Less than a month after taking office, President Trump condemned the rigorous socialist government of Venezuela, amazing both for the United States and the United States.
Associate Editor and Senior National Security Correspondent
The statement followed an impromptu meeting of the Oval Office with the wife of a prominent leader of the opposition in Venezuela. In one of his first foreign-language tweets, Trump condemned Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and demanded the immediate release of the prisoner.
The two years of escalating sanctions, rhetorical raids, and occasional military threats that followed helped Venezuela collapse even more. While Maduro remains, the emergence of opposition leader Juan Guaydo this week gave Trump both a potential foreign policy victory and a desperately needed political victory at home – especially in Florida, a country that had to win, the re-election and home of an increasingly influential Venezuelan emigrant community  Following Guido's recognition of a temporary president on Wednesday, the administration began on Friday to start providing Venezuelan assets, including international reserves, and the US oil company Citgo, for st government. New Special Envoy, retired senior diplomat Elliot Abrams, was appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, called "our efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela."
The road to achieving this goal is unlikely – with the possibility that Maduro can direct US diplomats to the land there or trap them without water or electricity at the embassy.
But so far, the president, who promised to avoid foreign interference and put America first, has a small flaw. 19659009] With few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are largely united in support of Guido's Trump's recognition. The position is particularly popular in South Florida, where traditionally the pro-Republican Cuban American community is closely aligned with the cause of pushing a regime that has adhered to Communist Cuba. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Latin America's influential voice, who called for the launch of Trump's Oval Bureau in 2017 with the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, said he was "very proud of Pompeo's diplomatic engagement with the Venezuelan opposition. Trump's administration, he said, "deserves a lot of credit" to support the anti-Madura cause, especially because the president and his counselors "have been careful not to act without consensus on our democratic partners" in the region.
– What you see now is democracy once again at a march. Much of this is due to the leadership of the United States, "rep. Mario Dias-Balart (R-Fla.), Who bundled with the officials of the White House, Rubio and others to achieve Latin America's policy. 19659012] Political analysts say Venezuelan, Cuban and other Latin American voters in countries like Florida are carefully watching what's happening in Caracas.
Chris Miles, a Cuban political counselor in Miami, said middle-class Venezuelans living in this city often come with assets and political know-how that make them a political power, like the Cubans in front of them.
"We've seen this movie before, we know how it works," he said. "We just see how it evolves in a different way."
"If I was a Trump, I would have been on my way to re-election, as she certainly needs Florida," said a former assistant to the Congress, familiar with the aspects of the administration's strategy for Venezuela.
Some Democrats do not see Trump's actions as more than a welcome clip of his record and are skeptical about MPs who applaud him. It's about politics, "said Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Whose region has the largest concentration of Venezuelan Americans in the country. "I know the Venezuelan community is happy to get its support. , "I do not want this to mean that somehow Donald Trump receives credit for the support of any other dictator on planet Earth. "
But Wasserman Schultz and Dias-Balart agreed this week that at least Venezuela is not political at the moment
" There is no daylight, "said Wasserman Schultz in an interview shortly after a meeting with Venezuelan Venezuelan leaders in his area . "Maduro has to go – this is the overwhelming opinion of the majority of Congress members on both sides."
While the administration's attention paid to Venezuela, since the initial Oval Office meeting was sporadically amid a myriad of other crises,
Under the pressure of Rubio and others, as well as Vice President Pens, a pious Christian whose constitutional region sees an ideological and human imperative in Venezuela – Trump needed little encouragement.
The President did not want to go. Although it periodically warns that US troops can bring down Maduro if necessary, the Pentagon clearly states that it is not interested in finding a conflict in this hemisphere. Maduro's closest and strongest ally is Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump is not inclined to stand up for. And the prospect of striking Venezuela with sanctions where it would really hurt – in the oil industry that has kept the country alive, largely with exports to the United States – also risked economic damage in that country.
Trump said a little about Latin America during his election campaign and as president canceled three planned visits there before attending the economic meeting of the 20's in Buenos Aires at the end of last year. The title of this visit was the meeting with Chinese President Cindy Zinpin and the US-US war between the US and China. stylistic socialism. In Florida, Trump said that unless Republican Ron Desantis became a governor, "Florida will become another Venezuela, and that's not good."
Desantis, who acknowledges his victory for Trump's approval, joined Rubio and the new Senator Rick Scott (R) -Fla.) In the White House on Tuesday, the day before Trump's diplomatic break with Maduro's government. Desantis later said he advised Trump to "take advantage of the moment," acknowledging Guaydo, and that they are discussing the ties between Maduro and Castro's regime in Cuba.
And Rubio mentioned that Trump's decision had already been taken. "If Guaido said he would become a temporary president," the move that the opposition leader made the next day, "the administration had to admit it." The conversation was about how to make sure the United States did everything in order to help him – acknowledge it, to ensure that the international community did the same, what assistance might be needed, what action would be taken on [Organization of American States] and [United Nations] the Security Council, "said the assistant, ruling in anonymity on the closed meeting They doors.
How does the administration take care of this, the changes in Venezuela being in the forefront of Venezuelans and other Latin Americans in Florida, even if both countries see their voices.
In the kitchen of Pepito's Plaza, a Venezuelan restaurant at a gas station in Doral, a city with a large population of foreigners, four employees carefully watched a CNN update for Venezuela on Thursday.
"Although our country did not have a good relationship with the US, the US government has shown that it supports democracy and freedom, especially for Venus. zuelans, "said Glorialba Reville, a 21-year-old food server
Reville left Venezuela in May last year, joining three of his brothers who were already in Dover. Her parents come two months later, she said. In Venezuela, "there is no quality of life and no future," Reville said. "You can not walk in the street or roll around the windows of your car without fear of being kidnapped or killed."
Ernesto Ackermann, founder of an independent Venezuelan-American organization based in Miami Citizens say migrants in South Florida, whether Republican or Democrat, will remember the Trump administration's actions in the ballot box in 2020. "After nearly eight years of almost silence from the Obama administration, Trump takes a strong, firm stance against Maduro. "
Ackermann believes the president has not only strengthened the support of the Venezuelan Americans who voted for him in 2016 but also received votes from those who disagree with his foreign policy.
On the other hand, Carlos Perreira, a Venezuelan citizen The American Democrat, who was unsuccessfully competing for Florida's headquarters and Doral's municipal council, said it was too early to assess the impact of Trump's aggressive stance on his colleagues.
"From an emotional point of view, what Trump has done is great and we should thank him for that," said Pereira, "but it can be a dog and a pony show to harden. support among Republican voters who want to make Venezuela great again. "
Alvarado reported from Miami. Karoun Demirjian in Washington, Anthony Faiola in Rio de Janeiro and Rachelle Krieger in Miami contributed to this report.