After Strengthening Regimes in Burma, Iran and Cuba -- Obama Eyes Venezuela

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The Bloomberg article below reports that Venezuela is the next "test of President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural pledge to 'extend a hand' to repressive and corrupt regimes if they are 'willing to unclench' their fists."

Except in the case of Burma, Iran and Cuba -- Obama "extended his hand," while those regimes remain with clenched fists.

In each case, the regimes have been strengthened, repression has intensified and democracy activists have been relegated.

Maduro must be thrilled.

Correction: Maduro's patrons in Havana are thrilled -- it's a two-fer.

From Bloomberg:

Obama Charm Drive Targets Venezuela After Iran, Cuba

The Obama administration’s charm offensive with unfriendly states has rolled through Myanmar, Iran and Cuba. Next stop: Venezuela.

Just months after the administration declared Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security, it’s working to improve relations, driven by concern that upheaval there could destabilize the region.

State Department officers have been meeting quietly with officials in the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro since April to develop what Secretary of State John Kerry has called “a normal relationship.”

The outreach is another test of President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural pledge to “extend a hand” to repressive and corrupt regimes if they are “willing to unclench” their fists.

Falling oil prices, plummeting foreign reserves, a 68.5 percent inflation rate and growing political tensions are battering Venezuela. There’s enough at stake that even a Justice Department probe into the alleged drug ties of the lead Venezuelan in the talks hasn’t derailed the diplomacy.