US President Donald Trump has staked his chips on Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó, but the failure of this move makes the president’s advisers pursue more aggressive strategies.
US Vice President Mike Pompeo earlier this month held a meeting with senior Trump Administration officials to re-evaluate the US strategy adopted a year ago to try to bring about a power shift in Venezuela, sources quoted by Bloomberg said.
“Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader who declared himself interim president of Venezuela with U.S. backing earlier this year, has so far failed to push out Maduro and American officials are now concerned he may soon lose his official position,” said the article.
A Trump Administration official, who asked not to be named, told Bloomberg that “the U.S. stands firmly with Guaido,” but also said the US is still considering all options to move forward on what it calls a “maximum pressure” campaign against Maduro.
Regardless of Guaido’s political future, Trump and his advisers determined that there is only one credible approach for the US: more aggressive efforts to pressure Maduro.
The issue states that the US is not considering military intervention to achieve its objectives in Venezuela. But he adds that senior Washington officials are debating new strategies to try to topple Nicolás Maduro.
One option is to try to ally with Russia, which supports the current president, in order to persuade Maduro to step down. Another possibility debated is to increase pressure on Cuba, the Venezuelan president’s main sponsor.
During the meeting with Mike Pence, the idea of taking tough measures against India’s acquisition of Venezuelan oil, an important lifeline for Maduro’s government, was also discussed and later rejected.
Bloomberg points out that the discussions illustrate Trump’s dilemma in Venezuela, where late last year began a campaign to overthrow Maduro under his former national security adviser John Bolton.
However, the US president is frustrated that Maduro was not quickly overthrown, as Trump thought it would happen, and as Bolton had announced.