Reason Podcast

Donald Trump Wants To Fire Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Is That a Good Idea?: Podcast

José Ignacio Guédez, a member of the oppostion party La Causa R, says economic sanctions and political pressure will help restore democracy.

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Desperate after years of economic disaster and political repression, Venezuelans are protesting in ever-greater numbers against the regime of President Nicolás Maduro, who was re-elected to a second six-year term last year in elections widely denounced as fraudulent.

In January, the Lima Group, an ad hoc consortium of 11 Latin American countries and Canada, refused to recognize Maduro as president. At the same time, Juan Guaidó, the president of the National Assembly, took an oath to serve as interim president of the country. His government has been recognized by members of the Lima Group as well as the Trump administration, which also levied sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector. At the same time, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is also pursuing an ambitious "a plan to reshape Latin America," causing many to wonder if a return to a historically disastrous gunboat diplomacy is in the offing.

For today's Reason Podcast, I spoke with José Ignacio Guédez, a member of the opposition party La Causa R, about the dire state of economic and political disaster in Venezuela, why it's important to remove Maduro from power and have a free and fair election, and why the troubled history of American intervention into Latin America complicates the way forward to a peaceful transition of power.

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63 responses to “Donald Trump Wants To Fire Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Is That a Good Idea?: Podcast

    1. Like all communists, Maduro should be destroyed.

      1. Bolsonaro should offer Maduro a helicopter ride out of Venezuela.

        1. Not quite as pleasant as seeing Nicolas and Cilia hanging upside down outside Miraflores, but I’ll take it.

      2. It’s not a call for the US government though. Communism always eats itself up from it’s rotten core outwards. The people will rebel when it’s time. If our government cuts them off economically though, that’s fine.

        1. “The people will rebel when it’s time.”

          No, they’ll rebel when it’s long since time. The time to rebel against communism is right at the beginning, not after it has destroyed your society.

  1. For the sake of people of Venezuela, I hope the transfer of power is peaceful.

    If the reports I’ve read about the Cubans having been integrated into the Venezuelan military and police are to be believed, Maduro may not be able to turn back now even if he wanted to do so. I’ve read that Venezuela ships 100,000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba. The question isn’t just how much pressure the international community can put on Maduro. It’s also how valuable that oil is to Cuba. I’ve read that there may be as many as 15,000 Cuban troops in Venezuela.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2019/01…..a-oil.html

    Venezuela still owes China $20 billion in their loan for oil program. That’s 20 billion incentives to help him stay in power.

    If Maduro steps down, it will only be because we or the international community offers him something better than what he has now. Isolating Maduro, indicting him a the World Court, etc. only makes it less likely that he’ll step down. Moral superiority feels great, but what about the consequences for the people of Venezuela?

    1. Considering how well Maduro’s pals are ruining the oil industry, I’d say that’s 20 billion incentives for regime change.

      1. I think you’re missing the point that once Maduro is no longer in power, the new government may not feel compelled to abide by any international agreements that weren’t ratified by a freely elected legislature.

        Especially when average people in Venezuela are suffering from malnutrition, how popular do you imagine it will be for the new government to send China $20 billion?

        1. Those frozen bank accounts could come in handy. And Chavez daughter “inherited” 4.2 billion from her daddy, and is now living in the states as Venezuela’s “alternate” ambassador to the UN.

          Four billion would make a 20% down payment. Don’t see why she couldn’t live on 200 million she’d have left.

    2. Should we follow your advice for all criminals? Offer them a nice house, car, and retirement pay, if they will just quit being bad guys?

      1. Sadly, politics often points to such a solution for the really big criminals.

        Of course, that should be done only where strictly necessary to get a guy out of office and replace him with somene who’s a bit better.

        I don’t know if we’re in a position to offer stuff like that to Maduro, or if it would be timely, but sometimes a St. Helena option might be best for everyone.

