Venezuela sanctions intended ‘to motivate people to change’ & Guaido ‘not a puppet’ – Abrams
Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Friday, Abrams tried to put the best face on the ongoing failure of Washington to replace the “regime” of President Nicolas Maduro with the “democracy” of self-proclaimed opposition leader Juan Guaido. Abrams went so far as to blame Maduro for Thursday’s power blackouts, which the Venezuelan government said were a result of US sabotage.
Special Rep Abrams: The nationwide power outages throughout #Venezuela are a reminder the country’s once-sophisticated infrastructure has been plundered, allowed to decay under Maduro’s misrule. As @SecPompeo tweeted: Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness. #EstamosUnidosVEpic.twitter.com/GIVdsgqOa4— Department of State (@StateDept) March 8, 2019
He maintained that most Venezuelans, as well as the majority of the country’s military, were unhappy with Maduro, but could not answer why only a handful of soldiers have switched sides to back Guaido.
It doesn’t look like it’s happening until the day it begins to happen.
Instead, Abrams offered wishful thinking, hoping the soldiers “follow their own constitution” that Maduro was supposedly violating.
Asked about a letter sent by 16 House Democrats – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard – expressing concern about US sanctions and violent threats, Abrams said the sanctions were meant to be temporary.
“The purpose is to motivate people to change their behavior,” he said. “It’s not just a punishment, we hope it’s also an inducement to change pattern of behavior.”
Elliott Abrams defends the lethal #sanctions on #Venezuela by saying they're intended to be temporary, only until "people" "change their behavior." Which people? Seems to suggest they are indeed a form of collective punishment to push people to overthrow Maduro. #VenezuelaCoup— Dan Beeton (@Dan_Beeton) March 8, 2019
Abrams also offered a novel argument against the claim that Guaido was a “US puppet,” by saying that support he received from US allies in Latin America, Canada and Europe definitively disproved that.
So far, however, US pressure has failed to sway Venezuelans to back Guaido, who proclaimed himself “interim president” on January 23. The self-proclaimed leader was recognized by the US and 53 of its allies, but not by the rest of the world or the UN.
Earlier this week, the State Department complained about the media not following the official line in reporting on Guaido, while Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), chief cheerleader for regime change in Caracas, went so far as to accuse CNN of “Russian collusion” for using the same terminology as RT.Also on rt.com Lashing out at media over Venezuela, Rubio accuses CNN of ‘Russian collusion’
According to the controversial US envoy, Guaido was not arrested upon his return from Colombia because the “regime” is afraid of a public reaction. The envoy claimed Guaido was greeted by a customs agent at the airport with a “Welcome Mr. president,” and was cheered as he drove into Caracas through a neighborhood considered sympathetic to Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez. He stopped short of adding that the whole bus clapped.
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