Last winter, the overthrow of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro President Trump seemed to be a sure bet, a quick foreign policy to gain momentum as other initiatives in Asia and the Middle East faltered or failed went in the wrong direction.
Then came spring, when Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader Trump, recognized Venezuela's legitimate president, calling on the Venezuelan military to rise and change sides. But while the White House had received assurances from the opposition that many members of the security forces and the government had pledged to overthrow it, virtually none responded to Guaidó's request.
A frustrated Trump believed that national security adviser John Bolton and his Latin director American politics, Mauricio Claver-Carone, was "played" by both the opposition and key Maduro officials, said two high-ranking government officials. Shortly after the failure of April 30, when the president had "chewed the bar" in the words of a former Trump representative involved in Venezuelan politics, he considered that he might need to make a phone call himself to do something to do. 19659006] Summer arrives with Maduro this week and there's little sign that he's about to go out or that the Trump administration has a coherent strategy to remove him. According to official statements, the president loses both patience and interest in Venezuela.
Other officials denied the report of a chewing. National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said, "Not only is this obviously blatantly wrong, but the trade in fairy tales by the Washington Post and not the truth."
"The US never said that its efforts in Venezuela would be limited to a round," another senior official said, "The government's maximum-pressure policy relies on consistency and discipline to achieve the ultimate goal."
These officials and others talked about the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the governance of the administration.
As Venezuela becomes more ungovernable and sanctions subside Some argue that the fatigue that is affecting many Maduro opponents also affects the regime This will theoretically stimulate negotiations on elections that Maduro will not attend, though it may not guarantee its immediate departure, as the United States has endorsed.
But Trump was clearly frustrated by a foreign policy issue he was addressing "Always thought … as a low-hanging fruit" on which he "achieved a victory and could praise him as an important foreign policy victory, "said the former official. "Five or six months later. , , it does not come together. "
Since the beginning of last month, Trump has rarely spoken publicly about Venezuela or its promise to use military force as needed to achieve its US goals.
In a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to promote donors at his Doral golf club in Florida, just a few miles away from his speech to Venezuelan and Cuban emigrants in February, he warned that those who were Maduro continue to support, "lose everything" – Trump did not mention Venezuela, a person in attendance said.
Trump's Twitter account, which once provided regular saber-rattling in Venezuela, has largely been silenced on the subject.
With one exception, Trump tweeted earlier this month: "Russia has told us that it did away with most of its people from Venezuela. "After Russia denied this and claimed that there had been no such action or communication with the government, it was never mentioned again.
That's it Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump called in early May to tell him that Moscow no longer needed to support Maduro. Both Bolton and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo had already informed Russia. But Trump had mildly said after the call that Putin had assured him that Russia "is not at all interested in engaging in Venezuela unless he wants something positive to happen."
At the beginning of last week, when he was preparing to board Marine One on the White House lawn, he called questions from his predecessor and accused him of blaming the ongoing crisis in Venezuela in his 2020 election campaign. "It has been brewed for many years," he said. "It really started in the worst shape during the Biden-Obama administration."
When asked if he wanted to grant Venezuelans who are fleeing their country special immigration status, Trump pointed out that other members of the government had carefully avoided this. "We see that very well."
Later in the week, he spent more than two hours meeting major league baseball captains urging him to reconsider his contract with Cuba to reclaim his baseball players to the United States. In addition to Russia, the government accuses Cuba of supporting Maduro, and during the meeting Trump tried to recruit baseball managers to send two messages to the leaders in Havana. He said he was happy to sign a deal with Cuban baseball players, Trump said if they told Cuba to leave Venezuela.
Trump also suggested that he was ready to meet with Cuban officials under the right conditions. "The president gave the same message to MLB he gave everyone – the Cubans need to change their behavior in Venezuela and in their own country," said a high-ranking government official.
While Trump seems to have withdrawn, Bolton tweets about Venezuela more than any other foreign policy issue. "The United States will continue to be determined to end Maduro's repression," he wrote Tuesday.
In Miami, when Trump was on his way to Florida, Vice President Pence spoke to Venezuelan Americans to greet the embarkation of the Americans The US Navy ship Comfort to Latin America awaiting treatment for Venezuelan refugees.
Pence diverted the questions about US military intervention, saying the government's goal was "to restore democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela so that Venezuelans can go home free nation.
John Hudson contributed to this report.