Over the last week, the hostile rhetoric of the United States government has escalated, in the face of Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government in Venezuela.
First, Vice President Mike Pence, in a historic speech before the Organization of American States, made three decisive statements: “The United States will not sit idly by,” “Venezuela will be free,” and “failed states have no borders.” He made these bold pronouncements in front of heads of state from the entire region. Then, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concurred with every word of the speech, indicating a united front between the Trump administration and the State Department.
Secondly, on Tuesday, May 8, the US ambassador, Nikki Haley, told the UN that the dictator, Nicolás Maduro, must resign.
“For the safety of all the people of Latin America, it’s time for Maduro to resign. I’m not sure how we’ll make that possible, but I do know that we must keep trying,” Haley said.
“We have to keep isolating Maduro until he gives in,” she added during a conference on Latin America organized by the Council of the Americas.
"It is time for Maduro to go," says UN Amb @nikkihaley of the regime of Venezuelan Pres Nicolas Maduro. Addressing the Council of the Americas at the State Dept, Haley said that under Maduro, the people of Venezuela "are the unwilling victims of a criminal narco-state." pic.twitter.com/J9P4bfF62R
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 8, 2018
These are decisive words. The United States is signalling that it would not be enough for the dictator to push for reforms. They are not suggesting that Maduro merely restore democratic order or respect dissent. No. It is clear that the priority of the Trump administration is regime change in Venezuela. And now they are demanding his resignation.
“Today the Maduro regime threatens the peace and security of the entire region. What has been described as the largest displacement in the history of the region is now taking place in Latin America,” she said.
She also made a call to other Latin American governments: “we can not allow the last, few authoritarians” (referring to the regimes of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela) “to drag down the hemisphere.”
“We have all seen the suffering of the Venezuelan people. In a region where 31% of people are poor, in Venezuela, an astounding 87% live below the poverty line. A total of 90% say they do not know where their next meal will come from,” she said.
North Korea threatened Trump and did not end well
Maduro thinks he can threaten Donald Trump. It’s laughable, but he thinks he can do it. Faced with any hostility from Venezuela, the US ambassador to the Organization of American States, Carlos Trujillo, said that the Chavista dictator does not know what he is doing.
“We know something about this president, about this administration. That President Trump does not give in to threats. We saw that with North Korea…if he thinks that his threats will work, he is wrong,” Trujillo told Venezuelan journalist Carla Angola.