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Feb 11, 2019

We knew it was coming, and now it's here: A coup is in progress in Venezuela. In this follow up episode to CD176 (Target Venezuela: Regime Change in Progress), learn additional backstory and details about the recent events in Venezuela, including the proclamation by Juan Guaido that he is now the President of Venezuela and all of the efforts being made by the Trump administration to get this regime change to stick.

Executive Producer: George Melcher

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Sound Clip Sources

Hearing: U.S. Africa and Southern Command Operations, Senate Armed Service Committee, C-SPAN, February 7, 2019.


  • Admiral Craig Fuller - U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Commander

Sound Clips:

  • 16:10 Fuller While Russia and Cuba and China prop up the Maduro dictatorship, the reminder of the world is united. SOUTHCOM is supporting diplomatic efforts and we are prepared to protect U.S. personal and diplomatic facilities, if necessary.
  • 53:44 Sen. Rick Scott In the Venezuelan military, have you -- have you seen any cracking from the standpoint, what we've been doing over the last -- especially the last two weeks, has any thing changed? Fuller - Certainly, there's been readiness aspects of their military that we watch very closely. It's a degraded force, but it is still a force that remains loyal to Maduro, and that makes it dangerous. We're looking for signs of those cracking, and we can talk in the closed session on some more details in trends we're seeing.
  • 1:00:00 Sen. Tom Cotton (AR) - He said earlier Cuban guards completely surround the Maduro government. Does that mean that Maduro is dependent on the Cuban security and intelligence forces for his continuation in office? Fuller - Senator, I think it's a good sense of where the loyalty of the Venezuelan people are that to his immediate security forces made up of Cubans. Cotton  - So the men that surround Maduro, like our Secret Service, are Cubans not Venezuelans. Fuller - That's my understanding and assessment.
  • 1:01:54 Fuller - I would also mention that the presence of China, China has not been helpful in a diplomatic way. I will leave that to the diplomats. China is there and involved in cyber in ways that are absolutely not helpful to the democratic outcome.
  • 1:18:47 Sen Tim Kaine (VA) - If the world wants to see a democracy versus a dictatorship challenge Venezuela is just like the perfect test case for circa 2019, what do democracies care for an what dictatorships care for, Venezuela government of Maduro is supported by Russia, Cuba, and Iran. And they are enabling him to do all kinds of horrible things economically and in violation of human rights. The interim government, which has a constitutional claim in the vacancy of a president, the speaker of the legislative assembly becomes interim president supported by the United States and the EU. You really can see what the difference between democracy and the aspirations of democratic governments and dictatorship and what they care about very clearly int eh Venezuela circumstance now. Here's the reality, we are dealing with regional institutions like the OAS, every nation has one vote. The U.S. has a hard time to get the UA asked firmly come out against the Maduro government because many Caribbean nations still support the Maduro government. They've been bribed to do so with low-price oil. But it's very hard for us to do something like this on our won and when a principal regional institution like the LAS is not completely with us it's hard to put the appropriate pressure on.
Interview: Mnuchin says Trump's economic plan is working and 'we're not going back to socialism', CNBC, February 6, 2019.
  • 00:58:37 Steven Mnuchin : I’ve always watched the stock market a lot. I’ve been in the investment business since I graduated from Yale and I’ve tended to watch the stock market every day since then... As the President talked about last night, his economic program is working. We’re not going back to socialism. We’re going on an economic plan for America that works.
2019 State of the Union Address: Trump appeals for unity to end political gridlock, February 5, 2019.
2019 State of the Union Address: Trump Praises the Venezuela Coup, February 5, 2019.
  • 1:05:28 President Donald Trump - Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido. We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom -- and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair. Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.
Interview: President Trump on "Face the Nation," CBS News, February 3, 2019.
  • 00:42:58 MARGARET BRENNAN: What would make you use the U.S. military in Venezuela? What's the national security interest? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I don't want to say that. But certainly it's something that's on the- it's an option. MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you personally negotiate with Nicolás Maduro to convince him to exit. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well he is requested a meeting and I've turned it down because we're very far along in the process. You have a young and energetic gentleman but you have other people within that same group that have been very very - if you talk about democracy - it's really democracy in action. MARGARET BRENNAN: When did he request a meeting? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're going to see what happened. A number of months ago he wanted to meet.
Interview: National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton, interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, Hugh Hewitt Book Club, February 1, 2019.

