On January 23, 2019, Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s lawful head of state, and the United States immediately announced its support. Guaidó’s announcement came just weeks after Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro began his second term in office. Maduro, who has been in office since 2013 and was reelected last year in what many analysts called a “sham election,” has faced mounting opposition in Venezuela due to the country’s ongoing economic crisis and famine. A week after endorsing Guidó, National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared to disclose plans to send 5,000 troops to Colombia during a White House press conference to announce stiff oil sanctions against Venezuela.
The United States’ quick declaration of support for Guaidó, sanctions of the Maduro regime, and threats of military intervention against Maduro will do nothing to help the thousands of Venezuelans who are suffering from hunger and economic instability. Indeed, some analysts fear sanctions against Maduro will only worsen the nation’s hyperinflation and fuel and food shortages. Despite Trump’s rhetoric about defending democracy in Venezuela, Bolton himself has framed intervening in the oil-rich nation’s affairs as a business opportunity. Rather than escalating tensions with military action and harsh sanctions, the US should employ diplomatic channels to convince Maduro to allow a new election while increasing humanitarian aid to suffering Venezuelans.
Urge your representative to oppose military intervention in Venezuela and demand the US focus its efforts on calling for new elections and increasing humanitarian aid to Venezuelan civilians.