The Chicago Tribune
Obama boosts Venezuelan leader. Why?
Nicolas Maduro, the former bus driver chosen by Hugo Chavez to lead Venezuela after his death, has been struggling to consolidate his position since his election in April. With the economy stalling, inflation spiking and shortages spreading, the new president appears at a loss about how to respond, other than to blame domestic and foreign enemies.
One government, however, has chosen to toss Maduro a lifeline: the United States. Last week Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the Obama administration would like to “find a new way forward” with the Maduro administration and “quickly move to the appointment of ambassadors.”
The Venezuelan leader has expelled two U.S. military attaches, claimedt they were trying to destabilize the country; he claimed the CIA was provoking violence; and he called Obama “the big boss of the devils.”
Kerry’s words amounted to a precious endorsement for Maduro — and the Obama administration appears bent on cultivating him regardless of his actions. This looks like a reset for the sake of reset, launched without regard for good timing or the cause of Venezuelan democracy.