Forced to rely on contaminated water, failing health care and crumbling infrastructure, Venezuelans struggle day in and day out to live, let alone maintain the most basic health and safety standards. Supported by Russia, China and Cuba, socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and his cronies continue to rule the country by fear, surveilling the population for signs of dissent and deploying criminal gangs to keep their grip on power. No human should be subject to such awful conditions — we can only hope this leftist reign of terror will end soon.
And this is exactly the scenario President Donald Trump is planning for as he determines policy for the embattled South American country. Key to this planning is the ability of American organizations, including the private sector, to invest and assist in the rebuilding of Venezuela once Maduro is gone. To that end, on Oct. 21 the Treasury Department renewed the waiver allowing American energy companies to continue operations in Venezuela. This is another powerful and wise move on behalf of Trump and his administration.
While the president has enforced strategic trade sanctions to oust Maduro, this latest waiver ensures that vital energy infrastructure remains functioning and in place to assist the Venezuelan people on their road to recovery. When the will of the people is recognized and Maduro finally falls out of power, time will be of the essence to rebuild the country. American industry will be better positioned than any other to provide assistance.
This is because our institutions, unlike those of Russia, China and Cuba, believe in partnerships with their host governments — and in rights inherent to a free, democratic system.
America is the world’s leading voice for democracy and our companies working abroad recognize the weight of this responsibility. U.S. companies invest heavily in the countries they work with, building and maintaining lasting infrastructure and fostering meaningful relationships with employees and leaders alike. In contrast, countries such as China and Russia are eager to exploit host countries and maximize their own benefits by whatever means necessary.
The president’s shrewd understanding of these stakes in our hemisphere is evident. With this month’s waiver, we maintain a century-old energy alliance and disrupt both Russia and China, who plan to stake their claims in Venezuela. By keeping our energy companies in Venezuela, we not only ensure the best possible scenario for the day Maduro is gone, but we deny the parasites of the world the ability to exploit Venezuela and its resources for their own enrichment.
We have a responsibility to protect those in our hemisphere from predatory forces looking to capitalize on social unrest and economic despair. If we abandon the wonderful people of Venezuela now, we invite instability and malicious political sway from Russia and China. We cannot put a makeshift Band-Aid on a deep-rooted problem while throwing our long-standing energy alliance with Venezuela to the wayside.
Forcing our energy companies out of the country would hurt the innocent people of Venezuela far more than it would hurt this evil regime. By choosing to extend this waiver, Trump has once again displayed not only his foreign policy acumen, but his commitment to safeguarding the basic rights of people around the world.
Maduro has made it clear that if American energy companies were to leave Venezuela, he would promptly seize their assets and place them in the hands of our opponents who are willing to pay him what he needs to stay in power. We can’t allow Russia, or China, or even Cuba, to gain control of Venezuela and its economy, which is currently being bankrolled through illegal gold mining and drug operations with the help of paramilitary groups.
During a panel on Chinese influence in Venezuela, a U.S. State Department official offered the urgent reminder that “we need to consistently be aware of the day after scenario.” When Maduro’s reign finally comes to an end, Venezuela will face a tough uphill battle to restore economic prosperity and crucial infrastructure. America cannot leave the country to endure that struggle alone — or worse, with our adversaries.
Kimberly Guilfoyle is a political and media strategist. She was a co-host of the “The Five” and an anchor for 12 years at Fox News. She went on to serve as the vice chairwoman of America First Action before joining President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign as a senior adviser.
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