From Able but Unwilling, to Willing but Unable

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If I’d told you a year ago that a U.S. president would stand up in front of those famous green marble tiles in New York to give a speech that would mention Iraq once, Afghanistan once, Syria four times and Venezuela eight times, you probably wouldn’t have believed me.

But that’s exactly what happened this morning as Donald Trump, against all odds, put fighting the Venezuelan dictatorship at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse.

The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.

The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.

As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people.

The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.

We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors.

I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. (Applause.)

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.) From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.

The speech was a marked departure from the Obama Administration’s line. Under Obama, countering the Venezuelan government wasn’t even an explicit policy goal of U.S. foreign policy. Obama’s team took one look at the hemisphere and decided they had two basic goals there: normalization with Cuba and peace in Colombia. If those are your goals, it’s clear you’re not going to poke your finger into Chávez and later Maduro’s eyes: those guys were well positioned to wreck both initiatives. And so, not so much by design but by process of elimination, the Obama policy towards Venezuela amounted to “just don’t mess with it.”

It’s a peculiar and maddening situation to be in.

That was enraging. An administration with all the diplomatic chops, all the credibility, all the room for maneuver in the world, decided it just couldn’t be bothered to try to forestall Venezuela’s authoritarian slide.

Now, that formula’s been reversed: the new administration is eager to to take the fight to Maduro, but can it? Operating an interagency process that just doesn’t work, struggling to ensure the State Department and the White House speak with a single voice, badly under-staffed, short of experienced hands and dealing with a region where being seen as too close to Donald Trump can be politically suicidal, the U.S. now has all of the willingness Obama didn’t bring to the Venezuela file, but very little of the ability.

It’s a peculiar and maddening situation to be in.

Even as the president lectures the world on the need to put pressure on Venezuela, international talks likely to stabilize the Maduro regime go on unimpeded in the Dominican Republic. A more skillfully run administration would’ve found it relatively easy to quash a negotiation that doesn’t really gel with the rest of its approach. But weirdly the State Department seems to favor the Dominican track, because Foggy Bottom is running its own private Venezuela policy, much softer than the White House’s, through an Obama-era holdover that’s seems to have the rookie Secretary of State’s total confidence.

Obama might have been able to lead the international fight against chavismo, but he sure wasn’t willing. Trump —to his credit— isn’t just willing, he seems downright eager…but how can a guy who can’t even get his own National Security Council and his State Department to sing from the same policy hymn sheet hope to lead the hemisphere on something like this?

96 COMMENTS

  1. Francisco, your dislike of Trump is showing through this whole article and it’s irritating. You as a Venezuelan should be more than thankful that this President is willing and able to crush the Cuban communist dictatorship that is running your country. Trump opposing Maduro is your ONLY chance of change in the near future! Imho you should be praising Trump ffs!!!!

      • The title alone says it all. Furthermore “but how can a guy who can’t get even get his own National Security Council and his State Department to sing from the same policy hymn sheet hope to lead the hemisphere on something like this?” I’m not a huge Trump fan but at least his policies concerning Venezuela are a thousand times better than the gutless guy before him. And Quico’s dislike for Trump is all over this article imho.

      • Ira – Same here. It’s a factual article, gives source, gives precedent, nothing hidden, no name-throwing. The fight here in the U.S. is in fact that the Obama administration went along with socialist trends which have been developing in the U.S. since at least the 1930’s – and many de pinta Republicana have gone along with those trends, too (known as RINOs – Republican In Name Only). The article is very precise and to the point as well, and avoids pointless speculations, however tempting those might be, such as … “If Hillary Clinton had won the election …”. But as a mere blogger, I can speculate and ramble, as I have before, that this is a global fight, and it is ironic that The U.S. and the EU, after expending so much energy to defeat communism, are today looking at fighting it on their home turf, while Russia and China are rapidly putting distance between themselves and communism. Venezuela – if somehow democracy wins out – has a golden opportunity to “shame the Yanquis! C’mon guys!! Show us how – we need it! Get back on your feet and prosper under democracy and free markets! Please!!

    • Agree with Ira. Usually the authors on this blog virtue signal their contempt for Trump at each opportunity, but this article was very restrained. I recall the American press and Hollywood lefties being thrilled when Chavez called W Bush the devil on that very same UN stage. I have no idea what this blog had to say back then.

      When Maduro lashes back out at Trump (maybe he already has?), will the US press and lefties find love for Maduro, since they loath Trump? Not too many of them have the balls to show love for Fat Boy Kim.

      • Here’s what the blog had to say for Obama, in an unusually bi-partisan but no less lucid moment:

        https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2008/11/07/a-policy-memo-on-venezuela-for-president-elect-obama/

        Which boils down to the following:

        1) don’t get sucked into engaging in empty rhetorical exchanges with Chavismo;
        2) Direct American intervention in Venezuela is a bad idea;
        3) Forging regional economic and diplomatic ties in various targeted ways may assist.

        At the time, nobody was suggesting that either sanctions were appropriate or that American military intervention was appropriate. Nobody.

