This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
Trump Doubles-Down in His Fight with Venezuela
The desperation of the Trump administration to complete the regime change that began last year in Venezuela is on full display today.
After the failure of Juan Guaidó and his supporters (including the U.S. government) to topple the Maduro dictatorship, many western hawks were counting on civil unrest and civilian protests to finish what they had not been able to. To be sure, that was (and is) a much more attractive alternative than either an American-backed coup or a flat-out invasion/military intervention. Personally, I agree with the hawks like Bolton that the Maduro regime needs to end, but I strongly oppose their proposed methods of making that happen.
For a while, looked like popular protests might actually be able to oust the Venezuelan despot. Then coronavirus stole the show. As the viral pandemic swept in, protesters left the streets and Maduro’s position as leader has become much less precarious.
Of course, that can’t be allowed to stand. Thus why Donald Trump has unleashed broad charges of “narco-terrorism” against the Venezuelan president and many members of his inner-circle, as well as a $15 million bounty for Maduro’s capture. (History buffs may recall that these are the exact type of charges that were used by the Reagan administration to capture Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega in 1988.)
While the U.S. government should be focusing on how it can 1) help the country recover from COVID-19 and 2) support the rest of the world in doing the same, they are instead continuing their Cold War-esque crusade against a South American strongman.
This is not a defense of Maduro, who is a brutal and tyrannical bully. There’s very little I have good to say about him. But I also have very little good to say about trumped-up charges against a foreign leader during a time of crisis. Hopefully, as Donald Trump continues to go the way of Neocons with Venezuela, he continues to fail as they often have.