Venezuela has officially hit the breaking point. With the citizenry in an uprising against socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, led by opposition chief and true Venezuelan President Juan Guaido, Cuba has joined Maduro’s side in an effort to keep the embattled leader in power. Angered by the intervention of Cuban troops in the region, the Trump administration warned Tuesday that they were prepared to slap the Communist country with a “full and complete embargo” if they did not stand down from the internal conflict.
The president’s warning came shortly after National Security Adviser John Bolton publicly accused Cuban troops of keeping Maduro in power.
“It’s a very delicate moment,” Bolton said. “The president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power.”
Bolton stressed that “all options” were still on the table, however, which would seem to mean the administration has not ruled out a military intervention.
Both Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said that the opposition forces had almost driven Maduro out of the country. His only salvation came from Cuba and their allies halfway across the world – Russia. In his news conference, Bolton expressly warned Russia to stay out of the situation.
Pompeo expressed unreserved support for the Venezuelan opposition to Maduro.
“What we are seeing today in Venezuela is the will of the people to peacefully change the course of their country from one of despair to one of freedom and democracy,” Pompeo tweeted. “The U.S. stands with them.”
Bolton said the White House was anticipating the decisions of three major Venezuelan officials, insisting that their turn against Maduro would signal the end of the president’s reign of chaos. He said that the administration already had private pledges from the Venezuelan defense minister, the chief judge of the supreme court, and the leader of Maduro’s presidential guard that they would remove the leader.
“All agreed that Maduro had to go,” he said. “They need to be able to act this afternoon, or this evening, to help bring other military forces to the side of the interim president. If this effort fails, [Venezuela] will sink into a dictatorship from which there are very few possible alternatives.”
It has been of great interest to Bolton and the administration to carve out what they are calling a “completely free hemisphere,” which would also include ridding Nicaragua and Cuba of their socialist dictators. If Venezuela is the first domino to fall, the other two countries could be next in line.
We can’t help but be wary of anything that smacks of U.S. military intervention, but we’re confident that President Trump will not go lightly into any such escapade. As for Venezuela, it will forever stand as a testament to what happens when socialism infects a nation. Let it be a lesson remembered.