        What we have now is a change in policy namely:

        1) getting sucked into empty rhetorical exchanges with Chavismo;
        2) making obviously ridiculous threats of military intervention;
        3) putting in place a regime of direct economic “sanctions” that strictly prevents the unwilling from doing the inadvisable… and calling them “tough”;
        4) gratuitously crapping all over regional trade agreements and saying things that make the USA toxic and untrustworthy for any politician remotely interested in holding hands with the USA to engage in diplomatic efforts.

        And its all packaged up in the form of a POTUS who looks and talks like central casting for a third world despot giving an angry speech at the UN.

        The reason Trump mentioned Venezuela x many times in this speech is simple. It is because Trump thinks of his electoral college victory and Marco Rubio when he thinks of Venezuela. That is not such a bad thing, except he does not think any further than that.

        Because the political problem for his approach is this: as this situation continues to get worse, under his now self-declared leadership no less, he’s going to have to explain to Venezuelans in Florida what a great job he’s been doing for Venezuela, while his newly beefed up immigration and border security folks are deporting their relatives back to where they came from. In other words, his empty rhetoric on Venezuela is going to run up against what exactly he has done in very concrete terms for Venezuelans.

          • There is not perfect alignment. I consider CC normally within the range of sane commentary, where I consider my own opinions to be, but the similarity ends there.

            In my view, there were not a lot of options under Obama nor were there under George W. Bush. What Obama managed to do, I think, was hone to his general approach to “not do stupid shit”. And he refrained from engaging in rhetoric with Chavez and Maduro, which is not always emotionally satisfying for their opponents, but has some very practical value. Later, individually targeted measures started to ramp up.

            During Obama’s tenure, the Venezuelan regime credibly could claim a significant base of popular support (that upsets people to hear, but it was true, though true no longer), the USA was in two major wars, and it was recovering from the worst economic disaster since the great depression. On top of that, as deserves pointing out, the gringos are loathe to get involved in Venezuela because of their long standing corporate interests. The two countries remain close trading partners, to this day. That’s not exactly like Cuba.

            So before we beat up on the gringos under the Obama administration for not doing enough, consider what they might actually have realistically done, and it comes down to this basically, which I’ve plucked from the Trumpian pile of incoherent verbiage:

            “We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors.

            I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. (Applause.)”

        • 1) getting sucked into empty rhetorical exchanges with Chavismo

          Why is this so bad? Try and explain it logically.

          It worked wonders for Chavez. One thing CC likes to studiously ignore is that anti-Americanism was a driving force behind Chavez’s rise to ultimate power, helping him immensely both at home and abroad. The USA very stupidly sat back and said little to nothing in return.

          Ridicule is often a highly effective means of changing perception. There are many ignoramuses who fancy themselves sophistos who think that to be a diplomat means you must always maintain a certain decorum or never speak straight forwardly. This is just foolishness. Maybe it is a result of newer, slang like definitions for what it means to be a “diplomat”, but there is no reason to actually believe this. Any competent diplomat should know that he doesn’t always need to be polite, nor does he have to avoid being straightforward in his language.

          2) making obviously ridiculous threats of military intervention;

          This is really not well thought out. Instead of just getting your opinions from the boob tube, or from low brow rags like the Washington Post, try and think about this critically. Let’s imagine, for example, that in the future it comes time for the Chavista’s to make a decision whether or not to pull a “Tiananmen Square”. Is it really beyond your comprehension that even a slightly credible threat of military intervention could save innocent lives? We have already heard leaked audio of nervous military leaders worrying about the possible repercussions of their actions. These guys have better imaginations than you do, apparently. Trump’s stance will probably save Venezuelan lives, if it hasn’t already.

          3) putting in place a regime of direct economic “sanctions” that strictly prevents the unwilling from doing the inadvisable… and calling them “tough”

          Again, because no one has taken your hand and explained this kind of thing as if you are a small child, you have misunderstood completely. Take Russia as an example. Even the threat of possible future sanctions was enough to chill investment interest. The sanctions themselves were weak sauce. I’m not gonna go into detail here. Either you are capable of comprehending this or you are not.

          4) gratuitously crapping all over regional trade agreements and saying things that make the USA toxic and untrustworthy for any politician remotely interested in holding hands with the USA to engage in diplomatic efforts.

          Oh, stop. You guys are happy to deal with Cuba or China (Patron Saint of Counterfeiters and Bad Faith Negotiators). You’ll deal with us. And if you don’t, fuck you. Your Cuban blood money won’t keep you afloat if your not attached to our star. That’s the reality, which is the real reason you are gnashing your teeth here.

          • “Ridicule is often a highly effective means of changing perception.”

            Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon…………Saul Alinsky

        • Canucklehead, did you ever hear the expression “Brevity is a virtue?” I tuned you out in your 3rd paragraph.

          The big story today is Trump’s speech. The most amazing, persuasive, analytical, TRUTHFUL speech to be made at the U.N. in at least 50 years. It was pure genius, and pure truth. He basically and rightfully so put the U.N. in its place. That it’s basically worthless.