Sound Clips:

  • 01:20:23 Hugh Hewitt: There are reports of Venezuela shipping gold to the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is a very close ally of ours. Have you asked the UAE to sequester that gold? John Bolton: Let me just say this. We’re obviously aware of those reports consistent with what we did on Monday against PDVSA, the state-owned oil monopoly where we imposed crippling sanctions. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, is implementing them as we speak. We’re also looking at cutting off other streams of revenue and assets for the Maduro mafia, and that certainly includes gold. And we’ve already taken some steps to neutralize gold that’s been out of the country used as collateral for bank loans. We’ve frozen, and our friends in Europe, have frozen a substantial amount of that. We want to try and do the same here. We’re on top of it. That’s really all I can say at the moment.
Council Session: Political Situation in Venezuela, Atlantic Council, January 30, 2019.


  • Ed Royce - Former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Carlos Alfredo Vecchio - Voluntad Popular Co-Founder, Interim Venezuelan Charge d’Affaires to the U.S.
  • Julio Borges - Former President for the National Assembly of Venezuela
  • David O’Sullivan - European Union Ambassador to the United States

Sound Clips:

  • 11:30 Carlos Alfredo Vecchio (via translator): What do we want to do? What is what we are asking the international community to support us with? First, to put an end to the usurpation of power by Nicolas Maduro. We cannot resolve the political and economic and social crisis as long as the dictatorship is in place. And this is something that we have to make clear. That is my priority, is to put an end to that and to help orchestrate international support to put an end to Maduro's dictatorship.

  • 13:30 Carlos Alfredo Vecchio (via translator): Just to make very clear, I mean, from an economic point of view, we believe in an open market, an open economy. We believe in the private sector, we believe in the international and the national sectors, though, often, of course, our main source of revenue is the oil sector. So that would be a key element to recover our country, and we need to open that market. We need to increase our oil production.

  • 39:15 David O’Sullivan: I think we absolutely share the same objective here. The European Union has always believed that the situation in Venezuela is unsustainable. We did not accept the results of the so-called elections last year. We declined collectively to attend the inauguration. And we are wholly supportive of the efforts of the National Assembly and Guaido to restore true democracy and free and fair elections.

  • 48:00 Representative Ed Royce (CA): And a few years ago when the people in Venezuela elected the National Assembly, over two-thirds opposition to Maduro, he doubled down by asking China to bring the ZTE Corporation in and do a social credit system inside Venezuela on the same basis that it's done in China, which means that you now need that card in order to get food or medicine or your pension or your basic services.

  • 48:30 Representative Ed Royce (CA): The fact that this ZTE-type arrangement exists in Venezuela, and now it exists in North Korea, and there's one other country where they have a contract—they're putting it in the Republic of Iran—this represents a new challenge to democracies.

  • 1:15:00 Carlos Alfredo Vecchio: Just to make very clear, I mean, from an economic point of view, we believe in an open market, an open economy. We believe in the private sector, we believe in the international and the national sectors, though, often, of course, our main source of revenue is the oil sector. So that would be a key element to recover our country, and we need to open that market. We need to increase our oil production.

  • 1:23:30 Carlos Alfredo Vecchio: Those agreements that has not been recognized by an international examiner, who has been illegal, we will not recognize illegal agreements. The rest, yes, we will comply with that. And let me send a clear message. For example, the only way that bond holders will not get paid, if Maduro remains in power. Nobody will complain with them. And China has to understand that, and Russia has to understand that.

Discussion: Political Situation in Venezuela, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), January 29, 2019.


  • Gustavo Tarre - George Washington University, CSIS Americas Program member, Designated Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (appointed by Juan Guaido
  • William Brownfield - Former US Ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, and Columbia during the George W. Bush administration and Obama administration
  • Michael Matera - Center for Strategic & International Studies, America’s Program Director

Sound Clips:

  • 3:30 Michael Matera: In what is shaping up to be a very unstable and potentially explosive situation in Venezuela, the leading authoritarian nations of the world have stood by Maduro. Russia, Iran, Turkey, China, and Cuba, among a few others, have stated their continued recognition of Maduro. The future of Venezuela is turning more clearly than ever into a proxy struggle between the authoritarian regimes and the democratic nations. Venezuela could easily become the active front on which this struggle is defined.