        1. BUT…how many dictators are clinging to power after they saw the Quadaffi video, or hear talk about a prosecution?

      2. Hmm.
        What happens if we put a bullet in him, nice and quiet?
        Not advocating for it, just wondering.

        That was definitely the correct move after Obama made his idiotic red line comment. I’m glad that’s not what happened since Assad is the best option in Syria, but from a purely geopolitical/psychological standpoint it would’ve been the right thing to do: send a message without committing. Of course, the question of if we’d even be capable of that is another matter.

        And Maduro is a different scenario for multiple reasons. I’m guessing it would result in civil war, but I’m curious what the Cubans would do in such a situation. Obviously, it wouldn’t be great PR for the US

      3. Maybe a nice Cuban hacienda? I.e. Gitmo.

      4. “Should we follow your advice for all criminals? Offer them a nice house, car, and retirement pay, if they will just quit being bad guys?”

        Because a solution doesn’t solve every problem is not a good reason not to apply it in one case where it’s especially effective. Meanwhile, the question isn’t whether criminals, generally, shouldn’t be prosecuted for perpetrating crimes.

        The question is whether Maduro can be persuaded to step down without Venezuela turning into something like Syria and its people suffering the effects of a bloody civil war that may or may not remove him from power. The question is whether isolating Maduro and going after him in the International Criminal Court will make him more likely to step down and less likely to initiate a civil war.

        1. You just know Maduro, and Cabello, and El Aissami would be up to their old tricks in no time.

          Look at Zelaya in Honduras, or Ortega in Nicaragua.

  2. Sure wish the podcasts on reason were transcribed, since I don’t feel like listening to 20 minutes to an hour of talk just to hear the few minutes I’m interested in.

    1. Jerry B.|2.1.19 @ 9:16PM|#
      “Sure wish the podcasts on reason were transcribed, since I don’t feel like listening to 20 minutes to an hour of talk just to hear the few minutes I’m interested in.”

      Yeah, the jacket is convinced I want to hear he yammering. I don’t.

  3. There’s something important to learn from this stuff.

    When Pinochet held a referendum on his own rule and respected the results to the point that he stepped down more or less peacefully, it wasn’t because the United States was his enemy. It was because the United States was his friend. Maintaining that relationship was important to Chile.

    When Mubarak stepped down, it became clear pretty quickly that Mubarak was more beholden to the Egyptian military than the military and the police were beholden to him. And, again, going back before 9/11, Mubarak was a U.S. ally. The military dictators we make friends with sometimes step down in the face of public pressure because they’re our friends–not because we isolated them.

    It’s great that the necons have largely lost the public, but I wish the public would go back and pick up where we left off with the Kirkpatrick doctrine. There were some babies in that bathwater!

    At one point, if Assad had been given the opportunity to abdicate with his head on his neck and some money in the bank, he might have taken it. That opportunity never presented itself, and the people of Syria are still suffering for it. I hope Maduro gets the opportunity. I wonder if he’s ever been to the south of France.

    1. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine is a bunch of rannygazoo.

        1. Well, for starts, look at recent history. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was based on the supposition that the Soviet Bloc would last for a very long time. Yet eastern Europe has become democratic, while many Latin American dictatorships persist.

          1. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. We’re talking about two very different types of cultures. Although you make a good point about the Soviet system. They did a good job bullshitting the world about there overall wherewithal. But the hat is something traditionally Russian.

            But maybe you have a point.

          2. “The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was based on the supposition that the Soviet Bloc would last for a very long time. Yet eastern Europe has become democratic, while many Latin American dictatorships persist.”

            Because the Soviet Union fell, in no small part as a result of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine, is no reason to pretend that the Kirkpatrick Doctrine was ineffective or proved wrong by the Soviet Union’s fall. After all, the purpose of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine was to fight the Soviet Union. If it worked even better and faster than she thought, that doesn’t mean she was wrong on the fundamentals.

            Meanwhile, Pinochet held a referendum on his own rule and stepped down when he lost.

            Meanwhile, the validity and effectiveness of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine isn’t correctly measured by the continued existence of authoritarian regimes in Latin America, like Venezuela, that didn’t exist at the end of the Cold War. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was not a method to ensure that authoritarian governments would never exist again.