          The fact that he devoted so much to VZ reveals a lot, demonstrates a lot, that this wasn’t simply a “speech” to ingratiate himself to others. Because seriously–do you think the world cares what happens to VZ?

          Only Trump cares, and his good intentions don’t need analysis.

    • Well said, ultimately Trump is only adding to the division and anger in Venezuela. What needs to happen is de-escalation. Trumps sanctions have just made it clear that the US is leading a new economic war against Venezuela. Obama didn’t directly attack the Venezuelan leadership because he realized the government was widely popular, and he even tried to help them where he could, for example by blocking Keystone and keeping an important market for Venezuelan oil.

      If Trump wants to push this, Venezuela will be his Vietnam. Unfortunately humanity and sanity are not in Trumps interests, only the ultra right wing Venezuelans who fled with their stolen wealth to Miami and their votes.

      • You honestly can not believe half the non-sense you post. Pres. Obama trying to help Venezuela by not approving the Keystone pipeline, sure that was it. The U.S. does not need to wage an “economic war” against Venezuela because the lunatics in power do more harm by their own hand than any policy the U.S. could impose.

        BTW, tinfoil is on sale at Costco this week, you had better stock up.

          • judisociado is a chavista troll that gets paid in the dollars that the regime steals from the food and medicine funds.

            So he’s also responsible for the children that starve to death in hospitals and those who die from diseases like diphteria too.

        • JudiLynn is a regular on a forum called Democratic Underground. Even there, among the most rabid of leftists, she is extreme. I would call her Maoist. Do not bother to engage her with facts and logic. She doesn’t respond.

  2. The question is how much money is the US willing to spend to get Maduro out. Russia and China are vested in Maduro at least until they get some of their invested money back. Venezuela is another Sino-Russian beachhead in Latin America that balances certain risks associated with Cuba and allows them to influence towards the south. Not to mention that it can be used as bargain ship in geopolitical matters. The return of Venezuela to the oil market will pressure domestic shale oil and heavy oil production from Canada which is certainly a belter ally to keep happy. Last but not least Caricom seems to like Venezuelan oil, and/or Venezuelan overtures (yes, I am talking about you Guyana) thus the offshore projects are kinda better protected with Maduro than with (who knows?) someone else.

    Some people in the WH may be thinking really hard on how much would it cost to re-build Venezuela and the chances of fostering a left guerrilla on the ashes of Maduro government. The gringos don’t want another Colombia that cost so much to pacify (Libya is a good example of poorly executed democracy movements). However, there might be some forces within the Trump administration that could be lured to think that a military action will deliver a lot of good things among them government change in Venezuela, a demonstration of “America Great Again” (with all that is entitled), a show of force to North Korea, the return of the Reagan doctrine and moreover the end of the Obama doctrine in international matters. The cost would be the fragile relationship between US and Latin America, whatever the Chinese would ask in return and Russia final annexation of Georgia (which in its own way is fait accompli nevertheless) .

    IMO Trump will not do anything material and will let Maduro implode by himself or let the regime survive as long as they don’t export or sustain chavismo in other countries beyond the ones they already have. He will wait until Maduro is devil enough so an invasion would actually support him to win the re-election. For that to happen, we would have to wait two more years.

    • What does U.S. money have to do with this?

      And you’re actually making the argument that the return of VZ oil to the market (I didn’t know it left in the first place) is a negative for Trump’s “motives,” because it would negatively affect Canada and U.S. shale?

      Man, you lost me.

      • Simple dude, Venezuela has an untapped potential to produce 5 mbopd. Production has been falling under Chavez/Maduro to the point that the gap has been filled with domestic production and Canada. That is also compensated by lost of production by Mexico. Why do you want to help a competitor at the cost of your own?.

        By the way, I said is one of the many motives that may restrain Trump from acting on a more assertive manner. Are you forgetting who is the Secretary of State?

        • “Simple dude, Venezuela has an untapped potential to produce 5 mbopd.” Really?”
          Of what type of oil that, given the refinery capacity of the this side of the world, be ready to be refined into the most needed product?

  3. Most of the worlds leadership hates Donald Trump. He won’t be able to organize the equivalent of a two car parade with the rest of the worlds leaders. If the rest of the world wanted a politically savvy liar like Obama, they instead got a loudmouth huckster. (Which speaks volumes to how much Hillary was despised and how loathed the “status quo” was in the United States in 2016.) He does have a fan base in the United States.

    Would Hillary be so forceful? Laughable. Hillary would whisper sweet nuthin’s in the ear of Maduro, Delcy and Diosdado about how the United State would hold its breath and stamp its feet and cry if they didn’t reconsider their path. And 4 years from now, she would be looking back blaming someone else for her lack of leadership. And Bernie? He would be having arepas and Solera with Nick and Tarek, lamenting that they didn’t nationalize everything before the wheels came off the Chavista wagon.

    Is Trump a great leader? No, he is what he appears. He wins by intimidation and bloviation. But if anything, he is a loose cannon and the Chavistas piss him off at their peril. Anyone can be assured that Trump knows how to hurt a person who needs liquidity and access to markets. I would say that he is doing quite nicely for Venezuela, despite his stumbles.