  • 8:15 Gustavo Tarre: Not only because his knowledge of Venezuela— Madea Benjamin: Not easy because you are here representing a coup. You are totally illegitimate. Nobody elected Juan Guaido, and nobody legitimate appointed you. You are taking Venezuela down the path of a civil war— Unknown Male Speaker: Excuse me. Excuse me, ma’am. Madea Benjamin: How dare you go to a civil war? What kind of patriot are you that allow yourself to be manipulated— Unknown Male Speaker: Out. Get out. Madea Benjamin: —by Donald Trump, John Bolton, and now Elliott Abrams, the ultra hawk. It is a very dangerous situation. We need negotiations, which is why we should be supporting Mexico and Uruguay in their call for negotiations. You don't follow the coup collaborators, like this man right here. Say no to coup. Unknown Male Speaker: See ‘ya. Ambassador— Madea Benjamin: We’re in the 21st century.

  • 1:08:50 William Brownfield: What is the Cuban interest? It's 50,000 barrels of oil a day to an energy-starved nation. What is the Chinese approach? It is very much an economic approach, which is to say there are raw materials of great importance to the Chinese economy that are located in Venezuela, and they have a long-term economic interest in having access to them, driven by economics. Russia is more complicated. They do not need oil. They are, in fact, one of the three largest oil producers in the world right now, who produce more than their national need. It is geostrategic politics. I would offer everyone two thoughts—because I have taken this question from excellent representatives of the media over the last week with some frequency—first, don't listen that closely to the words that you hear from the governments of China or Russia. See if they put another billion or two or three billion investment into Venezuela. Money talks, and I have not seen evidence of that, which suggests that they, too, are pausing and taking a look at what happens. And second, if I could be Russia-specific briefly, I would note, and we all realize this, that over the last 10 years or so, Russia annexed the Crimea, and the Western democracies criticized and protested. Russia created two new republics—one in South Ossetia, the other in North Georgia, I believe—and the Western world protested. Russia at least supported, and I would argue actually infiltrated, large numbers of security personnel into the two easternmost provinces of Ukraine, and the Western world criticized. But at the end of the day, geography and history determined the Crimea is still under Russian control, South Ossetia and North Georgia still exist as independent states, and Russian influence is still quite visible in and whatever the other province is called. All right. That is geographic reality. We are now in the Western Hemisphere. If Brazil and Colombia and Argentina and Canada and the United States take a position, those same geographic realities will, in fact, move in the other direction. Of course we must listen to the Russian and Chinese governments—they are two of perhaps the three most important governments in the world—but we're entitled to use our brains as we calculate what they are saying and how we respond to it.

  • 1:16:30 William Brownfield: What if Maduro hangs on yet once again, which by the way, ladies and gentlemen, is not inconceivable; it's happened before. We had not quite this much of a conversation, but in 2017 some sensed that things might be happening, and they did not happen. Is it possible again? Of course, it is. That is why we talk about a strategy, an international community strategy with two elements: one element being focused on the Maduro de _____(00:35) esta, the removal of that government, and that strategic component is not eliminated until someone new has moved into Miraflores Palace; and the second, related but separate element of planning for the day after.

Hearing: Hearing to Consider Worldwide Threats, Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. Senate, January 29, 2019.


  • Dan Coats - Director of National Intelligence
  • Christopher Wray - FBI Director
  • Gina Haspel - CIA Director
  • Lt. General Robert Ashley - Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director
  • General Paul Nakasone - National Security Agency Director

Sound Clips:

  • 1:11:00 Senator Marco Rubio (FL): We know they have openly and repeatedly, at least Maduro has, invited the Russians and Putin to establish either a rotational or a permanent presence somewhere in Venezuela, thereby creating a Russian military presence in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, they flew, about three weeks ago or a month ago, two Russian nuclear-capable bombers into the Caribbean Sea.

  • 1:12:15 Senator Marco Rubio (FL): Is it not in the national interest of the United States of America that the Maduro regime fall and be replaced by a democratic and more responsible government?

  • 1:15:15 Lieutenant General Robert Ashley: The reference you made to the Tu-160 Blackjacks that flew those strategic bombers, third iteration of that—first time was in '08, and then '14, and we've seen it again. As far as presence on the ground, we can talk a little bit more detail in a closed session about where we see Russia and China going with that greater instability. But in the open press, what you've seen thus far really is nothing more than just vocal support that's coming out of Moscow and that's coming out of China as well, but there is relationship there. From the military standpoint in the way of training, lots of Venezuelan officers go to Russia for training, and there's a reciprocal relationship for equipping them as well.

