E On Tuesday I criticized President Trump's reaction to the violent crackdown on Venezuelan demonstrators by Nicolás Maduro troops. I suggested that Trump's tweets in support of interim president Juan Guaidó were inadequate.
I gladly admit that I was premature in my criticism. Because later Trump sent a few notable tweets:
…. Embargo are placed along with sanctions at the highest level on the island of Cuba. Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!
̵1; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
April 30, 2019
That's excellent. Trump has acknowledged the subjugation of the Venezuelan people and the American credibility of the violent authoritarianism of Nicolás Maduro. He responded by promising the calibrated application of American power for the accession of Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaidó.
The focus on Cuba is well designed. The capable security forces of the island nation are the main mechanism by which Maduro has preserved its power. I have a strong suspicion that Cuba's hand on Tuesday will act against the various military as a means against the military. By focusing the pressure on Cuba for a much greater purpose than before, Trump is offering a diplomatic diversion for Maduro and his friends. Without Cuba, these officials can not go into perpetual power. If Cuba gets along without Venezuelan oil, as Trump's threat of an "embargo" suggests, his leaders must give up Maduro.
Trump has taken a significant step forward in the interests of America and the world. Maduro is a crazy murderer who has starved his people on the brink of a cholera epidemic.
But thanks to Trump's tweets, Cuba is a moment of truth. Does Maduro choose it, or is it testing American resolve?
Cuba should choose wisely. As President John F. Kennedy demonstrated 57 years ago during the Cuban missile crisis, it is unwise to bet against a determined American president.