    FWIW, don’t expect Trump to be too eager to send Americans in to win back your country. We’ve spilled too much American blood recently for ingrates. This is where Venezuelans need to step up and spill their own blood. It wasn’t America who let Venezuela get to this point.

    • Trump is the greatest president we’ve had since Reagan.

      But you just can’t understand the big picture. Because, I guess, you don’t understand other things as well.

      Us Americans…and sorry to say this…don’t give a shit about what people from other countries think about him. And he gave a big “Fuck You” to other world leaders who don’t follow two basic principles:

      1) Respect the true will and democracy of your people.

      2) Do nothing to hurt the interests of other sovereign nations.

      Iran, North Korea, Venezuela fall into this category.

      • Respect the true will and democracy of your people.(unless you are Saudi, Israel,Egypt or other usa friendly nations)

        Trump is an pathological liar and all talk.He will do nothing and accomplish nothing in Venezuela…I don’t blame Iran and North Korea for wanting Nuclear weapons.Why is it ok for Apartheid Jew state Israel to have them?So they will not be annihilated?Just like Trump said he would do to North Korea.This American exceptionalism B.S that you spout is garbage.

        Reagan was a terrible president by the way..

        • Are you claiming Israel isn’t a true democracy?

          Seriously–are you actually claiming that?

          Or do you have a problem with Israel not allowing Muslims/Palestinians to kill their people? Taking actions to secure their safety?

          Sorry buddy, but the Jews of today are not the old kind of Jews you want them to be.

          These Jews fight and die for their freedom.

          Unlike Venezuelans.

      • @Ira: Its too early to say that he is the greatest president since Reagan. He hasn’t actually done anything yet. He certainly is better than Obama when it comes to expressing strength instead of weakness. And he is entirely better than the alternatives we were faced with in 2016 in Shrillery and Bernie.

        The point of the post was if Trump could lead the rest of the democratic world in some sort of consensus. So far, he has proven that he cannot. Love him or hate him, he is what he is. And what he is, is polarizing. Most of the world is content to let him carry on with empty threats, while they sit back on the sidelines laughing and doing nothing.

        • ElGuapo – He has done more than previous Presidents, and in the right direction. He is not Reagan. Trump and Reagan are two distinct individuals. The mainstream media is not covering Trump’s accomplishments (let alone commending them). Aside from legislative changes, cutting double-spending and surplus personnel, rolling back illegal trespass, freeing up law enforcement to go after drug gangs (there’s a long list of what he has accomplished), he has also brought about a major, major change in public awareness. I don’t see how you get “He hasn’t actually done anything yet.” What are you expecting, that you would count as “done anything”? In my opinion, he is not “polarizing” any more than the Allies’ invasion of Europe June 6, 1944 was “polarizing” Europe – or any more than the election of the AN with a 2/3rds majority was “polarizing” Venezuela. Sorry to be “critical”, but I wonder where you got your post – it seems to be in error. Socialism in not “polarizing” at all, it simply demands that everyone follow along like ants in a war column bent on extermination of anyone who dares “polarize”.

          • The point of the original post was if Trump could lead other democratic nations is an effort to bring democracy back to Venezuela. He has been far better at making enemies on the world stage than making friends. Though his recent speech in front of the UN was fantastic.

            Whatever his domestic successes have been, he hasn’t been very good at “being presidential” with the rest of the free worlds leadership. Someone needs to take his smartphone and smash it.

            So, has he done anything diplomatically yet? Is Iran more contrite? Is Syria and North Korea backing down from their Obama era rhetoric? China? Russia? Where are Trumps diplomatic successes? He can’t get along with our NATO allies, FFS.

            I voted for the guy, and in my opinion he is far superior to any of the alternatives we were offered. But I am not a sycophant and I won’t put my tongue up his ass just because he is “my president”. America voted for him because he was a breath of fresh air and he wasn’t a politician, and that is what we got.

        • “And what he is, is polarizing. Most of the world is content to let him carry on with empty threats, while they sit back on the sidelines laughing and doing nothing.”

          And this would be different from Obama, how?

          • Obama was loved by the rest of the world. Because he was an ass kisser of the highest order… an apologist extraordinaire who always said what the rest of the world wanted to hear (“I’m embarrassed for America. America is at fault for everything, everywhere!”). The America haters loved Obama. You would be hard pressed to find anyone more “anti-American” than Obama.

            And while the worlds democratically elected leadership laughs at Trump and does nothing, they all gathered ’round Obama and sang Kumbaya songs… and did nothing.

  4. I think Trump’s newfound hardline stance toward the Maduro regime is probably driven by the trio of Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster. Without exaggeration, I’d be somewhat surprised if Trump could find Venezuela on a map before entering the White House. And given his warm posture toward the likes of Putin and Erdogan, its hard to believe that a sincere desire to protect democracy motivates his position on Venezuela.

