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Report: Trump's Bluster Towards Maduro Boosted Venezuelan Dictator

Image: Report: Trump's Bluster Towards Maduro Boosted Venezuelan Dictator
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By    |   Sunday, 13 Aug 2017 06:36 PM

President Donald Trump's statement last week that the U.S. has "many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary" was intended to strike fear into Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but instead more likely boosted the dictator's fortunes, Antonio Mora wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill.

Mora, who is a Venezuelan-affairs analyst and former news anchor for "Good Morning America," said that although more than 80 percent of Venezuelans oppose the Maduro dictatorship, most also object to American troops violating the country's sovereignty due to long-held resentments towards the U.S. for meddling in the region.

Trump's saber-rattling has instead boosted Maduro's claim that American aggression is behind all of Venezuela's problems and that opposition leaders are puppets of the U.S. and has even made some of the dictator's strongest detractors criticize Trump.

One such example, Mora said, is Human Rights Watch's Jose Miguel Vivanco, who tweeted that "Perhaps since Chavez named him his successor, no one had helped Maduro as much as Trump and this nonsense."

Mora stressed that the saying, "threats are often ineffective, and idle threats always are," applies in this case, because "unless the Maduro government took more drastic action against U.S. interests, President Trump would have an impossible task in rallying support on Capitol Hill or among the American public for any substantial military move in Venezuela," and the international community would be even less cooperative.

Even if Trump were to defy those who oppose military action, the task would not be easy. Although the Venezuelan military is obviously no match for the American one, it is far from a pushover and if it resisted an invasion, the ensuing conflict "especially in densely-populated Caracas, would undoubtedly lead to a catastrophic loss of innocent lives."

Mora added that the option of some sort of more limited military action would not be effective enough to achieve any significant aims.

He said that, however, Venezuela is indeed a threat to American national security, as well as to the world, and that the U.S. must play a significant role in helping Venezuela return to democracy.

But "it must not do so through unilateral freelancing [and] instead should support multilateral diplomacy, where regional leaders take the vanguard."

The Trump administration must also work to convince the European Union to sanction significantly more members of the Maduro government, many of whom have family members living abroad in luxury after stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from the Venezuelan treasury, because "broader sanctions could help splinter Maduro's support and encourage a transition away from dictatorship."

Mora emphasized that "a strong and consistent American foreign policy, not overheated rhetoric from the president," is the best policy.

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President Donald Trump's statement last week that the U.S. has "many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary" was intended to strike fear into Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but instead more likely boosted the dictator's fortunes,...
Venezuela, President Donald Trump, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
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2017-36-13
Sunday, 13 Aug 2017 06:36 PM
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