The White House and the European Union planned to remove the presidents of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and of its Constituent Assembly, Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello respectively, and then dismantle the constitutional institutions of the country, with the exception of the National Army.
On 26 March, Attorney General William Barr issued a wanted notice for Presidents Maduro and Cabello, charged with drug trafficking, and offering hefty rewards to anyone helping to bring the “criminals” to “Justice” (that is, in US courts).
The US Navy and DEA were to kidnap the two men and incarcerate them in the United States. Several warships, including a destroyer, had been prepositioned to assist SouthCom (US command for South America) with the operation.
On 31 March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela.
The idea was to clone Operation Just Cause which had enabled Washington to regain control of Panama in 1989.
Unexpectedly, the Pentagon fiercely opposed the operation, considering it inappropriate in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic.
Relations between President Donald Trump and his General Officers are increasingly strained.
It is an open secret that NorthCom intends to sidestep him and seize power in order to manage the epidemic.
The military is expected to position itself as a neutral entity, above the political cleavage between Democrats and Republicans, acting only to protect the American people.
A faction of the Military Intelligence is reportedly attempting to thwart the plan by threatening to arrest several general officers charged with sex crimes.