Venezuelan Opposition Praises Trump’s Efforts, Demands Tougher Sanctions

Collage: Maria Corina Machado, the recently exiled mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, and f

Venezuela’s right of center opposition praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to exert pressure on the country’s socialist dictatorship while urging further sanctions against the regime in a letter to the president.

In the letter – signed by opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, the recently exiled mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, and former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations Diego Arria – the group thanks Trump for his “firm and clear personal stand against the narco-dictatorship.”

“We have been greatly encouraged by your public statements regarding our tragedy and by the sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury against Venezuelan officials,” the letter reads. “We know that you understand how serious and dangerous it is to have an actual narco-state in the region. Venezuela is not an island, its geographical position and vast natural resources make it a more serious threat than Cuba ever was and is today.”

“President Trump, no previous U.S. president has pronounced himself so clearly and firmly on his nation’s commitment to help Venezuelans find their freedom,” it continues.

The letter then urges the Trump administration, as well as the international community as a whole, to continue placing sanctions on government officials and to initiate a process of finding billions of dollars in assets stolen from the Venezuelan people.

It also called on Washington to open a “humanitarian corridor” to the millions of Venezuelans suffering from malnutrition and unattended medical issues, warning that unless action is taken, “the possible surge of millions of refugees in the Americas grows more likely.” According to latest statistics, Venezuela has already surpassed Syria as the number one source of asylum requests into the United States.

The humanitarian plea comes amidst the worst humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela’s history, as the socialist government tightens its grip on power through the creation of an illegal lawmaking body known as the “constituent assembly.” The country also faces growing levels of starvation and shortages of everything from medicine to toilet paper. According to latest values, the Venezuelan minimum wage is now under $1.50.

Since taking office, Trump has imposed a number of sanctions against the regime and criticized the socialist ideology that led to the country’s collapse. In July, he told reporters that he would not rule out a military solution to the crisis.

“Venezuela is a mess. It is a very dangerous mess, and a very sad situation,” Trump said. “We have many options for Venezuela. I’m not ruling out military options.”

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