August 3, 2021

VENEZUELA; AN OPPORTUNITY LOST

Russia has taken over Crimea, a province of Ukraine, and it looks that Putin will do so unscathed after a weak response from the EU, followed by the US, mostly consisting on sanctions.    In reality, there is not much the western world could have done.    Maybe, instead of reversing Teddy Roosevelt’s axiom of speak softly but carry a big stick, to the opposite, talking tough and acting weakly, Obama’s administration could have overturned the unilateral decision to abandon the plan to place defensive missiles on Eastern Europe,  and  made a show of force in the Baltic.   What was unfortunately missed was that the action in Ukraine presented a unique opportunity to intervene in Venezuela.   

A change of regime in that country, not only would liberate their subjugated population, but would deliver a crushing blow to the moribund Castro regime and weaken the Venezuelan partners in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.    In the last decades, countries in the Americas have used elections, many stolen, in order to change Constitutions, Justice Systems and electoral rules to establish dictatorships disguised as Democracies.    For many years, Presidents of both political parties in the US have ignored what has been happening south of the border.    This part of the world, traditionally under the influence of the United States, in its quest for an economic improvement, and progress of their way of life, have fallen prey to the swan song of liberal demagogues.   

Instead of a strong response from our country, instituting economic measures, trade agreements, a policy of supporting true democrats, and helping set up institutions free of corruption, only token measures have been taken.    The vacuum left has been used, under the influence of Cuba, by Iran, China and Russia to move in, beginning an era of foreign influence by our natural enemies in our own backyard.    Even now, in the middle of this crisis, when the Venezuelan youth is being murdered, a foreign country, Cuba, is directing the oppression and we stay silent, allowing Russia to make overtures in the region.   

Our silence is deafening.    Few politicians, mainly of Cuban roots, have protested.    Token articles in the Miami press and less exposure on television have been the only awareness made to the public.    Even the official comments have been weak.    If this nation’s leaders could only make clear our support to the freedom fighters, that an interference on one nations conflict by another, Cuba, would not be tolerated, and the words being accompanied by economic measures as freezing assets of the “Chavistas” here, stopping the purchase of oil, and also encouraging the action of the legitimate Venezuelan military that remains, those actions could do the trick without the need of any direct military intervention.   It could be the first step in reversing the dangerous trend being established in the region.    Instead to Maduro’s boisterous and sometimes incoherent statements we only offer weak responses.   To wit; in an exchange of words Maduro claimed “the Miami lobby” for fueling the conflict with the warning “They’re taking Obama to an abyss, and he is going to crash against Venezuela and be isolated from all of Latin America and the Caribbean”.   

Foreign minister Jaua in response to John Kerry declared “we denounce you as an assassin of the people of Venezuela and will not be quiet before any empire until you order your lackeys to cease the violence against the people”.    And what were our Secretary of State’s statements on the assassinations of Venezuelan youth by forces directed by Castro’s Cuba that caused this anger?    “We are trying to find a way to get the Maduro government to engage with its citizens”, really Mr. Secretary, after or before murdering them?    Followed by “treating them respectfully, and begin to respect human rights”.    Is that all we have to say?    No wonder the world laughs at us, acts with impunity and slaughters the innocent population.    Another possibility for change in the region lost, but what could we expect from an administration that has relegated its world leadership to France, the UN and Insulza’s OAS.

 

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