  • 1:16:00 Senator Angus King (ME): In light of Senator Rubio's comments, I'd just like to note of caution, he listed refugee flows, human rights abuses, and corruption. There are lots of countries in the world that meet that description, and our right or responsibility to generate regime change in a situation like that, I think, is a slippery slope. And I have some real caution about what our vital interests are and whether it's our right or responsibility to take action to try to change the government of another sovereign country. That same description would have led us into a much more active involvement in Syria, for example, five or six years ago, other parts of the country. I just wanted to note that.

Fox Business Video: John Bolton on Regime Change in Venezuela, Iraqi Christian HRC, Twitter, January 28, 2019.
White House Daily Briefing: Trump Administration sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company, January 28, 2019.


  • Steve Mnuchin - Treasury Secretary
  • John Bolton - National Security Advisor

Sound Clips:

  • 1:26 John Bolton: As you know, on January the 23rd, President Trump officially recognized the president of the Venezuela National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the interim president of Venezuela. Venezuela's National Assembly invoked Article 233 of the country's constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate. This action was a statement that the people of Venezuela have had enough of oppression, corruption, and economic hardship. Since then, 21 other governments in the region and across the world have joined the United States in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

  • 3:53 John Bolton: I reiterate that the United States will hold Venezuelan security forces responsible for the safety of all U.S. diplomatic personnel, the National Assembly, and President Guido. Any violence against these groups would signify a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response.

  • 4:24 Steven Mnuchin: Today Treasury took action against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, to help prevent the further diversion of Venezuela’s assets by former President Maduro.

  • 5:21 Steven Mnuchin: The path to sanctions relief for PDVSA is through the expeditious transfer of control to the interim president or a subsequent democratically elected government who is committed to taking concrete and meaningful actions to combat corruption.

  • 5:40 Steven Mnuchin: Today OFAC also issued a number of general licenses that authorize certain transactions and activities with PDVSA for limited periods of time to minimize any immediate disruptions and support of ongoing humanitarian efforts.

  • 6:00 Steven Mnuchin: Citgo assets in the United States will be able to continue to operate provided that any funds that would otherwise go to PDVSA instead will go into a blocked account in the United States.

  • 6:10 Steven Mnuchin: Refineries in the United States have already been taking steps to reduce the reliance on imports from Venezuela. Those imports have fallen substantially in recent months. We have also issued general licenses to ensure that certain European and Caribbean countries can make an orderly transition.

  • 6:20 Steven Mnuchin: We continue to call on all of our allies and partners to join the United States in recognizing Interim President Guaido in blocking Maduro from being able to access PDVSA funds.

  • 7:10 Reporter: Is there any circumstance under which American forces would get involved? John Bolton: Well, the president has made it very clear on this matter that all options are on the table.

  • 7:43 Steven Mnuchin: But effective immediately, any purchases of Venezuelan oil by U.S. entities, money will have to go into blocked accounts. Now, I've been in touch with many of the refineries. There is a significant amount of oil that's at sea that's already been paid for. That oil will continue to come to the United States. If the people in Venezuela want to continue to sell us oil, as long as that money goes into blocked accounts, we'll continue to take it. Otherwise, we will not be buying it. And again, we have issued general licenses, so the refineries in the United States can continue to operate.

  • 9:06 Steven Mnuchin: The purpose of sanctions is to change behavior. So when there is a recognition that PDVSA is the property of the rightful rulers, the rightful leaders, the president, then, indeed, that money will be available to Guaido.

  • 9:52 John Bolton: And the authoritarian regime of Chavez and Maduro has allowed penetration by adversaries of the United States, not least of which is Cuba. Some call the country now Cubazuela, reflecting the grip that Cuba’s military and security forces have on the Maduro regime. We think that’s a strategic significant threat to the United States, and there are others as well, including Iran’s interest in Venezuelan’s uranium deposits.

  • 15:56 Steven Mnuchin: We're dealing with Venezuelan oil that is a rather modest part of our overall supply. Again, we're a net exporter of energy. We are particularly concerned that there were a handful of refineries that had a dependence on Venezuelan oil. I think they read the tea leaves. They reduced that dependence significantly along the way. Most of them have in the neighborhood of 10% or less of their dependent on Venezuelan oil. So, I don't expect that people will see an impact on the gas pumps.

  • 17:10 Steven Mnuchin: I’m sure many of our friends in the Middle East will be happy to make up the supply as we push down Venezuela’s supply.

