Trump must deal knockout sanctions to Maduro regime

Trump must deal knockout sanctions to Maduro regime
© Getty Images

When President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump has the right foreign policy strategy — he just needs to stop talking The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump faces bipartisan criticism over Putin presser, blames media for coverage Wall Street Journal editorial board rips Trump on Helsinki: It was a 'national embarrassment' MORE and Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE inserted themselves into Honduras’ political black hole in 2009, the rule of law collapsed there. It quickly became the world leader in murder and is run by “narcotraficantes” — murderous drug runners.

Honduras is so bad that thousands of its mothers fled with their children on foot, bus and train to the Texas-Mexico border and surrendered to the first uniformed, badge-wearing Americans they saw, asking for asylum.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Obama/Clinton ignorance of Honduras, its political infrastructure and their own leftist tendencies led them to support President Manuel Zelaya, who was mimicking Hugo Chavez’s destruction of Venezuela’s democratic government and conversion into a socialist dictatorship.

 

Following the Honduran constitution to the letter, the national legislature voted to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the presidency. The court did so and ordered the army to remove Zelaya from office and from the country.

Copying Mexico’s 1935 midnight expulsion of former President Elias Calles to San Diego, still clad in his pajamas, Zelaya was flown to exile in Costa Rica.

Obama called the legal removal of the ultra-leftist President a coup and pressured all parties to participate in an ersatz election that produced another leftist president. Honduras has never recovered from the Obama/Clinton disaster. 

“If we (Obama and Hillary Clinton) were able to get to a...status quo that returned to the rule of law and constitutional order within a relatively short period of time, I think that would be a good outcome,” Clinton said. The outcome was not so good. Honduras is a living hell today.

Honduras was not alone in deteriorating under Obama and Clinton. Venezuela, with what may be the largest proven oil reserves of any nation, has a shrinking economy with galloping poverty and inflation. Obama and Clinton did little to help Venezuelans during the downward plunge under Hugo Chavez and his successor, former bus driver, Nicolas Maduro.

Three-fourths of Venezuelans lost an average of almost 20 pounds in 2016 while the economy shrank 10 percent. According to an article in The Economist, at the end of 2017, the economy will be 23-percent smaller than it was four years ago. Inflation is spiking upward at 1600 percent this year. 

There are reports that Venezuelans scrounge streets for garbage to eat.There are no groceries on store shelves, nor cash to buy them anyway. 

The average Venezuelan has few friends in Maduro’s socialist dictatorship, but he does in the U.S. Congress, as well as in the White House. That is unlike the Obama years, during which time Venezuelan freedom and free enterprise evaporated.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Senate adds members to pro-NATO group McConnell reassures Europe on Russia MORE (R-Fla.) stands for Venezuelans. In the House, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) speaks for Venezuelans. Both are Cuban Americans.

In the White House, President Donald Trump has ordered sanctions that target high-level Maduro henchmen and their families. Additionally, he issued orders blocking Venezuela from using Wall Street to prop up Maduro by buying Venezuelan petrol bonds like Goldman Sachs did earlier this year

 

Noticeably absent from the issue of Venezuelan freedom is the congressional Hispanic Caucus, which is mostly comprised of Mexican Americans and is all Democrat.

Speaking to an audience in Doral, Fla. that included Venezuelan refugees, Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceLewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report What really happened with the breastfeeding scandal in Geneva MORE and fellow Cuban-American Congressman, Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-Fla.), Sen. Rubio said:

“(The Trump administration has) done more in the last eight months than we were able to get in the last four years…This is an issue that matters to the president of the United States…I have spoken to the president seven or eight times just in the last two months about this topic, personally, at his initiative, not mine.” 

Americans who live for freedom look forward to Venezuelans doing more than taking to the streets. They hope Venezuelans take the country back so that they have enough to eat and have a government that works for the people.

To get there, Sen. Rubio and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen need to convince President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE to exercise a knockout sanction against the criminal Maduro regime.

To wit, it must prohibit the Venezuelan government-owned oil company, PDVSA — doing-business as Citgo in the U.S. — from operating in the United States. It had over $32 billion worth of sales in the U.S. in 2016, and Citgo donated $500,000 to President Trump’s inauguration.

The billions of cash Citgo earned in the United States did not reach the owners of PDVSA, i.e., the Venezuelan people. If it had, they wouldn’t be scrounging for garbage in the streets for something to eat.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby & American Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.