Patrick Duddy, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, has a policy memo at the Council for Foreign Relations. He lays out potential for violence surrounding the upcoming Venezuelan presidential election, and calls for U.S. action if that occurs.
The United States could encourage other Latin American militaries, as well perhaps as the Spanish, to communicate to the Venezuelan military the importance of complying with constitutional mandates, respecting human rights, and preserving democracy. While Chavez loyalists dominate the Venezuelan high command, it is not clear to what extent they control the middle ranks. Nor is it clear to what extent the military's loyalty to Chavez's Bolivarian movement would trump other considerations. In the abortive coup of 2002 the military temporarily removed Chavez but also restored him to power
Leverage defense department contacts in Latin American and Spanish armed forces to communicate to the Venezuelan military leadership that they are obliged to uphold their constitution, respect human rights, and protect their country's democratic tradition.
This is a very bad idea. Meddling with the Venezuelan military--indeed, threatening it--will not serve the interests of the United States, and certainly will not serve the interests of the Venezuelan people. It is egging on civil war.
Duddy has a variety of good ideas about regional response if the elections are clearly fraudulent (though, as we know from the recent Mexican election, this is often in the eye of the beholder) but encouraging violence will not reduce violence.