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article imageOp-Ed: Trump is said to have considered a naval blockade on Venezuela

By Ken Hanly     Aug 19, 2019 in Politics
US officials report that President Trump has raised the idea of imposing a full naval blockade on Venezuela several times during the last year and a half as a way of forcing regime change on the government of Nicolas Maduro.
In recent weeks Trump has again raised the issue
In recent weeks Trump is said to have said that the US navy could prevent all ships from entering and exiting Venezuela. One person claims that Trump has said "we should get the ships out there" and " prevent anything from going in". Trump has already told media that a blockade is an option. There is no full naval blockade as yet although the US uses pressure wherever it can to stop countries and companies from doing business with Venezuela and has sanctions against the country. A list of all the actions and sanctions can be found here.
The White House has so far had no comments on the reports. A blockade would be a considerable escalation of Trump's actions against Maduro. Some countries might very well ignore the blockade. What will happen if Russian or Chinese vessels use military vessels to escort their ships through the blockade?
Trump supports Juan Guaido as president and his coup
Since the start of the year when Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as president Trump along with many other countries support Guaido as interim president and his supporters in a coup against president Nicolas Maduro. There have been several attempts to overthrow Maduro and to entice the armed forces to join the opposition but so far all have failed.
Attempts to break the stalemate
Earlier in the year there were talks in Norway and at them the Maduro government offered to hold early elections: "Inside an Oslo hotel in May, negotiators for President Nicolás Maduro made a startling offer. The opposition and the United States were demanding new presidential elections. The Maduro loyalists — who were in Norway with the opposition for mediated talks — had signaled their willingness to hold such a vote within nine to 12 months."
The negotiations are likely to be fruitless as the two sides are too far apart on the conditions for the elections. Maduro's negotiators want removal of US sanctions as part of any deal and that Maduro should stay in power until the new vote is held. However, the US vows not to remove sanctions until Maduro leaves power. The US has offered Maduro security guarantees if he agrees both to a new vote and to go into exile.
Recently there has been communication between the US and an important Venezuelan official Diosdado Cabello: "The United States has opened up secret communications with Venezuela's socialist party boss, as members of President Nicolas Maduro's inner circle seek guarantees they would not face retribution if they cede to growing demands to remove him, a senior US administration official has told the Associated Press news agency.""
The US is obviously trying to arrange guarantees for the security of top Venezuelan officials should they give in to US demands and force Maduro to resign. This is just another of the US tactics to achieve regime change.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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