Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton spoke to Breitbart News Daily Sirius XM host Raheem Kassam, asserting the crisis in Venezuela should be seen as part of a larger regional problem.
“I first went to Venezuela in 1992 in the Bush 41 administration,” he recalled. “I was driven to the presidential palace to pay a courtesy call on the president. There were bullet holes in the wall around the presidential compound. They had just been put there a few weeks ago during the unsuccessful coup by the dictator, who later came into power and preceded Maduro.”
“This has been a 25-year problem in Venezuela that is exacerbated by, today, the presence of senior Cuban advisers, in effect helping Maduro run the government,” he said. “The relationship between Chavez and Castro was very tight. It has continued.”
“This is part of a problem that really even extends beyond the Western Hemisphere,” Bolton contended.
“I think looking at the continuing spiral into chaos and ultimately dictatorship we’re seeing in Venezuela requires that the United States make itself available to the opposition, to see what resources – and I’m not talking about military resources – but to see if we can be helpful to them,” he advised.
“All they want is the restoration of representative government. We ought to, frankly, see more support for the Venezuelan opposition from other representative governments throughout the Western Hemisphere. But we do have a special role. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“I don’t think we ought to be shy about it because chaos we see there could easily spread,” Bolton warned. “It’s been up in Columbia again. We’ve got the problem of narcotics trafficking that’s destabilized civil society in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. This all fits together.”
“Let’s not forget, Iran is very heavily involved in Maduro’s Venezuela and was under Chavez, too,” he noted. “The largest Iranian embassy anywhere in the world – why in Caracas? Because they’re laundering money through it and because Venezuela, next to Canada, has the world’s largest proven uranium reserve.”
“This is a threat to the United States. I think the sanctions that we could impose go well beyond what we’ve done already. One sanction was freezing Maduro’s assets in the United States. Honestly, does anybody think Maduro has any assets in the United States to freeze? We’ve got to get more serious about it, and I think we can,” said Bolton.
Kassam asked if Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro remains secretary general of the Non-Aligned Movement. While unsure of his current status in that regard, Bolton recalled meeting Maduro in 2006 at the United Nations when he was Venezuela’s foreign minister.
“You would not mistake him for Holmes or Brandeis, that’s for sure,” Bolton said with dark humor, referring to two legendary American Supreme Court justices.
“That’s why these Cuban advisers are so important. This is not simply a Venezuelan problem,” he stressed.
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