Could Trump, of All People, Bring Down Maduro and the Chavista Regime?

Could Trump, of All People, Bring Down Maduro and the Chavista Regime?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

If Donald Trump ends up being the catalyst that leads to the fall of the Chavista regime in Venezuela, it would be further proof that history has a sense of humor, if a dark one.

Over the past week, the Trump administration has ratcheted up the pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s government, recognizing the opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president, imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company and its assets, and turning over control of the country’s U.S. bank accounts to Guaido. Through it all, the administration has refused to rule out a military intervention, repeating its refrain that “all options are on the table.”

Given the extent of the humanitarian catastrophe visited upon Venezuela by Maduro and the Chavista regime, there is every reason to hope for their ouster. That it might come in the form of a forceful nudge from President Trump would be ironic on a number of levels.

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