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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: The 5 Reasons for the Success of the Embargo Against Venezuela's Maduro Regime
"Will the embargo be successful this time?" asks Latin American genius (and Cuban exile) Carlos Alberto Montaner as he lays out the 5 reasons he believes US will be successful this time.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Will the embargo be successful this time? Washington has a very clear purpose – to provoke a regime change in Venezuela and put an end to the narco-dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, allied to the Islamist terrorists.

That is the goal.

It was not effective against the Castro dictatorship. Why would it be against Maduro’s regime?

I think it will be able to oust Maduro from power.

Actually, they are very different situations. The Castros consolidated their communist tyranny in 18 months and had the USSR’s full support. This support remained in place until 1991.

After that date, it was believed in Washington that the Castro regime would collapse under its own weight, as was the case with the European Soviet satellites.

They didn’t take into account Fidel’s repression ability nor his absolute lack of scruples. He began by eliminating the sympathizers of perestroika in his environment. In the summer of 1989, he ordered the execution of General Arnaldo Ochoa and Colonel Tony de la Guardia, while José Abrantes, the Interior Minister, died shortly after when he suffered a “heart attack,” provoked while he was in prison.

Fidel expelled all who smelled of reformists from the intelligence services under the pretext of the unification of the Army and State Security. That guaranteed him the monolithic uniformity of his regime.

There are five key differences between the two embargoes:

  • First. Cuba did not trade with the United States, but it did with the rest of the world. That allowed Cuba to borrow from Japan, France, Spain, Argentina and Panama. This time the White House has been very clear–countries and companies must choose between doing business in and with the United States, or doing them with Venezuela. It is very clear what will happen.
  • Second. The United States has created another focus of authority in Venezuela based on Juan Guaidó and the legitimate National Assembly, and has provided him with considerable international support–almost 60 countries support him. The fate of CITGO, in the United States, is in the hands of the opposition, and it is quite possible that Guaidó and his Venezuelan advisers have some power of intervention in the implementation of the embargo. That possibility was wasted in Cuba when Obama, contradicting his own words and declarations, unconditionally established relations with the Island and only received from Raúl Castro the resurgence of repression against the democratic opposition.
  • Third. The image of Maduro’s regime is frightening. It is proven that they murder. It is obvious that they commit abuses against the people. It is known, from the testimony of regime’s participants, that it is a corrupt narco-state. Fidel did the same, but his image was much better. Any head of state proudly displayed his photo with the Commander. They went to Havana to see him and hear the nonsense he said because he aroused some anthropological interest. Maduro and his “ornithological socialism” (as Vargas Llosa calls it) are the laughing stock of everybody.
  • Fourth. Given that image, it is relatively easy for China and Russia to change their alliances. Why and what for they would have to support a narco idiot who talks to the birds and, even worse, is allied with the Islamist terrorists that both in China and in Russia have created serious problems? Are the substantial debts contracted by Caracas the explanation? It is evident that there are more possibilities of recovering the money approaching Guaidó than Maduro. Even John Bolton left open the possibility of the United States guaranteeing debts if China and Russia change their alliances and place themselves on the right side of history.
  • Fifth. Although Trump and Pence continue to repeat as a mantra that “all actions are on the table,” Washington and its allies prefer to end the narco-dictatorship by the impeccable electoral route. Everyone agrees that the National Electoral Council must be replaced, that the use of computers should be fully supervised so that there is no fraud, and that the electoral roll should be purged. The electoral route proves where the country can go after the regime change. It clears the future. Only the difficult problem of the victimizers remains to be solved, but the good treatment given in the United States to General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, no less than the head of SEBIN, clears any doubt. That is the way.

Maduro, then, is about to leave. It’s his own fault.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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