Venezuela is facing a major crisis. As in the Arab Spring, Venezuelans have lost fear of a government that is becoming ever more authoritarian and murderous. Recently, a 25 year old woman was intentionally run over by a car whose drivers were policemen and a top officials in the Maduro regime.

Since major protests began, forty one people have died. Even though the government uses violence to deter protestors, people continue to demonstrate because living under the current regime is a nightmare. The protesters don’t care.  They will fight the oppressors with anything they have, including human excrement.

The Venezuelan people have no choice. The military continues to be loyal to the government, as these officers have been allowed to enrich themselves by securing economic privileges and total impunity in practicing drug trafficking.  Also, the Cubans provide more than 40,000 troops to help the regime to remain in power, as well as providing advice on the use of repressive tactics – a minor detail former President Barack Obama forgot to take into account while negotiating with the Castro regime.

Cuba knows that if Maduro leaves they will lose its most important benefactor.  Meanwhile, Russia seems to be providing oil and diesel to Cuba already.  Russian weapon supplies sustain Maduro’s regime, too. Russia and Cuba are very much interested in keeping the Maduro regime alive. Cuba wants to continue securing oil supplies and Russia does not want to lose this strategic ally.

But there is more. The Iranians are also interested in sustaining the Maduro regime. The Islamic Republic has secret military agreements with Venezuela and it was reported that 10,000 Iranians and Syrians hold Venezuelan passports. Some have estimated that this number could be as high as 25,000.  It is reasonable to assume that many of these individuals, as well as FARC members who have found refuge in Venezuela for a long time, could join the fight on Maduro’s side just to protect their interests.

For many years drug traffickers have enjoyed the privilege of using Venezuelan airports and seaports to transport drugs that end up in the United States and Europe.  It goes without saying that they are scared to death to lose an ally such as Maduro.  It is reasonable that the drug mafias are likely to use their murderous power and capability to save the regime.

The president of Costa Rica, Guillermo Solis blasted Luis Almagro, the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), for having a belligerent attitude towards Maduro. Solis also claimed that there is nothing we can do to solve the Venezuelan crisis.

In a recent press conference call the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Michael Fitzpatrick declared that the crisis in Venezuela is a problem for the Venezuelans to solve.

Well, if drug trafficking, terrorism, mass flow of refugees, malevolent Russian, and both a Cuban and Iranian presence is not our problem, what is our problem?

U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere, and in particular Venezuela, has yet to be defined.  It is a policy inherited from the Obama and Bush Administrations, as well as the State Department bureaucracy.  This policy is defensive and projects concern that the U.S. might be blamed for the ouster of Maduro.  Really?

If we apply crippling sanctions we would be siding with the people of Venezuela. Hungry and angry Venezuelans are going to blame the U.S. for the downfall of the tyrant? This cannot be serious.

The U.S. Senate introduced bi-partisan legislation that codifies into law the executive orders issued by Obama – but not properly implemented.  According to which, sanctions are to be imposed on violators of human rights, drug traffickers and corrupt officials.

All this is very nice, but there is no movement yet.

The Trump Administration has acknowledged that the problem is serious but so far no economic sanctions have been imposed since sanctions were imposed on the Venezuelan vice-president, Tareck Al Assami, in February.

In an article written last month, I pointed out:

“[I]t is unbelievable that in the year 2004, when the people of the Ukraine rebelled against a fraudulent government, they got more American and international attention than Venezuela is getting now”. A few years ago, the Obama Administration asked Hosni Mubarak to step down from office as popular uprisings began to fill the streets of Cairo. The Reagan Administration in the late 1980’s asked Ferdinand Marcus in the Philippines to step down as soon as it realized that the regime was unsustainable”

So, why can’t we apply the same logic to Venezuela, where our national security is at higher stake, and announce that “Maduro has to go?”

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