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Preparing for a Venezuela After Maduro

How the United States Can Help Rebuild

Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores at a rally in support of the government in Caracas, Venezuela, May 2019 Ivan Alvadaro / REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to liberate Venezuela from Nicolás Maduro’s regime have stalled, despite some unusually favorable circumstances, including a spectacularly incompetent government in Caracas, a restive population, a regional consensus in favor of regime change, and the presence of a widely recognized and constitutionally legitimate successor. The Trump administration has followed the same playbook in Venezuela as in Iran and North Korea: maximal demands, tightened economic sanctions, and vague threats of military action. It hasn’t worked in any of the three cases, although all three countries are feeling the pain.

The centerpiece of the administration’s campaign has been sanctions on the Venezuelan regime and economy. But it’s difficult to starve out a leadership when the leaders are the last to go hungry. Sanctions can play a useful role in preparing the ground for a military intervention by softening up the regime

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