    Quico’s comparison with the Obama administration is very telling. Trying to end the violence in Colombia and normalize relations with Cuba are “legacy items” for an administration – laudable goals for sure, but more like accomplishments that you’d put on a plaque at the Obama Library one day than vital long term strategic objectives for the United States. One of the benefits (and I’d argue there are both pros and cons here overall) of having a lot of military people making foreign policy is that they’re much more likely to have longer time horizons, to care about things beyond what happens in that particular administration and how it makes their boss look. I think people at the Pentagon are playing out long term scenarios, thinking about it being 2030 and China or Russia (or both) just finishing construction of a massive naval installation at Puerto Cabello (or wherever) that forms a regional defense triangle with Nicaragua and Cuba, and thinking that this is bad bad news.

    I have no clue if or how that kind of thinking actually translates into policy, given all the issues with the Trump administration and its incapacity. But I think that, on balance, the military orientation of the administration is a good thing for Venezuelans who want the United States to be more assertive in confronting the regime.

  5. Trump to Venezuela: Here, I want to help. Take it please….it’s a full plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, fresh salad, a dinner roll, and a tall glass of iced tea.

    The CC crowd: Thanks, but no thanks. We were expecting lobster and white wine.

    • hey MRubio, i’ve read cc for a couple of years and have seen you several times in the comments(not so much recently) as I understand you work the land here, so I was wondering if you knew about a reliable herbicide supplier as my uncle works a not so big space and thus far what’s he’s bought hasn’t worked at all, bad quality stuff. he’s located at sucre(but im mostly between monagas and anzoategui)

      • Carupano, what type of pest plants is your uncle trying to control? If it’s a broad leaf problem, then Potreron hands down is the very best product here. I’ve seen people try amine and 2-4-D, etc but nothing works as well as Potreron. Tough to find these days, it’s very effective for broad leaf control in corn, sorghum, and pastures such as bermuda, humidicula, y brachiaria decumbens and mombaza.

        If he’s trying to control weeds in a horticultural setting, let me know what he’s planting and I’ll see what the locals recommend.

        • ok, im not really knowledgable on the subject, just trying to give them a hand if possible. My cousin tells me they mostly sugar cane(what they have planted right now), bitter cassava(which they tell me is no problem), corn and red kidney beans, so the herbacides would be mostly for the last two as I understand

  6. “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.)”

    Quico choked.

    “That was enraging. An administration with all the diplomatic chops, all the credibility, all the room for maneuver in the world, decided it just couldn’t be bothered to try to forestall Venezuela’s authoritarian slide.”

    Enraging to whom? To you Quico? If it was, could you please link me to a few CC stories blasting Obama. They must be there, afterall, you guys were enraged, no? I don’t recall seeing any such articles. Perhaps they’re there and I just missed them, prove me wrong, please.

    “Even as the president lectures the world on the need to put pressure on Venezuela, international talks likely to stabilize the Maduro regime go on unimpeded in the Dominican Republic. A more skillfully run administration would’ve found it relatively easy to quash a negotiation that doesn’t really gel with the rest of its approach.”

    Ah, okay, it’s Trump’s fault that the opposition is participating, yet again, in dialogue. I get it. It works like this: Quit threatening military intervention in Venezuela, all you’re doing is giving Maduro ammo to rally support within the country by your unnecessary meddling. But, squash talks that both the Maduro administration and the opposition have agreed to participate in and Maduro has no ammo to rally support within the country.

    I’m sorry, those of you who are slapping Quico on the back for this fine piece of journalism are certainly entitled to your opinions. Mine just happens to be that he’s just written another, though kinder, gentler, Trump hit-piece.

    • Quico is only making light of the fact that there is an evident lack of unity between the White House track towards Venezuela, the National Security Council track and the State Dept (aka Shannon) track (not to mention Congress). That’s all.
      There is no Trump bashing anywhere in this piece.

      • Answer MRubio’s question re Obama…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………?
        I did not for one minute think you would, that is why your credibility is shot to shit. And that is why Toro has his affiliation to the paper he does in the States.
        Your constant arguing of the opposite makes you all look puerile.

      • Dear Emy, what FT is spewing has no relevancy. He is very far removed from Washington reality. Shannon Is irrelevant period. Dont get Hung on what you read

    • LOL at your kinder, gentler hit-piece line. I would agree.
      It seems to really bother Quico that Trump has actually paid attention to the problems. It’s almost like they preferred to be ignored by the BHO crowd.
      If you really believe this crowd is leaving power by any other way than force, you must believe in fairytales. Force is all they understand.
      And while I am all for gathering support from around the globe, until the people (via the military) see that force is the only option, they will remain in power.

    • The President of the United States basically went up and took an enormous crap in front of the UN General Assembly, and just in case we were not paying enough attention to that, threatened to obliterate North Korea, and Quico treated this event as worthy of serious consideration at face value, and appeared to suggest there was a staffing problem in Washington, so I think you should not be so sensitive.

      • The UN has been full if crap for decades. Maybe you missed the part where they put Cuba and iran in charge of the human rights commission?

        Trump was perfect and did what others have refused to do. Call them out for their bullshit.