Meeting: Secretary Pompeo Speaks at U.N. Security Council Meeting on Venezuela, January 26, 2019.


  • Mike Pompeo - Secretary of State

Sound Clips:

  • 2:20 Mike Pompeo: Let’s be crystal clear: The foreign power meddling in Venezuela today is Cuba. Cuba has directly made matters worse and the United States and our partners are the true friends of the Venezuelan people.

  • 16:40 Mike Pompeo: Such scenes of misery are now the norm in Venezuela, where millions of children are suffering from malnutrition and starvation, thanks to a socialist experiment that caused the economy to collapse.

  • 20:24 Mike Pompeo: And now it’s time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays. No more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem... But no regime has done more to sustain the nightmarish condition of the Venezuelan people than the regime in Havana. For years, Cuban security and intelligence thugs, invited into Venezuela by Maduro himself and those around him, have sustained this illegitimate rule. They have trained Maduro’s security and intelligence henchmen in Cuba’s own worst practices. Cuba’s interior ministry even provides former President Maduro’s personal security... Some countries have publicly taken former President Maduro’s side. China, Russia, Syria, and Iran are just four of them. Just this morning, we tried to find a way for this council to speak in one voice in support of the Venezuelan people and our democratic ideals through a presidential statement not this council. But our Russian and Chinese colleagues refused to let this move forward. It’s not a surprise that those that rule without democracy in their own countries are trying to prop up Maduro while he is in dire straights.

Meeting: U.N. Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Venezuela, January 26, 2019.


  • Jorge Arreaza - Venezuelan Foreign Minister
  • Elliott Abrams - U.S. Special Envoy to Venezuela

Sound Clips:

  • 00:10 Jorge Arreaza: So 2002 is a direct precedent to what is happening. They were behind the coup d’etat. They weren’t as much in the vanguard or in advance as this time. They recognized Carmona, the dictator for the 72 hours that it lasted... It was on the 22nd, where Vice President Pence basically in a tweet gave a green light for a coup d’etat in Venezuela. As Under Secretary General said the interim President is self proclaimed. There was no ceremony. It was self proclamation by a member of Parliament at a public rally, at a peaceful public rally, one of many that there have been over the past years... If one of you can tell me in which article and which provision of the United Nations charter you can find the legal basis for self proclamation who wasn’t elected by anyone as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, then we can open a discussion on the legal aspects, but I don’t think that will happen... At last we have a chance to speak. We have a written text but before that I wanted to share some thoughts with you. Indeed, we can even thank Mr. Mike Pompeo because in the face of failure at the Organization of American States on the 24th of January, they didn’t have enough weight to impose a resolution, well they convened a meeting of the Security Council. In fact, we - President Maduro - thought of appealing to this body not only to debate the case of Venezuela but rather the blatant and gross intervention, and mechanisms of interference by the United States in our country. In this case, the United States is not behind the coup d’etat, it is in advance in the vanguard of the coup d’etat. It is dictating the orders not only to the Venezuelan opposition but also to the satellite governments in the region, and it seems it Europe and in other parts of the world.

  • 31:47 Elliot Abrams: I can not respond to every attack that was made on every country here. The insults that were made by calling many countries here “satellites”. In fact, it was interesting that every single country that was attacked - or criticized - was a democracy. Every single one that you criticized was a democracy... Today there is a satellite present here and it is Venezuela, which is unfortunately has become a satellite of Cuba and Russia... The regime is hiding behind, and it’s spokesman is hiding behind, the laws and constitution of Venezuela.

Hearing: Defense Department Nominations, Senate Armed Services Committee, January 25, 2019.


  • Vice Admiral Craig Faller - US Southern Command Commander

Sound Clips:

