Trump’s Remarks Turn Attention Towards Venezuelan Crisis


Once again President Trump’s twitter account made headlines all over the world with the following tweet: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act out unwisely. Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will find another path!” While recently, the ongoing escalation of tension between the governments of North Korea and The United States has received a great deal of attention, America has also recently sparked some controversy in another part of the world. Overshadowed by his remarks on North Korea, President Trump also weighed in on the current situation in Venezuela, stating that he is not ruling out military action in the South American country. Despite President Trump’s words, actual military action in Venezuela seems to be very unlikely. It would be a very tough task to gain enough support from Congress and the rest of the public. Not to mention the number of potential casualties that could occur within a country of 32 million people and in a region already weary of previous U.S. military operations.

Despite not making many headlines, the situation in Venezuela has been unfolding for a while now. President Trump’s recent remarks reflect his frustration towards the Nicolás Maduro regime. The White House gave the following statement regarding the situation, “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.” Despite being a democracy, the Venezuelan government has steadily begun a continuous descent into a dictatorship under the control of President Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is the predecessor of Hugo Chavez, a political figure who was both widely beloved and harshly criticized. Chavez was considered to be a revolutionary, who believed in giving power to the people. Ironically though, under both his and Maduro’s administrations, essentially all governmental power has been shifted to the president thanks to deep corruption and manipulation of democratic processes. Recently Maduro claimed victory in a political vote that will essentially allow him to rewrite the constitution and all but in name turn Venezuela into a full on dictatorship.

The current political crisis has also resulted in an economic crisis. A country with the largest proved oil reserves in the world has crumbled due to the plunge in oil prices, and poor monetary policy has lead to staggering inflation which has made the exchange rate at about 11 Venezuelan dollars (bolivars) for one U.S. penny. The Venezuelan government is unable to provide even the simplest of goods for their people such as food and running water. When going to a grocery store in Venezuela, it is not uncommon to be greeted by a sight of completely barren or looted food aisles, resulting in many citizens having to cross the Colombian border just to get their next meals. Crime has seen a sharp uptick and civilians are dying due to lack of access to medicine. A country that was once thriving in South America is now on the brink of total irreversible collapse.

Maduro’s regime proves to be increasingly less stable by the day, however. In a country where 82% of the population lives below the poverty line and the vast majority strongly oppose Maduro’s administration, the economic pressures and voices of Maduro’s opposers will grow too strong to ignore. It is inevitable that Maduro’s corrupt socialist state will one day collapse in failure. With that said, one can only hope that it will end as quickly and peacefully as possible so that a sense of hope can finally return to the people of Venezuela.

EJ Patterson

EJ Patterson is a sophomore at the University of Virginia pursuing a double major in computer science and foreign affairs
EJ Patterson