Frank Gaffney: U.S. Should Encourage Venezuelan Military to Break with Maduro

CARACAS, VENEZUELA - FEBRUARY 01: Venezuelan soldiers march during a military parade in Caracas, Venezuela on February 1, 2017. (Photo by Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney told Breitbart News Daily Wednesday that Venezuela’s collapse into dictatorship is “one of the bitter fruits of Barack Obama’s legacy.”

Gaffney denounced Obama’s “passivity,” “indifference,” and “accommodation of Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez’s successor, as he systematically destroyed Venezuela.”

He said that SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam was correct to notice an “intensification of the Trump administration’s attitude towards this despotic, well, yes, dictatorship.”

“In part, that’s because the dictatorship is becoming more palpable, more aggressive, more dangerous by the day,” Gaffney observed.

“Whether it’s the arrest of his opponents, including, by the way, people appointed lawfully by the National Assembly to replace Maduro’s cronies on the Supreme Court or the political leadership of the opposition, whether it is the effort to essentially impose this anti-constitutional on the country through this so-called referendum and Constituent Assembly, whether it’s simply the murder of people in the streets who have gone out there in civil disobedience to oppose what’s happening to their country, this is a time that, I think, requires an intensification of American efforts to try to help the people of Venezuela and our own interests there as well,” he said.

Kassam said it was difficult to see any options for rescuing Venezuela from Maduro’s dictatorship, thanks to years of neglect from the international community.

Gaffney replied that he would begin by imposing “the sorts of sanctions that … will be crippling for this regime.”

“One, stop importing their oil in this country,” he advised. “At the moment, we’re the place that can refine their heavy crude oil. It would tremendously cut into such cash flow as the regime has. I remember vividly my old boss Ronald Reagan’s strategy for taking down the Soviet Union. It went right at the sources of their income, among them energy, of course.”

“The other is, stop selling the regime gasoline, which it sells to its people for pennies, but it essentially is necessary for the regime to function – including, by the way, to operate armored personnel vehicles and the like against its own people,” he continued.

“What we must try to do is to encourage, as I know the opposition is, the military to break ranks – to stop supporting this regime, to stop killing its countrymen, in some cases its own relatives, as they take to the streets, desperately in need of relief from the economic nightmare that this regime has inflicted,” said Gaffney. “I think there are things that can be done. I don’t want to hold my breath about the international community helping with this, but I think, certainly, we can.”

“I think there are things that can be done. I don’t want to hold my breath about the international community helping with this, but I think, certainly, we can,” he added.

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