U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has made Venezuela a cornerstone of his foreign policy messaging going back to his stint as Governor, but he may be out of step with President-elect Joe Biden‘s strategy on it.
The Senator responded to an Associated Press report that emissaries of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sought dialogue with the incoming Biden administration with a tweet warning against backing down to the regime.
“There is nothing left to say to a murderous dictator who starved his own people. Maduro must go. Period. The United States MUST remain strong against ruthless dictators in our hemisphere. We cannot back down,” Scott tweeted Monday.
Preconditions of talks would include Juan Guaido, recognized by the U.S. and allies as the legitimate President of the South American country, apologizing for subverting the Maduro regime. As well, U.S. sanctions would have to be lifted.
If these preconditions were anything close to met, that would represent what Scott and other Venezuelan hardliners have prioritized as a bulwark of America’s position in the Western Hemisphere, and another consequence of Donald Trump‘s defeat in the presidential race.
Driven by electoral concerns. Trump’s campaign deployed Scott to make the case that the President was strong on the Venezuela question on a press call days before the election.
“Getting these thugs out of power is hard, and we’re doing it by ourselves,” Scott said, noting that most countries aren’t committed to sanctions or concrete actions to help the U.S. bring “freedom and democracy” to Venezuela.
Europe, Scott said, has “not been helpful” to the U.S. And China is worse.
Scott, who issued a statement of solidarity with Guaidó within a week of moving to Washington, attempted to force the Trump administration’s hand on military action and other overt coercions.
He didn’t get what he wanted, but he spun it the best he could.
“Trump worked around the world to get Guaidó recognized as President,” Scott noted.
Biden has said he’s open to withdraw American recognition for Guaidó and start negotiating with Maduro.
“If Biden wins, Latin Americans won’t have to worry about recognizing the importance of the U.S.,” Scott said in November, with the Democrat poised for a “betrayal of democracy” and concomitant negotiations with socialist leaders throughout the hemisphere.
A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies “best political column.” He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com
Source: Florida Politics