in “counter-narcotics” operations, but they’ve also said that part of the goal is to cut off Maduro’s funds and increase pressure on him.

More military pressure is one thing, but the serious concern is an outright US invasion of Venezuela to try to impose regime change, mirroring the 1989 invasion of Panama to oust Manuel Noriega. That invasion was done on the pretext of the drug war, and with the blessing of Attorney General William Barr, who also provided the legal basis for the Maduro bounty.

The US has long said they won’t rule out a military solution to Venezuela, and after over a year of trying to oust Maduro through declarations, it may be that they are close to trying to apply the “Panama” solution.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of