Venezuela has been quickly spiraling into madness for the last decade or so. The once wealthy (and stable) South American nation could still one of the world’s most abundant sources of energy, but for some reason (socialism) they’ve been unable to take advantage of their natural wealth. What was once a gleaming jewel in the Latin American crown, is now a cesspool of crime, violence, and starvation. Make no mistake, the government’s socialist policies under dictator’s Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, are wholly and completely to blame for the disaster.
Several months ago Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave an impassioned speech explaining the calamity that has befallen Venezuela.
On Monday, the Venezuelan people overwhelmingly voted against the socialist agenda of President Nicolas Maduro and demanded that the Venezuelan military continue to defend their Constitution. Some 97% of voters, voted against all three points of Maduro’s socialist agenda, but the embattled dictator has already promised to continue, against the wishes of his people, with his reforms.
Roving mobs of violent pro-Maduro gangs were intimidating voters on election day and have been abusing, beating, and even killing anti-Maduro Venezuelans for months. Consider the violence that was seen on Monday during the voting, and then realize that more than 97% of the voters were anti-Maduro. All of the violence is being stirred up by Maduro’s thugs as he attempts to use violence and fear to bring the people of his nation to heel.
On Monday, the Trump administration put Venezuela’s government on notice and threatened to sanction them if they did not acquiesce to the will of the Venezuelan people.
Yesterday, the Venezuelan people again made clear that they stand for democracy, freedom, and rule of law. Yet their strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.
The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.
The United States once again calls for free and fair elections and stands with the people of Venezuela in their quest to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy.
Should the U.S. decide to impose a new round of sanctions on Venezuela, it’s possible that Trump might target the nation’s energy sector, including its state oil company, PDVSA. Last month, senior White House officials told Reuters that the Trump administration was considering a “sectoral” sanctions package, but feared that a severe hit to Venezuela’s oil industry could exacerbate the nation’s economic and humanitarian crises. Sanctioning the nation’s energy sector could also have economic repercussions for the U.S., which relies on Venezuela for a significant share of its oil supply.
Venezuela’s leaders better choose their next steps carefully, because President Trump will not dither the way his predecessor did. There is a new sheriff in town, and Venezuela would do well to remember it.