Since we haven’t checked in on the collapsed nation of Venezuela for a little while we might as well take a look at the humanitarian aid situation. As you likely know, the people of that country have been facing starvation conditions for months on end, as well as being lacking in potable water and basic medical supplies. Fortunately, some aid has been arriving but almost all of it is immediately confiscated by the government so they can distribute it themselves. Good news, right?
Well… yes and no. There are food relief boxes being given out (known as CLAP boxes) to some of the hungry people, but there’s a catch. If you want to get one from the local brute squad, you are first required to sign a petition denouncing the United States and Donald Trump, specifically denouncing sanctions on the nation. It’s part of the government’s “No More Trump” campaign. And if you don’t sign, you don’t get the food. (from Agence France Press)
The Maduro government has been gathering signatures among Venezuelans as part of its “No More Trump” campaign…
But the opposition says that the Maduro government has gathered the signatures through extortion over desperately needed nutritional assistance. Videos recently posted by the citizen journalism site Reporte Ya and elsewhere showed what appeared to be Venezuelans refusing orders to sign in exchange for receiving the aid, known locally as a CLAP box.
“If you don’t sign against Trump and sanctions, there won’t be any CLAP food boxes,” a municipal woman is quoted as saying by La Patilla, a prominent news site close to the opposition.
The US State Department described Maduro’s effort as a “starvation petition” and said it was evidence that he could not win a fair election.
The fact that the dictator of the nation is forcing starving people to sign a petition in order to receive food doesn’t exactly instill one with a lot of confidence as to the sincerity of the people opposing the United States. But then again, that tends to fit in well with the usual maneuvers of a socialist dictator, so there you go.
But why bother collecting petition signatures in the first place? As it turns out, the annual UN General Assembly is coming up later this month. There have been rumors that Maduro plans to attend and if so, he would like to present the petition to the United Nations and ask them to intervene on his behalf. Considering the number of UN nations that have already recognized Juan Guaido as interim president, his prospects probably aren’t great.
But this scenario does bring up another fascinating if unlikely possibility. Let’s just say that Maduro does travel to the UN General Assembly. He will be coming to New York City. I’m sure you’re already guessing what I’m about to suggest and saying I’m crazy, but hear me out. All of the dignitaries traveling to the UN for these events are supposed to be essentially untouchable. I get that. But the United States, along with most of the world, no longer recognizes Maduro as the President of his country. We’ve formally recognized Guaido
If Maduro isn’t the President, he isn’t the official representative with a seat at the conference. In fact, he holds no official position at all. He’s just some guy from Venezuela riding through Manhattan in a limo who probably has a list of war crimes as long as your arm trailing behind him. What would happen if the FBI, CIA or some other agency just pulled his car over for a “traffic infraction,” threw a bag over his head and shipped him off a secure holding facility?
Yes, yes… you’re right. It would probably start a war, so we probably shouldn’t do it. But if nothing else, it would make for the plot of a great Tom Clancy novel.