Tell Congress: Don't let Trump use the military to intervene in Venezuela
Donald Trump may be getting closer to using the American military to help overthrow Venezuela's government. Recently, he told a crowd in Miami, “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open."1
Venezuela is struggling after a devastating economic collapse, U.S. sanctions and the illegitimate re-election of an increasingly authoritarian leader.2 But the last thing the people of Venezuela need is U.S. military intervention that will inevitably result in civilian deaths, destruction and a destabilized region.
Congress must use its authority to rein Trump in before it's too late.
Tell Congress: Block Trump from using the U.S. military to interfere in Venezuela.
Trump is cravenly using threats of military intervention and offers of humanitarian aid to pressure the Venezuelan military to turn on its government. His words last week were chilling. He warned Venezuelan military officials that they must turn on their government, or else "you will find no safe harbor. No easy exit. And no way out. You lose everything. There will be no going back."3
But we know it's not just Venezuelan leaders that will suffer if the U.S. military gets involved, because we have seen this many times before. The United States has a long and violent history intervening in Latin America to serve its own interests, from supporting coups in Chile and Honduras to aiding repressive governments during bloody civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.4 One of the architects of these abuses is the infamous Elliot Abrams, convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal and later pardoned. He is now Trump's envoy to Venezuela. Despite the devastating long-term harm caused by past U.S. intervention in Latin America, we could see another chapter in this bloody history unless Congress decides to stop it.
Rep. David Cicilline, the vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, introduced legislation that would prevent the Trump administration from taking any military action related to Venezuela without the approval of Congress, which is required by law.5 So far, the legislation has 33 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.
Venezuela does not need U.S. military intervention. It needs the United States to lift sanctions to help prevent widespread starvation and support a democratic process to resolve its political crisis.
But if Trump thinks he can distract from domestic scandals by sending American troops, he could end up repeating history. We need Congress to join with Rep. Cicilline and stand up to Trump now.
Tell Congress: Block Trump from using the military to intervene in Venezuela.
- Toluse Olorunnipa and Anne Gearan, "Trump warns Venezuelan military leaders they could ‘lose everything’ over socialism," The Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2019.
- William Neuman and Nicholas Casey, "Venezuela Election Won by Maduro Amid Widespread Disillusionment," The New York Times, May 20, 2018.
- Olorunnipa and Gearan, "Trump warns Venezuelan military leaders they could ‘lose everything’ over socialism."
- Carla Pineda and Daniel Medina, "Deportations, Assassinations, and Dictator Nations: A Timeline of U.S. Intervention in Latin America," KCET, June 21, 2018.
- Rep. David Cicilline, "Cicilline Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Force in Venezuela," Feb. 6, 2019.