After years of a harsh sanctions campaign against Venezuela, the US is offering to loosen the economic noose for those military officers who defect and recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president.
Accusing President Nicolas Maduro and his “cronies” of plundering Venezuelan wealth for their own well-being while blocking “humanitarian assistance” to the country, National Security Advisor John Bolton urged the Latin American country’s officers to defect.
Maduro and his cronies live lavishly in Europe and enrich their Cuban patrons while plundering Venezuela’s wealth. Meanwhile, they are physically blocking the Venezuelan people, including the military rank and file, from receiving humanitarian assistance. https://t.co/mrnALvUGR5
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 6, 2019
“The US will consider sanctions off-ramps for any Venezuelan senior military officer that stands for democracy and recognizes the constitutional government of President Juan Guaidó,” Bolton said on Twitter.
If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely. Make the right choice!
The U.S. will consider sanctions off-ramps for any Venezuelan senior military officer that stands for democracy and recognizes the constitutional government of President Juan Guaido. If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely. Make the right choice!
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 6, 2019
Bolton’s call to action, which was immediately supported by Senator Marco Rubio, followed accusations by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who charged the Venezuelan military of “blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers” on Maduro’s orders.
Not everyone on social media agreed with the US assessment of the situation in Venezuela. While many users immediately praised Bolton for his proposal, others blatantly rejected it, blaming US policies for economic chaos in the country, simultaneously condemning American foreign interference.
In fact, not in Pompeo world, it’s US sanctions that are harming Venezuela. And no, Maduro doesn’t live in Europe. That’s simply false. Again. #HandsOffVenezuela
— Elizabeth Ferrari (@48thAve) February 6, 2019
You two cannot find the social, economic, and legal inequities in your own country? They are staring you right in the face! Why look at other countries failings when there is so much need at home?
— Chloë M. Smith PhD. (@ChloeMS) February 6, 2019
John Bolton Now threatening to Sanction Senior Military-Is it nottime we say America is the Usurper of Democracy and #WeThePeople are not going to take it anymore. America is in Breach of International Law-it is time they were sanctioned and punished.https://t.co/qiv6wwt78H
— kmm9973 (@kim9973) February 6, 2019
I look forward to similar action being taken against that brutal dictatorship Saudi Arabia who have bombed Yemen into a famine. What’s that? The Saudis are friends with @realDonaldTrump so don’t hold my breath? I see.
— Michael Siva (@michaelsiva63) February 6, 2019
They just seized your weapons shipment John. The logical side of the world doesn’t agree with your puppet choice either. Let Venezuelans vote for who they choose. Your war drums are an old song nobody wants to listen to anymore.
— Benjamin Ross (@B_e_n_j_i_Ross) February 6, 2019
The economy of the South American nation has been in steady decline since the sharp drop in oil prices in 2014. At the same time Caracas has been under constant pressure from US sanctions aimed at President Nicolas Maduro and his government. The decline of the economy has led to the devaluation of the national currency and to shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods. The worsening socio-economic conditions triggered a substantial outflow of Venezuelans to neighboring countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
Ever since Donald Trump recognized the National Assembly leader Guaidó as the ‘interim’ president of the South American country two weeks ago, the US has been spearheading an effort to oust Maduro from power. Last week, the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry while calling for a peaceful political transition in the country. Joined by its allies in the EU and across much of Latin America, Washington has also been pressing the military in Venezuela to defect, all while blocking oil revenue cash flow to the Maduro government. In return, Guaidó promised to open the country’s vast natural reserves to foreign investors.
The United States also has not ruled out a military intervention in Venezuela, noting that all options remain on the table. Meanwhile Maduro remains committed to repelling any possible aggression, with the country’s armed forces mostly staying loyal to the elected leader. The Maduro government is also open to dialogue with the opposition.
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