  • 1:37:00 Senator Bill Nelson (FL): What do you think that is the proper role of SouthCom in supporting the Venezuelan people now, in this time of exceptional chaos? Craig Faller: Senator, the Southern Command is focused on supporting our partners—Brazil, Columbia, those that have been most affected by the migrants, the spillover of some one-million-plus in Columbia. Recently, visited Columbia was the secretary of defense. President Duque is keenly aware and sharply focused on all his security challenges, and this is at the top of that list. As a result of the Columbian government's request, we intend to deploy the hospital ship Comfort—it will be underway shortly. It was delayed because of the hurricane—to the region to help our partners offset some of the impacts of this, particularly with the medical care that's been required and the strain that's placed on the resources.
Fox Business Video: Vice President Mike Pence Tweet about US recognizing Guaido as Venezuelan President, Twitter, January 23, 2019.
  • 00:33:32 Vice President Mike Pence: Today, freedom broke out in Venezuela with the recognition of a new interim president in Juan Guaido, a courageous man who stepped forward, the President of the National Assembly who took the oath of office, and I couldn’t be more proud that at President Trump’s direction, the United States of America became the first country in the world to recognize President Guaido, and now many other nations join us as well.
Video: Vice President Mike Pence Tweet about Venezuela, Twitter, January 22, 2019.
  • Vice President Mike Pence: Hola. I’m Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, and on behalf of President Donald Trump and all the American people, let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you - the people of Venezuela - raise your voices in a call for freedom. Nicholas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He’s never won the Presidency in a free and fair election and he’s maintained his grip on power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him. The United States joins with all freedom loving nations in recognizing the National Assembly as the last vestige of democracy in your country, for it’s the only body elected by you, the people. As such, the United States supports the courageous decision by Juan Guaido, the President of your National Assembly, to assert that body’s constitutional powers, declare Maduro a usurper, and call for the establishment of a transitional government. As you make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say to all the good people of Venezuela, estamos con ustedes. We are with you. We stand with you and we will stay with you until democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of libertad. Muchas gracias y vayan con Dios.
Hearing: Foreign Policy in the Western Hemisphere, House Foreign Affairs Committee, July 11, 2018.


  • Kenneth Merten - Deputy Assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
  • Sarah-Ann Lynch - USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean

Sound Clips:

  • 27:30 Chairman Ed Royce (CA): And meanwhile, despite sitting on the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuelan oil production has fallen by half in the last few years. Venezuela in the meantime has been sending several hundred thousand barrels of oil every day to China as repayment on the tens of billions of dollars it has borrowed. And more recently, China's development bank announced a new quarter-billion dollar investment to shore up Venezuela's struggling oil production.
Video: You're Welcome, Duane Johnson, Moana, YouTube, November 28, 2019.
Hearing: The Collapse of the Rule of Law in Venezuela, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 19, 2017.


  • Luis Almagro - Secretary General of the Organization of American States

Sound Clips:

  • 07:15 Senator Marco Rubio: I also know this, and I do not speak for the president, but I’ve certainly spoken to the president, and I will only reiterate what he has already said, and I’ve been saying this now for a number of days: it is my—I have 100% confidence that if democracy is destroyed once and for all in Venezuela on the 30th in terms of the Maduro regime, the president of the U.S. is prepared to act unilaterally in a significant and swift way. And that is not a threat; that is the reporting of the truth.
Hearing: Full Committee Hearing Venezuela: Options for U.S. Policy, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, March 2, 2017.


  • Dr. David Smilde - Professor at Tulane University & NYT writer
  • Dr. Shannon O’Neil - Council on Foreign Relations
  • Mark Feierstein - Center for Strategic and International Studies
    • Senior Advisor to the Albright Stonbridge Group
    • CLS Strategies
    • GBA Strategies
    • Special assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs
    • Former Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID
    • Worked in State Dept and USAID in Clinton Administration
    • Former principal at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, an international political consulting firm

Sound Clips:

  • 21:53 Shannon O’Neil: Multilateral initiatives are perhaps more important and potentially more fruitful as a means to influence Venezuela. This will mean working behind the scenes to galvanize opposition and condemnation for the Maduro regime. This’ll be more effective than U.S. efforts alone as it will be much harder for the Venezuelan government to dismiss the criticisms and the actions of its South American neighbors as imperialist overreach. And such a coalition is much more possible today than in any time in the recent past, due both to the accelerating repression and the breaking of the last democratic norms in Venezuela, and due to the very different stances of South America’s recently elected leaders, particularly in Peru, in Brazil, and in Argentina.

  • 41:12 Senator Bob Menendez: I’m pleased to have led a bipartisan and bicameral letter of my colleagues, urging the administration to take actions against the administration, and I look forward for a continuing engagement. But I hope we can work together to hold human-rights violators and drug traffickers, send a clear message, “If you’re going to violate rights of others inside of Venezuela, know that you’re next. Know that you’re next.” And while the Maduro regime may have sanctioned me and forbidden my entry into Venezuela, it will not stop me from pursuing this issue.

Video Compilation: Either With Us or With the Terrorists - President George W. Bush, YouTube, May 26, 2013

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Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)