Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Editorial
Reprinted in WI State Journal | 27 April 2020
“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the United States into crisis, and its citizenry is in desperate need of medical, economic and moral support. What the people do not need, or want, is another war.
Yet, over the past several weeks, the [US] federal government has been amassing a significant military force in the Caribbean — the largest U.S. military operations in the region in 30 years — intensifying its pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. War, it seems, could be on the horizon.
The Trump administration has made no secret about its desire to oust Maduro, who has been characterized by President Donald Trump as a dictator. Trump has continued and expanded economic sanctions initiated during the George W. Bush administration, in addition to adding his own. His administration also supported the claims of Venezuelan politician Juan Guaido to the presidency in 2019. And, just last month, the U.S. Justice Department charged Maduro with drug trafficking and narcoterrorism.
Despite all this, Maduro remains in charge of Venezuela. But with Venezuela’s economy collapsed after years of sanction pressure, leaving the country vulnerable to a public health crisis, the Trump administration seems to be considering giving regime change another go.
The United States has built up a tremendous force in the waters north of the country. “We’re deploying additional Navy destroyers, combat ships, aircraft and helicopters; Coast Guard cutters; and Air Force surveillance aircraft, doubling our capabilities in the region,” Trump announced abruptly during an April 1 coronavirus briefing at the White House.