        Maduro and you agree, otherwise.

    • Marco, the title of the article transitions from Obama to Trump. It’s not just about Trump, and it bashes Obama more than him.

      Quito is saying Obama was unwilling, and Trump unable.

      Read it again.

      • No Ira, what the title really says is, Obama = able, Trump = unable, and there is no bashing of Obama, only feigned “enragment” that suits the author’s need to appear objective while writing yet another the Trump hit-piece.

        Rest assured that this article and its conclusions were prepared well in advance of Trump’s speech with only the need to fill in a few blanks once the day arrived.

        I do have to admit though, I get a certain amount of twisted satisfaction out of knowing that Quico broke out in a cold sweat as he watched and realized that Trump was exceeding even his wildest, worst fears. I hope he watched the speech with his liberal co-workers. The look on his face must have been priceless. LOL

        • But the fact is he recognizes Obama was unwilling, and that is important because it is as close as we will ever get Toro to admit Obama was wrong about something. It is is worst to be unwilling than to be unable, since the will calls for judgement, and if Obama was unwilling it means that his judgement was wrong. If his judgement was wrong, then who cares about whether he was capable or not? It is only logical to assume that if his judgement was wrong, then he was also not actually competent.
          Whether Trump is able or not is something that is not clear yet. But it is true that the current administration is sending some contradictory messages about Venezuela, which is alarming. I hope he can solve that.
          It is also a fact that we can’ t blame Trump for what the MUD is doing.
          MUD is just trying to save its corrupt miserable ass and I hope that they become sanctioned soon. I don’ t think that the corrupt and miserable MUD can beat the US if it is truly willing for a regime change.

          • Good points all Mr. i, and an angle I hadn’t considered re Obama’s unwillingness and judgment. Of course, I always chalked up his unwillingness to his love and admiration of all things related to socialism.

            I’m sure he and Quico are birds of a feather.

  7. As an ardent Trump supporter, and who has family and friends in VZ, I see all the political diatribe directed at POTUS as effective as what we witnessed from MUD.

    Trump’s speech was spot on. Criticism of his ability to execute is perfectly valid. It is welcome for any new administration.

    What is silly is the way in which many of you would turn you back on help because you feel he is not worthy of your appreciation.

    Here is a little dose of reality, it’s not about you any more
    You all had your chance and wasted it.

    You get the government you deserve.

    • “Trump’s speech was spot on. Criticism of his ability to execute is perfectly valid. It is welcome for any new administration.

      What is silly is the way in which many of you would turn you back on help because you feel he is not worthy of your appreciation.”

      I’ve got no problem at all with people questioning Trump’s ability to execute. Every president deserves being questioned. Having said that, I also believe that every president deserves a chance to prove themselves as well.

      I disliked Obama from Day One. But you know what? Though I had serious doubts about him when he was elected I thought……..well, he’s our new president and maybe he can actually deliver on some of the good things he’s promised for the US and the world at large. Maybe he’ll be the greatest president ever. I’m willing to give him a chance to prove himself.

      And Obama actually did please me in some ways very early on, like totally welching on his campaign promises to undo most of what I felt were effective measures instituted by Bush in the country’s fight against terrorism. Obama not only continued many Bush anti-terror policies he’d vowed to rescind, he actually doubled down on them.

      But I ask all of you here. Can the same be said of this editorial staff…..that they’re willing to give Trump a chance to prove his leadership abilities, to do something to help their country which has pissed away a generation under chavismo? I’ve not seen it. I’ve seen nothing but a constant anti-Trump drumbeat from the beginning, almost a death-wish that he fail.

      When one stops and reads what Trump had to say today about Venezuela in front of the United Nations and a world audience, and when one truly wishes to see this country throw off the yoke of this oppressive regime and when one sees that FINALLY they have someone in a position of power to actually do something about it, how can they NOT be moved by his words?

      But alas, we get a story with a title that has already ruled him incapable of accomplishing the mission and comments like “Trump took an enormous crap in front of the UN General Assembly, and his thougts on Venezuela amount to nothing more than a “Trumpian pile of incoherent verbiage”.

      Sad really, but probably why we’re where we are today.

    • Mitchell –

      Trump has gotten more done in the fabled “first 100 days” than his predecessors. Media is too busy trying to make him look bad to print anything about that. And he is dealing with an entrenched “enchufado” contingent of government. Just one example is the recent “revelation” that Trump Towers was indeed “wiretapped” and former FBI Director Comey may be up on perjury charges for trying to sweep that under the carpet and deny it. The media decided to make a big deal out of the word “wiretapped” when all knew perfectly well that whether it is computer hacking, “cloud-tapping”, or surveillance microphones, it means “covertly listening in on conversations”.

      The real issue here on CC (one of them) is “What can be done about Venezuela”. Within a couple of days of Trump’s statement that military intervention is not off the table, LatAm countries lined up together to reject military action, as if landing craft were circling a mile offshore La Guaira. Now there is more “dialogue”.

        • I promise, promise, I will watch Bob Newhart’s video “STOPIT!!” five times as punishment until I am brought to proper socialist enlightenment and political correctness.

