By James Wright
On Feb. 18, President Donald Trump advised that military officials in Venezuela support their self-declared interim president, Juan Guaidó. Trump also said that they should permit humanitarian aid for Venezuela, according to CNN.
At his speech in Miami, Trump urged the Venezuelan people to increase pressure on the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, and to get rid of the blockade that is preventing food and medicine shipments from entering Venezuela at the Colombian border. He talked to military leaders who support Maduro and said that their holdings have been identified and the U.S. is “prepared to use force if necessary,” The Miami Herald reported.
As Trump criticized Maduro’s regime, he also used Venezuela as an example of the “dangers of socialism” and argued for an end to socialism in Western nations, according to CNN.
“‘The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere and frankly in many, many places around the world,’” Trump said while speaking at Florida International University, according to Bloomberg. “‘The days of socialism and communism are numbered, not only in Venezuela but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.’”
Trump referenced Maduro in his recent State of the Union address, according to Bloomberg. Although the president did not link U.S. Democratic policies to socialism beliefs, he vowed he would “keep the ideology from taking hold” in a Feb. 18 speech.
“‘This will never happen to us,’” Trump said. “‘Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology, rooted in the total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism eventually must always give rise to tyranny, which it does,’” Bloomberg reported.
The United Nations and European Union still see Maduro as Venezuela’s leader. The Miami Herald reported that leftist activists have accused Trump of “adopting decades of hawkish behavior by the U.S. in South America.”
“‘This is not about democracy. This is about special interests,’” said Yadira Escobar, a radio personality who represented Hands Off Venezuela, an anti-interventionist group, according to The Miami Herald.