Trump says U.S. prepared to take further action in Venezuela

PoliticoPresident Donald Trump said Monday that the “growing crisis” in Venezuela was unacceptable and that the U.S. was ready to take further action to ensure democracy was restored in the Latin American nation.

“The Venezuelan people are starving. … ” Trump said, speaking at a dinner with leaders from the region on the sideline of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “The country is collapsing, their democratic institutions are being destroyed.”

Trump called the situation “totally unacceptable.” The president laid blame at the feet of Venezuela’s leader, Nicolas Maduro, who he said was propelling the nation’s collapse and destroying its democratic pillars. He said the United States had to “take important steps to hold the regime accountable.” …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.