          P.S. I hope no one here is in Puerto Rico, and if anyone is, may good fortune be with you. Hurricane Maria developed into a beast. … Hey … just occurred to me … who is in the Dominican Republic??

        • Trump has already done more for Venezuela than Obama in two terms. Obama ignored hostage Joshua Holt. Trump is going to make Cilia pay for Josh.

    • “What is silly is the way in which many of you would turn you back on help because you feel he is not worthy of your appreciation.

      Here is a little dose of reality, it’s not about you any more
      You all had your chance and wasted it.

      You get the government you deserve.”

      No, the people who didn’t vote and who had their relatives murdered by the dictatorship didn’t deserve it in the first place.

      The monopoly that the MUD holds in the public opinion has nothing to do with the people’s goals that were clearly shown as to get rid of the dictatorship by any means (four months of continued protests are the proof), the MUD is colluded with the dictatorship because they’re their paid lackeys and will keep playing their role of official opposition to keep people’s voics muted.

      That’s why the HegemonMUD charges against anyone who dares to say anything about the rigged and useless regionals which will only serve to validate the dictatorship and give another excuse to “wait for the 2019 elections, no matter how many thousands of people are killed in that time”, anybody who’s said anything about taking another way to get rid of the regime is instantly labeled as a “radical slipper keyboard warrior who wants to see a sea of blood that doesn’t represent even the 1%” such as that time when César Miguel Rondón pathetically said that to MCM (And the regime thanked him by confiscating his passport at maiquetía some days later, way to be grateful)

  8. Trump did what Trump does: talk big (or is it bigly or big league?!) but not much else. It makes for good sound bites but that’s about it. Obama on the other hand faced a very different Venezuela, pre- ANC and mass street protests, etc. Perhaps more US sanctions are on the way but beyond that can’t see much else. North Korea still looms large for Trump admin, with China & Russia also in the mix. Rocket man takes all the attention at the moment.

  9. Rocketman is certainly sucking all the oxygen out of the room, but it looks to me like Trump said more about Venezuela in just a few minutes in front of the UN than Obama did in 8 years in office.

    But man, Obama sure was smart, and I doubt he taped his ties.

    • Yeah, some so-called journalists really liked the crease of his pants. Couldn’t look beyond that to see the error in his policies.

      Others here still cling to fractured history and claim “What Obama managed to do, I think, was hone to his general approach to ‘not do stupid shit’.”

  10. I want this quote entered into the record for future posts when socialism apologists (“Canucklehead”) pop up to show their bottomless knowledge of American history.

    “What Obama managed to do, I think, was hone to his general approach to ‘not do stupid shit’.”

    – Syria
    – Libya
    – Ukraine
    – Yemen
    – Cuba
    …etc

    The list is quite long.

  11. The Obama administration had “diplomatic chops”? How so? I can still remember the infantile foreign policy platform candidate Obama came up with. Close Guantanamo Bay (oops). Withdraw troops from Afghanistan ASAP (oops). Withdraw troops from Iraq ASAP (oops). Reset relations with Russia (unmitigated disaster). Apologize to Muslims so that they will like and respect us (could this guy be any more ignorant and naive?). Reopen dialogue with North Korea despite them having already bargained in bad faith twice with the Clinton Admin and once with the Bush Admin (unmitigated disaster). Hold out a hand of friendship to Iran (unmitigated disaster).

    Obama is an absolute lightweight. He was and is a totally clueless bungler. His foreign policy was marked by pronounced failures to implement his specific goals. Where he succeeded in his goals, it was always an absolute disaster.

    Still, in most respects he was just your typical idiotic, pro-status quo, intellectual lightweight. Could you imagine Obama correctly surmising that we shouldn’t have troops in South Korea/Japan/Germany, as Trump has done? Trump has already gotten limited results in forcing NATO to fulfill their treaty obligations, in forcing China to pressure their close ally North Korea, etc. Obama tried but completely failed on those same fronts.

    Obama never once built a coalition. In that respect, he made George Bush look like a great statesmen. He was also too proud and ignorant to take the advice of his diplomatic corps, often committing severe blunders like bowing to the Saudi King (while shaking his hand – wtf was this clown even thinking, this greeting doesn’t exist in any actual protocol).

    He came up with “leading from behind”. Listen, I was all for him telling the Euros to tackle the Libya situation on their own since they were so keen to intervene. Of course, when the Euros came crying about running out of munitions after the first few days of bombing, he went against his better instincts and listened to his atrocious political appointee for Secretary of State – Hillary Clinton – and took over the reins.

    He was a terrible negotiator. What concessions did he get from Cuba? None. You of all people should understand the tremendous damage he did in Latin America. It’s not even that he didn’t care, it’s that he is pro-socialist and “anti-colonialist” (read “anti-western” or “anti-american”). There are many things that he likes and admires about Cuba and the Chavistas. That is the only reason he would give away the store for nothing in return. That is the only reason he would constantly toe whatever line the Latin American leftists came up with. He followed their lead regarding the “coup” in Honduras, while allowing the OAS to studiously ignore all of the actual anti-democratic activity in Latin America, even allowing them to lift the suspension of Cuba – this is an organization whose very charter specifies that it must strengthen and uphold democratic institutions in the Americas. He allowed the OAS to destroy itself.

