Jefferson Morley | May 9, 2019
Trump Unhappy With Bolton As Maduro Cracks Down in Venezuela
President Trump has reportedly told aides he’s unhappy with National Security Adviser John Bolton in the wake of last week’s failed opposition uprising in Venezuela. According to the Washington Post.
Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment that he has made in jest in the past but that now betrays his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.
Trump has complained that Bolton and others underestimated Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, according to three unnamed senior administration officials. The president has said that Maduro is a “tough cookie” and that aides should not have led him to believe that the Venezuelan leader could be ousted last week, when Guaidó led ineffectual street protests.
The differences between Trump and Bolton were evident last week, when Bolton complained about Russian “interference” in Venezuela, while Trump recounted a conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin about the need for a peaceful solution to the country’s ordeal.
With U.S. policy in disarray, the Maduro government is cracking down, arresting Edgar Zambrano, the vice-president of the opposition-run national assembly and leading support of opposition leader Juan Guaido.
From The Guardian:
Zambrano was detained late Wednesday by agents from the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN). When approached by SEBIN agents, Zambrano refused to get out of his car. The agents then towed in his car to the notorious political prison El Helicoide.
Zambrano tweeted from the scene.
It was the first arrest of an opposition figure since the failed revolt.
More arrests may be coming. The Washington Postreports that the Maduro-dominated Supreme Court has charged 10 opposition officials, including Zambrano, with treason and other high crimes.
The pro-government legislature known as the Constituent Assembly has also lifted the immunity from prosecution granted to lawmakers for seven of the 10 opposition officials, also including Zambrano. Some of those officials who have had their immunity lifted have sought sanctuary in other embassies in Caracas. But Zambrano had refused to do so and continued to participate in National Assembly