Donald Trump, who promised not to interfere in the affairs of other countries during the campaign, now threatens the Venezuelan authorities with "decisive and rapid economic actions". At the same time, the Venezuelan opposition declared a "final offensive" against the president and the government. If Trump's actions are similar to the policies of his predecessors, Hugo Chávez's successor, Nicholas Maduro, is more and more reminiscent of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on the eve of the overthrow.
The right-wing opposition of Venezuela scheduled for Thursday an 24-hour strike against socialist president Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez's successor. This strike is called the beginning of the "final offensive" on the government.
On the eve of the opposition held a so-called popular referendum, during which, according to the leader of the opposition, Enrique Capriles, two people were killed. According to the opponents of the authorities, more than 98% of 7 million voted said "no" to President Maduro's project - to convene a constituent assembly to change the constitution of the country.
Nicholas Maduro gave opposition members the go-ahead for a referendum, although he said that his results would not be valid.
The liberal Venezuelan opposition was supported by Donald Trump. The US President said: Venezuelans voted "for democracy, freedom and the rule of law." "Nevertheless, their strong and courageous actions are still ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator," the US president said. Trump also threatened Maduro with "economic actions" if he still summoned the constituent assembly.
Note that during the election campaign, Trump promised that US foreign policy would not involve interference in the affairs of other states.
July 2017 in Caracas compared with February 2014 in Kiev
In Venezuela, apparently, the political crisis that began after the death of Hugo Chávez in 2013 and the coming to power of his ally and successor Maduro peaked. The crisis deepened in 2015-2016 years. In April this year, when the Supreme Court expanded the powers of the president and limited the functions of the parliament (controlled by the opposition), new clashes began. In the course of the riots, more than 90 people were killed, 1,5 thousand people were injured, several thousand were taken into custody.
Disorders are taking place against the backdrop of a catastrophic economic situation. The situation in the country is compared with the USSR on the eve of the collapse. As the newspaper VZGLYAD noted earlier, this can be costly for large Russian companies that conduct projects in this country.
The actions of the Venezuelan opposition, in turn, are compared with the behavior of Ukrainian oppositionists during the Maidan. The situation in which Maduro was, compare with the situation of Viktor Yanukovych on the eve of his overthrow. In particular, the attempt to agree with the opposition, allowing it to hold a referendum, recalls Yanukovych's talks with the leaders of the Maidan.
Yanukovych reached an agreement with the opposition, but literally the next day the opposition broke the promise, and the European guarantors of the agreement did not react, the director of the Ukrainian Center for Political Marketing Vasily Stoyakin said in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. "American diplomacy tends to act on a pattern and with similar challenges," Stoyakin added.
"The opposition can not really do anything, except to substitute people for bullets"
"The opposition is following a very tough line: no negotiations with Maduro, no intermediaries, and so on," Vladimir Sudarev, deputy director of the Institute of Latin American Countries, commented to the newspaper VIEW.
On the other hand, Maduro "turned out to be the leader of the wrong caliber that the country needs in such a difficult situation," says Fedor Lukyanov, director for research at the Valdai Foundation Development and Support Foundation. If Chavez was a person "bright and determined", then his successor is not such, although he tries to be a charismatic leader.
Negotiations that the authorities have been trying to conduct with the opposition for several years, including with international mediation, have not led to anything.
Vladimir Sudarev notes that President Maduro "sits on bayonets." "This is inconvenient, of course. But the armed forces under control - the generals, the police, the armed militia that Chavez was creating - are all his fists. And there is practically nothing to counter it with. "
The opposition, however, "can not really do anything, except to lead people out onto the streets and put them under bullets. They do not have their own armed forces, the parliament was dispersed. "
What can the US do?
Fyodor Lukyanov believes that direct intervention by the United States in Venezuelan affairs is ruled out. "Now there is not much to do, and Venezuela is very peripheral," the expert said.
But the US can resort to sanctions against the "Bolivarian regime." "This is for the sweet heart, Americans like sanctions very much, they have one of the most common instruments of influence at all, including even allied countries," Lukyanov points out.
As for sanctions, the range of US actions is rather narrow here, Vladimir Sudarev believes. If the US stops buying Venezuelan oil, which is constantly and regularly supplied to them, "it will be a blow, rather, in the American economy," the expert said. The US itself does not supply Venezuela with food or essentials, so "there is nothing to sanction," the source said.
Experts believe that the Trump administration will limit itself to verbal threats. "Trump is always threatening someone. He proceeds from the fact that a normal tool in political relations is to show determination and keep everyone in good shape all the time, "Lukyanov said.
"Judging by the way Trump behaves, it can not be said that he takes some drastic measures against the Maduro government," Sudarev points out. - Verbal speech - "restore democracy in Venezuela, and so on" - is something that is peculiar to him, but he does absolutely not take any decisive action. "
Moreover, the expert notes, in the organization of American states (OAS) the US representative abstained when a resolution was issued that Venezuela violates human rights. Many Latin American countries then voted "for", but for most they did not have enough, the interlocutor noted.