While the people of Venezuela are starving to death, their president, Nicolas Maduro, lives in opulence, using the poor conditions to solidify his power. While many nations have condemned the dictator, President Trump has decided to act.
Trump Administration Targets Nicolas Maduro
Earlier this year, members of the Trump administration met to discuss options for addressing the situation in Venezuela. They decided to apply tough sanctions on top officials in Maduro’s government.
“They know we’re after them, and they know we’re after them on a multinational basis because we’re beginning to see the networks morph and new shell companies stand up and existing ones wound down,” Said Marshall Billingslea, the assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing.
A team of financial forensic investigators from the U.S., Panama, Colombia, and Mexico tracked down transactions that were controlled by a businessman connected to Maduro’s government. Since taking office, Trump has sanctioned many other prominent Venezuelans, including Maduro himself, for human rights abuses.
One of the accusations against Maduro is his use of food to control the populace.
Maduro “Weaponizing” Food
In 2016, the Venezuelan president began distributing CLAP boxes full of food. He claimed that these boxes were designed to ease the hunger of his citizenry. However, it appears Maduro might have a more insidious purpose.
According to The Associated Press, the CLAP program “has become a tenuous lifeline for millions of citizens suffering due to barren supermarket shelves and hyperinflation estimated by the International Monetary Fund to soon reach 1 million percent.” Maduro’s supposed generosity is simply a means of control and a safeguard against those who wish to depose him.
Some have accused Maduro of providing the boxes to government workers and supporters of his administration. A poll showed that about 60% of Venezuelan households have received a CLAP box, which is roughly the same percentage as those who helped to re-elect the president.
Maduro’s oppressive actions have prompted other Latin American leaders to criticize him. They have called for him to be put on trial in an international court for crimes against humanity.
Can the United States Help?
The Venezuelan situation has earned sympathy from all over the world. The United States, along with other countries, are already taking action to ease the suffering. President Trump has committed to doing everything possible to address the problem. “I just want to see Venezuela straightened out, I want the people to be safe,” he told reporters. “We’re going to take care of Venezuela — what’s happening in Venezuela is a disgrace.”
Trump has also indicated that military options are on the table, but that is obviously not the desired outcome. It is not easy to predict how the situation will turn out. A true despot, Maduro does not seem interested in abdicating his position or working to improve the living conditions of his people.
Many Venezuelans have grown weary of the tyranny under which they are living. Some have even deserted, or rebelled. However, it does not appear that a large-scale revolt is on the horizon in the near future. Either way, it is clear that the Trump administration is intent on fixing the problem.