LIVE STREAM: House Foreign Affairs Committee on Venezuela


“As the situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, we must not forget that various state and criminal actors are actively undermining U.S. and international efforts to restore Venezuelan democracy and rule of law. Their influence props up the Maduro dictatorship, provides lifelines for its survival, and enables a culture of corruption and narcotrafficking to thrive while the Venezuelan people suffer. The U.S. and many other countries have enacted strong measures against the Maduro regime. However, the presence of Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, and criminal networks undercut U.S. and international efforts to pressure the Venezuelan government. This hearing will examine the economic, military, and political influence of these state and non-state actors and consider how the U.S. and our international partners can counter these underlying challenges.”

R. Evan Ellis, Ph.D.
Senior Associate
Americas Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Mr. Francisco Toro
Executive Editor
Caracas Chronicles

Harold Trinkunas, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar and Associate Director for Research
Center for International Security and Cooperation
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. As I listened this, all the threats that Venezuela represents today, I could not avoid remembering all the alarms we saw from the begging, all the denunciations; military officers, politicians, political activist, and yet we couldn’t prevent this. As the level of threats has escalated, I wonder if we would fail acting. I disagree with Kikos take on MUD, we need an organized opposition, that is a fact. What we can’t afford is being dogmatic about who is to be part of it. As I see it, the one we currently have needs an urgent make over, it’s lost from the PR point of view, they are burned. They were already burned after the dialogue in 2016, but some of them recover some positive perception during the protests, and they have been crushed by their own incoherence.

    • Yeah, many are waking up from their naiveté and making great strides in FINALLY coming to terms with the scope of mafia/drug trafficking/organized crime/Cuban penetration in all sectors of Venezuela. The next frontier, unthinkable to many, is to acknowledge that the penetration of those mafias/drug trafficking/organized crime/ INCLUDES the opposition. Or are we naive enough to think that somehow the opposition is exempt from this scheme of domination?

      • The opposition doesn’t have the power to conduct large scale criminal enterprises with impunity, If the opposition had any organized power to resist the government (like FARC), then it might engage in criminal enterprise. But it doesn’t, and so it can’t.

        • Define “large scale”. The primaries have been about little feudal lords fighting each other for their principalities aka the states.

      • Especially when you go to the literature; from the KGB, to Stasi, to the new FSB that is what they do, the hijack the opposition, they don’t eliminate it, they turn it into a weapon to demoralize demobilize people. The moment to defend an organized political opposition passed, we need to build one which is savvy of this things, we won’t get out with conventional politicians, and even less our conventional politicians.

  2. The only way to rescue venezuela is through existential values system! education and morals, but with the help of a strong military international intervention!!!!

    …Unless obviously there is a need to sale arms and play cold war games again, this time in venezuela.

  3. This was very interesting to watch. So many ways to comment. But when Francisco was asked (last question ?) “if he believes more strict sanctions” are the answer, he responded not as an analyst, but as a partisan. In that, his family, friends and employees would suffer, so he can not back that option.

    Of course on a personal level, there is no doubt most would agree.

    But, the answer seems to follow the Venezuelan theme of “I have my head in the sand, and see a better way, though there is zero chance in hell it will work”.

    Oh, as an aside Luisa Ortega, said in an interview to the BBC, a month or 2 ago, that she changed sides (my words), because the regime was targeting her family. Telling, in that when it gets personal, as Francisco and Luisa did, one must suspect the messenger.

  4. You are a bunch of imperial apologists and interventionists. I hope your attempts to destroy the Bolivaruan revolution fail miserably

  5. The curious and insane aspect of a zealot like Ron Jacobs is the found at the crossroads of the socialist ideal- as a concept – and the reality on the ground, where people eat zoo animals for food, where loot is skimmed by narcos and Generals at every exchange, where kids die horribly in hospitals for the lack of medicine, where the money is worth less than ass wipe, where the government bullies, imprisons, and tanks the economy with Homeric blundering while blaming others (the “alcoholic syndrome,” whereby problems are NEVER of my own making), and all the while dupes like Delcy bray on about meddlers etc. To be sure, the Ron Jacobs of the world are rooting for the ideal, not the grim reality of the “Bolivaruan Revolution,” which by any sober measure has long ago “failed miserably.”


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