Why is Joe Biden coddling Nicolas Maduro?

Nicolas Maduro Venezuela
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores. (Ariana Cubillos/AP)

Why is Joe Biden coddling Nicolas Maduro?

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Nicolas Maduro is not just your average poorly performing leftist president — he is a dictator and a tyrant who leads an illegitimate regime. To keep himself in power has been a violent struggle at times. As recently as 2017, Maduro’s regime was sending out armed gangs of red-shirted thugs to brutalize and even kill anti-regime protesters in the streets of cities and towns all across Venezuela.

The official position of the U.S. government is that Maduro stole an election in 2018 and is not the legitimate president of Venezuela. Previously, when his party lost control of Venezuela’s National Assembly, he responded by taking away all of its legislative powers and handing them to his political allies on the Supreme Court.

BIDEN’S SANCTION RELIEF EXPLAINED

You could even say that all of the American Left’s stupid fever dreams about what was supposedly going to happen during Donald Trump’s presidency actually did happen in Venezuela under Maduro. He systematically weakened and destroyed all the institutions of his country in order to obtain absolute power for himself. He cultivated personal loyalty among the top ranks of the nation’s military and effectively kept power that isn’t rightfully his, not through a riot by some kind of misguided rabble but through an actual coup d’etat.

And perhaps it is the least of his sins, but Maduro has, with the help of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, completely destroyed the economy of what was once South America’s most or second-most prosperous nation. Thanks to Maduro’s policies — and mind you, this was all about the socialist policies, not the economic sanctions that only followed later — Maduro systematically starved his citizenry and drove Venezuela’s once-thriving business sector into the ground. Today’s Venezuela is a hellhole filled with little besides scarcity and Venezuelans desperate to get out.

So why is President Joe Biden suddenly coddling this brutal election denialist and human rights violator?

Last weekend, Biden lifted the sanctions against Maduro’s regime, allowing Chevron to extract oil there once again. This is a lifeline for Venezuela, whose hapless state-owned oil company can produce a mere trickle compared to the nation’s full potential. Biden has also released $3 billion in frozen Venezuelan assets. The excuse is that the funds will be used for “humanitarian” purposes in a special U.N. fund, but nobody is fooled by that. The claim is that, in exchange for the sanctions relief, Maduro is agreeing to a fair election. Nobody believes that, either.

So why is Biden going soft on Maduro all of the sudden? The answer appears to be that the United States still has an election scheduled in 2024. Biden needs oil to start flowing again, but his administration is so slavishly owned by Luddite environmentalists that he would rather empower a brutal dictator than do his job and sell leases and issue permits that would allow America’s oil and gas exploration industry to flourish.

Biden is apparently even willing to overlook Maduro’s strong support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine — a courtesy he likewise wants to extend to Iran if only they’d let him.

Biden already took national policy to new heights of selfishness when he opened up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve just to save his own party’s political hide in November. But that was nothing compared to this. In giving aid and comfort to Maduro, Biden is actively joining forces with evil at this point. If Republicans in Congress want someplace to start, they should start looking at why this is happening and what they can do using the power of the purse to prevent it.

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