By Andres Malave
If you are one of the millions of Americans quarantining because of the coronavirus pandemic, do yourself a favor and check out the second season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan.
It’s not as good as the first season but the ripped-from-the-headlines geopolitical drama is enough to keep you watching and get you thinking.
The series captures the real-life hell Venezuelans have been living under for more than two decades exceptionally well.
It is a hell I know well. My parents fled Venezuela when I was ten years old to escape the horrors of socialism and pursue dreams of freedom and opportunity in America.
Andres Malave was born in Venezuela and moved with his family to South Florida in 1994. He is a media strategist and political commentator and former spokesmen for Americans for Prosperity.
Andres Malave was born in Venezuela and moved with his family to South Florida in 1994. He is a media strategist and political commentator and former spokesmen for Americans for Prosperity.(Courtesy of Andres Malave)
Spoiler Alert: In the season finale, Ryan storms the Venezuelan presidential palace to save his friend as the show’s president, Nicolas Reyes, sends his military to close voting polls in a last-ditch effort to steal the election.
Outside the presidential palace, protesters rise up against Reyes as election authorities call the dictator’s self-declared victory a fraud. The new Venezuelan president is met at the front steps of her home by saluting military officials and joyful supporters cheering “Viva Venezuela!”
Venezuelans like my family have dreamed of such a happy Hollywood ending to our national nightmare for years.
As much as part of me wishes the Navy SEALs would storm the Miraflores Palace in Caracas and drag Nicolás Maduro out by his smelly Chavista whiskers, I recognize we live in the real world.
Venezuela will be better served by an open and transparent legal process that brings the Maduro regime to real-world justice.
Enter President Trump who is keeping his promise to support community, bringing another wave of hope to millions of Venezuelans when his Justice Department on March 26 announced historic charges against Nicolas Maduro and his accomplices, including the minister of defense and chief supreme court justice.
In announcing the charges, Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, noted the regime’s rampant corruption and support for narco-terrorism had been “propped up by a sham judiciary and a corrupt military.”
Maduro and his co-conspirators flooded American communities with illicit drugs and made the Venezuelan people suffer with food shortages, power outages and one of the worst health care systems in South America. They did all this while living lavishly in waterside mansions and aboard luxury yachts.
As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, Venezuela is, in the words of one public health official, the “worst-case scenario” for spreading the disease.
One of the top U.S. State Department officials for Venezuela, Carrie Filipetti, has said the country is lacking soap, water, and electricity.
Even worse, Venezuela has only 84 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospital beds, and 90% of its hospitals don’t have protocols for respiratory virus care.
The situation is so dire that neighboring Colombia and Brazil, have closed their borders with the country, citing Maduro’s inability to control the spread of the virus.
These deadly conditions are the direct result of the socialist policies enacted by the so-called Chavez-Maduro revolution. It is a crime against humanity and it is a crime still in progress.
This is why the indictments against the regime have brought another wave of hope at a time where hope is scarce supply in the country of my birth.
The action provides hope that the end is near for the Maduro regime.
It sends a clear warning to members of the military propping up Maduro that they could be next if they do not abandon their misguided allegiance to Maduro.
Juan Guaidó has been recognized by over 50 countries as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. He must be allowed to assume power and form a new government free of Chavistas and Maduristas.
It’s time for the international community to stand together against the socialist regime and these indictments provide an opportunity and a $15 million incentive to bring Maduro to justice.
The fact that President Trump continues to live up to his promise to stand with the people of Venezuela even as the coronavirus commands so much of his attention has earned him the gratitude of millions of Venezuelans, including the hundreds of thousands of us now living in the U.S.
This op-ed first posted exclusively in the Sun-Sentinel, but Mr. Malave was kind enough to reach out to The Floridian to express his strong feelings about the ongoing situation in Venezuela as it pertains to the Russian oil grab that is taking place under the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Malave believes that “It’s critical for the US to maintain a strong position in the region,” and that Maduro’s inevitable toppling will create an opportunity for energy exploration that can’t be ceded to Russian and Chinese interests.”
Andres Malave was born in Venezuela and moved with his family to South Florida in 1994. He is a media strategist and political commentator, and former spokesman for Americans for Prosperity.