    Please tell me about Obama’s successes. Morons who get taken advantage of left and right are often “well liked”, but that doesn’t mean they are actually competent. The man is a disgrace. The idea that Venezuelans, of all people, can be fooled by the status quo propaganda regarding Obama is shocking. There’s basically no hope for your country – your electorate is just not savvy enough.

    • Eloquent! Obummer was very good in front of a mirror though, maybe even the best. The depth of our troubles is highlighted by the fact that he was elected twice.

    • As i have said many times before, the comments from people here are the only reason to monitor CCs.
      In my opinion, anyone in Venezuela who still has a socialist viewpoint for the world and for Venezuela, is part of the problem to me. I include people like HRA in that and the editorial staff of CCs.
      In Great Britain we had 16 years of socialism lite with Blair and the Labour Party ,it was an unmitigated disaster for the country.
      People seem to find it difficult to understand what works and what doesnt, and it is that simple.

  12. Seems like I do not recall anyone on CC saying anything about this:
    “My sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us,” Obama told a Spanish-language reporter in Miami.”

    • You do realize that the chorus of “The Light bringer” will never repeat what was written. Chavez and his followers have the same approach.

      1984 was not a book for scaring people, for them it is a Bible.

  13. Can I go OT? I don’t know where else to post it:

    One of the things that bugs me to no end is the media’s incorrect assessment of Chavez’s charisma, political skills, and popularity compared to Maduro. They all…every single one of them…blame VZ’s problems on the collapse of oil prices, and in his lack of the “charm” that made Hugo so “popular.”

    But when God answered my prayers and Hugo dropped dead in 2013 (What took you so long, God?)…and there was the subsequent election a few months later…Capriles only lost by like 1 1/2 points.

    So it’s obvious that Chavismo had lost its luster way before, with Hugo still walking the planet and wasting oxygen.

  14. U. S. Venezuelan policy probably correctly assumed that Venezuelan socialism would fall of its own weight; where this failed, however, was the incredible masochistic ability of the general Venezuelan populace to endure ever-higher levels of deprivation without massively rising up, coupled with an incredibly-inept Opposition, which squandered its AN popular victory, and now has condemned itself to collaborationist oblivion. Obama did make a mistake in recognizing Cuba in exchange for nothing, and his State Dept. similar-thinking personnel are largely still intact, but Trump has grade-A Hemispheric strategically-thinking/planning military advisers who will make the U.S. both willing AND certainly able, if financial/economic sanctions fail. Reasoning in speeches will be/is all about crowd-pleasing human suffering/hunger/abuse, but the reality is that it’s about hard-ball stopping the spread of narco well-financed Castro Communism, and secondarily stopping the spread of international terrorism and Russian/Chinese influence, in SA and the Caribbean….

  15. The sad thing about this debate, Trump vs. Obama is that Venezuela is lost in the controversy. Sadder still is that Quico knew this when he penned his title. Quico, driving traffic to this blog to discuss the attributes of Trump and Obama may help to sustain CC financially but it will not lead to freedom and self determination for Venezuela.

    • We do not make any money from traffic, or this unfortunate comments section.

      What’s sad is that two or three commenters are so obtusely obsessed with defending Trump from a nonexistent enemy, that they fail to see how momentous and newsworthy that General Assembly speech on Venezuela was.

      • Emi, I’ll reply since I’m sure I’m one of those two or three “commenters” at whom your ire was aimed.

        First off, I, as much as anyone, realize how momentous and newsworthy that General Assembly speech on Venezuela was which is just one reason it aggravates me to no end to see Quico take more cheap shots at Trump. Again, Obama did virtually nothing for 8 years and we hardly heard a peep out of the man (Quico) but he’ll never let a chance, even a tiny one, to bash Trump slip by. His assertion that Trump will be unable to put together a coalition to help overthrow Maduro cannot be ascertained at this point, so why claim he can’t do it? What good does that do anyone? Trump’s put together a series of escalating sanctions that seem to be having a positive effect and now European leaders are talking about following suit. How about giving it some time before claiming he’s failed?

        No US president in the years since chavismo infected this country has put the country’s struggle front and center like Trump has. I don’t think that can be argued. I’m thankful that he has and wish him nothing but the best of luck in getting it done.

        As for your comment about a “nonexistent enemy”, I call bullshit. This staff, and Quico in particular are about as anti-Trump as our esteemed poster JudiLynn.

        Finally, I honestly can’t believe you made the comment you did about this “unfortunate” comments section. Put aside the fact that even though someone may disagree with your political views, they may also bring a perspective that ultimately enhances your ability to view and analyze complex situations. And that’s not even talking about the fact that your site is nothing without readers. I mean, if no one reads CC, does it really make a sound when it falls?

        P.S. Still waiting for my Quico enragment link.

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