            Meanwhile, surely, you’re not pointing to Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua as an excellent example of why it was foolish to fight against totalitarian ideologies in central America, are you?

    2. Maduro deserves to get Ceau?escued.

      1. But do the Venezuelan people deserve to be Assaded?

    3. “if Assad had been given the opportunity to abdicate with his head on his neck and some money in the bank, he might have taken it. That opportunity never presented itself, and the people of Syria are still suffering for it.”

      Not sure you’re correct on that one. I dont think the rebellion was ever as innocent and pure as it’s origins are sold as. Assad also isn’t as bad as he’s sold as (which isn’t to say he’s good). Do you really believe all those gas attacks were by Assad? Or even, all actually happened? The neocons and Obama admin were involved neck deep in that from the get go. Lest you forget two of Hillary’s biggest donors – SA and Qatar

      1. The gas attacks aren’t the issue and neither is the purity or innocence of the rebels. The question is whether all that bloodshed could have been avoided.

        Here’s another example of the U.S. having influence with a vicious dictator and using that influence to get him to step down:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J…..#Departure

        Incidentally, in that case, I think the U.S. government may have had a legitimate libertarian interest in helping that country avoid a civil war. Those of you who oppose open immigration should be especially sympathetic to that. After all, if and when there’s a civil war in Haiti, that will mean boatloads of Haitian refugees flooding onto the beaches of Florida.

        Regardless, if the only options under consideration are a civil war, a U.S. led military intervention, or persuading the leader to go peacefully into exile, I’ll take the latter. One of the problems with the International Criminal Court is that it can take the possibility of exile off the table. “Baby Doc” can’t be persuaded to spend the rest of his life in France if going to France means he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.

        1. That’s kinda my point.
          I dont think peaceful transition was an option.
          It was either civil war or crushed rebellion

    4. They are also not leftist lunatics. Chile was in good shape when Pinochet stepped down. And he never was a believer in the US as the Great Satan.

  4. Unless they advocate full freedom of speech, religion, press and association and equal rights without any exceptions, they will be no better than Maduro and we are wasting our time.

    1. I invoke Poe’s Law.

  5. “…causing many to wonder if a return to a historically disastrous gunboat diplomacy is in the offing.”

    And that is causing many to wonder how wide-spread TDS is.

    1. Yeah. Trump is making no noises about sending troops anywhere — so it must mean he’s up to something. TDS is a baffling phenomenon. I don’t get why Reason is convinced that he wants to do something he has shown zero desire to do for years now.

      Maduro leaving won’t be a bad thing. It likely won’t solve all of their problems, but it will solve at least one major one — their leader.

      1. “Maduro leaving won’t be a bad thing. It likely won’t solve all of their problems, but it will solve at least one major one — their leader.”

        Maduro is certainly a major cause for the ruined economy and starvation, but the populace elected Chavez and (once) Maduro.
        Once he’s gone, I have to wonder if enough Venezuelans have learned you can’t give away shit; there’s never enough of it.

        1. “Once he’s gone, I have to wonder if enough Venezuelans have learned you can’t give away shit; there’s never enough of it.”

          Exactly. Why learn something and take responsibility for your future when it’s just easier to blame the US? Even some of our own critters are spewing this garbage. Fuck them all. They voted themselves into their lack of toilet paper. They need to figure out where it comes from.

          1. Toilet paper doesn’t grow on trees.

          2. They voted them in ONCE. After that it was sham elections that got even more brazenly fraudulent as they went along

            The Venezuelan opposition finally stopped squabbling enough to form a united front and in 2015, despite threats and more government voting shenanigans won a two thirds majority in the National Assembly.

            What did Maduro do? Quick huddle with his cronies, declare the newly elected Congress ILLEGAL. And selected a few hundred of his cronies cronies to make up ANOTHER congress.

