After stifling all democratic opposition in his nation and essentially turning Venezuela into a communist dictatorship, President Nicolas Maduro responded to some tough talk from President Donald Trump by offering to set up a phone call and discuss matters. While I’m sure there’s somebody down there who will be able to talk to our ambassador at some point, the top level chat requested won’t be happening. Trump has shut the door on the idea until Maduro returns some sanity to his quickly deteriorating nation. (Daily Caller)
President Trump refused to take a phone call from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday, and said he will not speak with the socialist leader until “democracy is restored in that country.”
“Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people,” the White House said in a statement on the requested phone call. “The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship.
A firm and clear response, which means that it won’t see more than a few seconds of coverage in the press. But it was definitely needed. Keep in mind that Maduro is the same guy who just tweeted this glowing tribute to Fidel Castro this morning.
Los pueblos del mundo celebramos el ejemplo de Fidel Castro, líder de la Revolución Cubana, de la dignidad y de la lucha antiimperialista pic.twitter.com/eTx9DQePYs
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) August 13, 2017
In case you don’t have Google translate turned on, that reads, “The peoples of the world celebrate the example of Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution, the dignity and the struggle against imperialism.” The video is something of a Fidel love story.
Meanwhile, any pretense of a desire for normal diplomacy on the part of Venezuela is rather undermined when Maduro’s son is going around threatening an armed assault on the White House. (Politico)
Nicolás Maduro Guerra, the son of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, threatened to “take the White House” with guns if President Donald Trump followed through with a military intervention in the country, a possibility he said he would not rule out on Friday.
“If the U.S. soils the homeland, the rifles would come to New York and take the White House,” Maduro Guerra said according to reports from Venezuelan media.
Trump on Friday said he would not rule out the U.S. pursuing “a military option” against Venezuela, which has come under increased pressure for its human rights abuses.
One can only imagine how disappointed the younger Maduro will be to arrive in New York only to discover that the White House is actually more than 220 miles away to the southwest. But still, message received. As we previously discussed, there’s pretty much zero chance that Trump is actually considering any sort of unilateral military action against Venezuela (and for good reason), and Maduro’s son is just responding to Trump’s “all options on the table” comments. Still, it doesn’t do anything to sweeten the climate between Caracas and Washington.
Does anyone actually foresee Maduro suddenly backing down and restoring the previous government, scheduling new honest elections and probably giving up the power he only just finished grabbing? Color me doubtful. And all the sanctions in the world probably won’t drive him off his perch any time soon. If we’re going to be rid of him and restore normal order in that country it’s going to take some direct action by the people of Venezuela and/or their military.