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.
“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!
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.
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.