            1. I believe you are correct. However, this a problem that has been festering in Venezuela for over a decade. What is the proper way to remove Maduro? The US will be hated either way is the only thing that is certain. Unfortunately, I don’t think anything will change in Venezuela until there is blood in the street…and it’s already happening. Violent revolution is the only option left. Hope I’m wrong. In my opinion, a military coup is the best outcome at this point but its also rolling the dice.

  6. No need to get involved here. If the Venezuelan government falls, and there’s an old tire and a little gasoline left, the people there will “fire” him.

    1. They might need a couple more.

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  8. Just station a hospital ship and a couple of ships for protection off the coast, and wait.

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  10. Firing someone implies you had some sort of authority over hiring them.

    Trump wants to depose Maduro. He wants to stage a coup. He wants to invade a sovereign nation. He wants to murder some people. Let’s not mince words. And let’s not let him do so.

    1. Trump wants to depose Maduro. He wants to stage a coup. He wants to invade a sovereign nation. He wants to murder some people. Let’s not mince words. And let’s not let him do so.

      He’s shown, literally, zero interest in doing ANY of that. And this is coming after 8 years where a President specifically DID want to do that (why, EXACTLY, did we have to help depose Khaddafy, anyway?).

      If he wanted to invade Venezuela, we’d be invading. We aren’t.

    2. Give it a rest, you clueless dolt

  11. WOW! The Liberrtarian case for humanitarian intervention! Is this Reason, or The Weekly Standard undead ?

  12. Bolton is a perfect figurehead for the warfare state. He’s painfully unattractive, with that white mop on his head and the draggly mustache. He’s venomous, but he’s eclipsed in his manner–sneaky. The clipboard stunt with the “leak” of 5,000 troops to Columbia was classic. Bolton is a picture of male insecurity–someone who’s happy throwing rocks from behind a wall. If this is America, we’re toast.

  13. Bad strategic thinking on intervention has damaged America, by putting us on the wrong side of history. I don’t have any objection to “realpolitik,” but if the people you think you’re liberating end up hating you, that’s not realpolitik. It’s just stupidity.

    I don’t think we should be bothered by Assad, for example, or by the fact that the Russians are supporting him. One of two things will occur. If Assad does a reasonable job for his people, they will have a good view of him and of Russia. If the mess in Syria gets straightened out under Assad’s leadership, we should be happy for all involved. If, on the other hand, Assad is destroying his people and his country, he will at some point be deposed. The Syrian people will find a leader and a form of government they trust and believe in, and the Russians will be loathed and despised for supporting Assad. And that hatred could last a century or more.

    Anyone who thinks we should be aggressive in Syria should visit the Czech Republic today. When the Soviets invaded that country, America did nothing. It took 40 years, but the Czech people liberated themselves. They are extremely friendly to Americans today, and regard us as the land of the free (unlike so many countries in the mideast and Latin America). If you ask a Czech to compare the Nazi occupation with the Soviet occupation, most will say the Soviets were worse. Today, Czechs hate Russia and everything that is Russian. And the Russians thought they were “liberating” them!

  14. Methinks you confuse the Czechs with the Poles. They are basically pro West, but hate Russians is too strong.
    No one here has mentioned the role that the Petro dollar is playing in this. Those who cross their fingers and say military intervention is not in the cards forget that sanctions are economic warfare on the poor. People will starve, or die from lack of medication.

    1. People ARE starving and people ARE dying from lack of medication. There is 1,000,000% inflation rate. And we buy Venezuelan oil. They are our third largest supplier. Sanctions are on the bank accounts and assets of government officials and their companies.

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  19. There’s a video out on the supposed assassination attempt against Maduro a few months ago. It was at a military event and El Comandante was reviewing the troops. (Supposedly a drone attack but it just sounds like fireworks.)

    The interesting thing is watching the troops SCATTER when they heard explosives. While Maduro’s bodyguards were ushering him off the stage, the troops just …took off running.

    1. That killer drone attack was about the funniest thing I saw all year.

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  22. Trump can fire a president in a Latin American country?
    Gee, I didn’t know that.
    I must’ve overlooked that part in the US Constitution.
    Silly me.

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