At The American Conservative, Cato Institute senior fellow, Ted Galen Carpenter, explains that “it is not the proper role of the United States to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela or Nicaragua. He rules out the idea of military intervention, but also says sanctions would be inappropriate. But Galen Carpenter doesn’t spare supporters of the leftist regimes of each country from his criticism. He says they should stop whitewashing the terrible acts of the regimes. He suggests there is a middle ground in which American politicians can both criticize the terrible behavior of Latin American socialists, but also avoid advocating military involvement in the Southern Hemisphere. Change in those countries, says Galen Carpenter, is the responsibility of their own peoples. He writes (abridged):
The Trump administration continues to tighten the screws on Venezuela’s left-wing regime, imposing new economic sanctions and recognizing Juan Guido’s claim to be the country’s new interim president over current ruler Nicolás Maduro.
Trump has openly lobbied the Venezuelan military to break with Maduro, and has stated ominously that “all options”—including apparently a U.S. military intervention—remain on the table. There is little doubt that the administration is pursuing regime change in Caracas.
While most of the attention is focused on the volatile situation in Venezuela, however, another crisis is brewing nearby in Nicaragua. As in Venezuela, rising domestic discontent with a socialist government has led to large-scale demonstrations demanding change. And as in Venezuela, the beleaguered regime has responded with harsh, authoritarian measures.
Nicaragua’s incumbent president is Washington’s old nemesis from the 1980s, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. The Reagan administration expended considerable effort, including training and arming a cadre of anti-communist rebels, the so-called Contras, in an unsuccessful effort to oust the Sandinistas.
Ultimately, Ortega agreed to hold free elections in 1990, and when opposition factions won, to the surprise of most U.S. officials, he relinquished power peacefully. Ortega returned to office following elections in 2007.
It is not the proper role of the United States to interfere in the internal affairs of either country.
Even the imposition of economic sanctions would be inappropriate, much less launching a military intervention.
At the same time, opponents of U.S. meddling should stop whitewashing the odious record of the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan leftist regimes. There is no need to excuse, much less lionize, socialist autocrats while opposing Washington’s fondness for forcible regime change. Those are separate issues and should remain so.
The Venezuelan and Nicaraguan governments have brought their populations widespread misery. Such arrogant socialist regimes deserve whatever fate they suffer at the hands of their abused people.
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