Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com.
In the prisons of Venezuela, the shortage of food has become so acute that inmates have resorted to cannibalism. Many of the country’s hospitals are even short of soap and gloves, while cancer medicines only exist on the black market.
Once one of the world’s top five economies, Venezuela has been destroyed by socialism. The rising discontent inside the country threatens civil war between forces supporting socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro (shown) and those backing National Assembly chief Juan Guaidó, who claims to have won last year’s presidential election.
Outside powers have chosen sides in the dispute, with Cuba, Russia, and China all favoring Maduro, and the United States and the European Union siding with Guaidó.
One obstacle to Maduro stepping down is his concern over what would be his fate after he did so. Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations, has written a report highly critical of Maduro, detailing alleged human rights violations inside Venezuela. These charges could be a basis for which to charge Maduro in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
In an effort to resolve the impasse, the United States appears willing to promise the dictator that America would leave him alone were he to exit Venezuela. The United States does not recognize the authority of the ICC, having never agreed to any treaty supporting it.
The United States was the first world power to recognize Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela, in January. In addition, the United States has used a variety of ways to get Maduro out of power, including offering $250 million in humanitarian aid and sanctioning high-ranking members of his government, his security agencies, and the state oil company.
Thus far, the United States has not used military action, but both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have refused to rule that out, saying “all options are on the table.”
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