By: Sergio Gómez Maseri
Correspondent in Washington from "El Tiempo" / GDA
Mauricio Claver-Carone is often described as the gray brain behind the strategy of United States that has the regime of today against the ropes Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
And that is without a doubt. Of Cuban descent, but born in Florida, Claver-Carone served as National Security Adviser for six months for the President's Western Hemisphere Donald Trump.
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Since then, it has a & # 39; hard line & # 39; approach against Caracas insisted that began with the rapid recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president nearly three weeks ago and that has given way to the imposition of severe economic sanctions and the deployment of huge amounts of humanitarian aid that is currently on the border with Colombia to be delivered.
Claver-Carone received this correspondent in the White House for an exclusive interview with the Grupo de Diarios América (GDA).
The official guarantees that the assistance will arrive Venezuela and speaks of a "humanitarian encirclement" that will ultimately defeat the government. He again insists that all options are on the table and describes the current moment as an irreversible that only ends with the exit of adult in force.
– The president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, is coming to Washington next week to meet Donald Trump. I presume that the issue of Venezuela is high on the agenda.
Absolutely. The relationship between United States and Colombia has a long history especially in the fight against drugs and terrorism and in that sense the issue of Venezuela is relevant because the regime of adult and his accomplices are responsible for multiple security problems because of their relationship with terrorist groups and drug trafficking. They will talk about that, just like the current situation.
– What role have Colombia and Brazil played in solving this crisis? Venezuela? I ask him, because both are right-wing governments that have just risen to power and whose position was more aggressive than those of their predecessors.
Both Duque and Jair Bolsonaro were important allies United States in this topic. Without their leadership we would face a completely different situation. They are also two countries that suffer from the first hand the refugee crisis and the security crisis at the borders. They are exposed to maladministration that has existed for years Venezuela and support for terrorist groups from a part of adult and his family members.
– The humanitarian aid that you have promised is coming. But the same dilemma remains. How to let it come and reach those who need it as the government of adult does it still block?
We continue to take the aid and in fact we are going to increase it. Not only in Cúcuta, but also in the neighborhood Venezuela on many points. The help comes in. It is not a matter of whether you can enter, but when. And when that happens, we will be ready to distribute it immediately. What he did adult Placing these obstacles on the bridge was a disaster from the point of view of public relations, because it prevents access to what most Venezuelans need. The armed forces themselves, their members, are families who need this help.
What do you suggest when you say that the aid eventually becomes yes or no?
I will not go into details. What I do say is that he goes in and I tell him because we follow an irreversible path. Not only Juan Guaidó It has the support in the streets, but financial spaces are closed internationally for this regime. When you have 30 people who block the income of food and medicines that need 30 million, it is a lost fight. That is why I say it is a matter of time.
– There are people in Washington who are already talking about the violent establishment of a humanitarian corridor to provide help if adult insists on blocking it. Is it something they think of?
It is not for me to go into details about strategies. What is coming now is that we are going to surround ourselves Venezuela with humanitarian aid. That is, a sort of humanitarian encirclement in which we work with Brazil, Colombia and the Caribbean. That is the phase in which we are now. Then we move on to another phase where we define what we have to do to enter.
– It was almost three weeks since she was attacked adult and he is still in power. Do you already have a plan B in case you do not fall and the presidency starts?
The path we go through is irreversible. There is no scenario in which adult and those who cling to power can reign Venezuela and can survive the economic and social crisis which they themselves have created and which is now accentuated by the sanctions of United States and the international pressures of Europe and Latin America. The international recognition of Guaidó keeps growing and that is also irreversible. The same thing happens to public opinion. According to polls, 85% of Venezuelans want him to leave and that will not change.
Venezuela has already begun a peaceful constitutional transition and the question is no longer adult accept this reality or not, but how long it will take to accept it.
-And what happens when Maduro decides to hold presidential elections? Would you support that output?
adultas a citizen over VenezuelaI could make that offer to the interim government. But that is a decision that corresponds Juan Guaidówho is the person who has to determine the conditions of an election. We do not recognize it adult as president and from our perspective, not the authority to convene something.
– The world understands that when you say that "all options are on the table" is because they are considering a military solution for this crossroads. Is that so?
That is what the President (Trump) said and the expression speaks for itself. It does not help to enter into hypothetical situations. This is an exercise that we take seriously every day and we are ready to respond to any circumstance.
– The bet from the beginning was to try to turn its back on the armed forces adult. Why do you think it has not happened yet, despite the offers of amnesty that have been done?
The guess is that everyone accepts the peaceful and democratic transition that has been presented Venezuela and that also applies to the army. I believe that the troops have already taken that decision. There are people who want to make that decision, but they want to ensure that their future and that of their family is safe. We have made it clear, and that said the adviser (National Security, John) Bolton this week, that the army that accepts the transition will not be prosecuted by the United States. UU. Our company is not revenge and we do not want to collect accounts. What we want to see is a democratic transition for the country to become prosperous again.
– That means that United States Would you even forgive them for criminal charges and other crimes that some might have with the justice of their country?
We can not speak for the legal system (in United States). But when we have appointed these people for sanctions by the Treasury Department, it is clear that they are striving to change their behavior. And if they change the behavior, we can consider lifting the financial penalties imposed by executive orders.
–adult gave them 30 days to the diplomatic staff of. to evacuate Venezuela. Are you planning to meet when that term expires at the end of this week, which starts?
when adult speaks, a citizen is over Venezuela and not his president. Our decisions are based on what the government decides Juan Guaidó.
-What do you say to the countries of Europe and a part of the region that insist on dialogue and still do not agree to the approximation of United States to solve this crisis?
In fact, we are talking about a minority of countries, because the vast majority have recognized the government Guaidó. And I would tell them to accept and support this transition to democracy Guaidó. That by not doing so they will remain on the side of people involved in illegal activities, who have stolen, who caused a huge humanitarian crisis and who are on the wrong side of history.
– Do not worry that the active role you have played United States end with reviving the ghost image of US interventionism in the region and eventually strengthening leftist movements?
The position of United States it is the same as most countries in the region and therefore I do not share that assumption. Moreover, the trend in the region is completely opposite. The days of socialism of the 21st century have been counted. The ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Nations of Our America, which Hugo Chávez pushed) is in the balance. And we saw it during the recent elections in El Salvador, where the people rejected the candidate of (Front) Farabundo Martí categorically. What we see is a regional trend of support for democracy, for prosperity, for free markets. It is an alliance that is growing, that we are proud of and that now wants to see a democratic change Venezuela.
– This Friday spread a story about a plane that apparently needs a few weeks to make trips between Miami, Venezuela and Colombia and that, according to adultI would carry weapons. I ask him immediately: is he United States the arming of the opposition Venezuela?
United States neither encourages nor supports this type of behavior of individuals and we have nothing to do with it. Moreover, I would say that it seems to me that this is fake news. Typical strategy of Russians or Cubans to misinform. Nothing has been found.