Shifter: “Washington’s rhetoric towards Venezuela may be counterproductive”

BBC World News / Youtube

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, was interviewed by BBC World News on Donald Trump’s speech about Venezuela at Florida International University.

Comments from Michael Shifter: 

“So far it hasn’t been working [the US strategy in Venezuela] and the administration seems very impatient. They want the armed forces basically to turn from Maduro to Guaidó, and with that, the government will collapse. They are tightening the screws with the economic sanctions, there are lots of hints about military intervention -I don’t think that’s probable – there is a lot of bravado and aggressive rhetoric, and of course, Trump’s speech steps it up. But so far we haven’t seen any indication that the high ranking officials of the Venezuelan armed forces are really ready to give in.”

“After withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Syria I doubt that we are going to put the troops in Venezuela. There may be other approaches, but putting boots on the ground is very unlikely.”

“Senator Rubio said there is no plan B. […] The gamble is that with this tough rhetoric and ultimatums directed at the generals in Venezuela they will flip and support Guaidó. […] I have my doubts, I am a little bit skeptical that it will be successful.”

“The armed forces perhaps would like to see a change but if they hear this rhetoric from Washington, from a world power, giving them ultimatums and threats, it may be completely counterproductive, and they may come together to fight imperialism from the United States. The other point is that this kind of rhetoric does not help keep other Latin American countries on board with the US and its approach towards Venezuela.”

“I think president Maduro does have his days numbered. The opposition is more united than ever, the pressure is very intense, both within this hemisphere and the major European countries, and so there needs to be a negotiation of some sort to give some protections or some guarantees to the armed forces who are guilty of human rights violations and other criminal activities. That is all going to be complicated and it will take a lot of time as we have seen in other transitions.”

Watch the full interview here