The Venezuelan crisis is far from over but as it stands, it is advantage to Nicolás Maduro and an embarrassment to the Trump administration. The Trump camp has been left in sixes and sevens after being out-maneuvered by Maduro. The President of the United States blames his advisers and the advisers blame Venezuelan officials who backed out of a plan to defect, Cuba and Russia. America's political strategists are looking like a bunch of clueless novices and it is a big embarrassment.
The Trump administration has pulled all stops to oust Maduro but the man is not going down without a fight. Maduro has stubbornly held on in the face of stringent, illegal sanctions which are said to have resulted in 40,000 deaths in Venezuela. In a report by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot, the co-authors, say, "The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports."
America imposed broad economic sanctions on Venezuela in August 2017 and imposed even more sanctions through executive orders this year. The CEPR says the recognition of a parallel government has been as severe as, if not worse than the executive orders. It is all calculated to suffocate Maduro out of office. It should have worked but somehow, it is not.
Now, the President of the world's most powerful country is starting to question his advisers, particularly warmongering, national security adviser John Bolton. Bolton is a belligerent man with an unusual hunger for destruction. Trump has, in recent times, accused him of trying to drag him "into a war". Trump is, obviously, not being sincere. The President of the United States has also wanted a Venezuelan war for a while but he is obviously reconsidering. With something akin to admiration for Maduro, Trump has told his aides that they underestimated the man and that he is a "tough cookie". After a failed coup attempt by the West's chosen leader, Juan Guaidó, America might have to sit and introspect.
This entire movement is not catching as much fire as initially assumed. For now, it is safe to say the regime change agenda has been a flop, an embarrassing one at that. An unpopular Maduro with little political capital in his own country is outsmarting America and even gaining some political traction. After all, Maduro now has every right to play the victim and blame the faults of his ineptitude on American interference.
A lesson should be learnt: bullying is not a political trump card (pun intended).
Header Image: AP