“Venezuela is a very dangerous mess” said President Trump on August 11 at his New Jersey Golf Club. (1) The Venezuelan Bolivar inflation rate accelerates at an alarming pace, losing more than 50% of its value in the last month. (7)
(Image: Slums in Caracas, Venezuela)
Venezuela’s socialist economy, once propped up by the sale of petroleum at $150 per barrel, now struggles to compete with $50 per barrel. (8) There are massive shortages of food and medicine. The capital of Venezuela, Caracas is the second most dangerous city in the world with 116 homicides per 100,000 residents. Valencia, Venezuela ranks 7th on the world’s deadliest cities and Ciudad Guayana is 12th. (9)
“The people are suffering and dying” Trump follows up, “A military operation or military option is certainly something we could pursue.” But he declined to comment on whether it would be a US lead operation. (1)
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza Montserrat will address the UN Human Rights Council next week. This news angered Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who stated at a September 6th press release:
“The fact that Venezuela is even a member of the UN Human Rights Council shows the desperate need for HRC reform. Having the Venezuelan foreign minister address the Council makes a mockery of the institution. The Maduro regime continues to rob the Venezuelan people of their freedom and their prosperity. Rather than welcoming the Venezuelan foreign minister, the Human Rights Council should be denouncing his government.” (2)
Nikki Haley doesn’t want to give him a voice. She blames him for the violent uprising of his country and has been vocal about a referendum for the Venezuelan Presidential Elections.
Instead of a Presidential election, President Maduro offered the citizens a Venezuelan referendum on whether to elect a legislative body to reform their failed constitution. This election of a Constituent Assembly reported the highest turn out in Venezuelan history with over 41% of the population, 8.1 million vote casted, though opposition groups estimated lower turnouts.(4)
US officials were displeased with the election results. US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley tweeted that Venezuela’s “illegit govt” “won’t be accepted”. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin agreed, “Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.” (3)
The United States responded with sanctions on President Maduro, freezing access to his US assets, but continuing to purchase Venezuelan oil. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin agreed, “Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.” (3) US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley tweeted that Venezuela’s “illegit govt” “won’t be accepted”.
The mainstream media blamed Maduro for the violence. Several US officials are critical of Maduro and his use of police, but a police envoy was attacked with grenades and officers were lit on fire. Another police officer was killed in the by a protester proving that there was violence on both sides, as reported by Al Jazerra. In a video of the conflict you see police being fire bombed but the reporter says nothing about the violent and well armed protesters. (4) Al Jazerra has a strong, unstated interest in Venezuela’s leadership being a media organization owned by the government of Qatar, a primary OPEC nation who enjoys control over the international sale of oil.
With Venezuela already in shambles and America unwilling to support another foreign intervention for the sake of oil interests, it would take a lot for American troops to be deployed to Caracas. The United Nation’s international military is less accountable to any one nation and the President of the U.N. Security Council just demanded Maduro’s Foreign Minister not be given a voice or a seat at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Speaking to the HRC gives you the ear of the world, something President Maduro desperately needs if he wants any chance of convincing the international community the Constituent Assembly’s changes to the Venezuelan Constitution will be fair to the opposition. This strikes to the heart of what a Constitution is, a document designed to protect the people from its government. I for one want to hear what changes the Assembly wants to make.