No one can pretend that the Trump administration cares about fair elections in Latin America.(FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
IN RECENT WEEKS, THE Trump administration has stepped up its efforts at “regime change” in Venezuela. In the past, Trump himself has even mentioned military action as a possible option, but the most recent moves appear more likely to be implemented, and some are already operational.
According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the leading opposition contender for Venezuela’s May presidential election, Henri Falcón, was told by U.S. officials that the Trump administration would consider financial sanctions against him if he entered the presidential race. (The U.S. State Department did not return requests for comment.) The U.S. has backed the main opposition coalition decision to boycott the election.
Falcón is a former governor and retired military officer. He is leading in the latest polls, and according to the most reliable opposition pollster, would defeat Maduro in the election by a margin of nearly 7 percentage points.
The Countdown to Day Zero
Daniel WeeksMarch 2, 2018
Why would the Trump administration want to prevent an opposition leader who could possibly win the presidency in Venezuela from running in this election? There is no way to know for sure, but high-level sources from inside the administration have stated that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is determining U.S. policy toward Venezuela. Rubio is a hardliner who does not seem interested in an electoral or negotiated solution to Venezuela’s political crisis. On Feb. 9, he appeared to support