Arria Wants Florida Aware of Nearby Threat in Venezuela

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY OCT 17, 2019

As American politics debates how to handle border control and refugee crises, Diego Arria wonders why there isn’t more focus on Venezuela. A former ambassador for the country who became internationally known for criticizing the government of the late Hugo Chåvez, he said Floridians in particular should pay close heed to what’s happening in that nation today.

“When I see an administration so concerned about a border problem, this a much more serious border issue than Mexico and Central America,” Arria explains. “The border problem with Venezuela is narcos and terrorism. That’s not present on the other borders of the United States.”

Meanwhile, the coastal city of Caracas is less than 1,400 miles from Miami.

While Arria offers some criticism of U.S. priorities, he does stress than President Donald Trump has taken the Venezuelan crisis more seriously than predecessors. Trump this year led Western nations in refusing to work with Maduro and instead recognizing Venezuelan opposition president Juan Guerrero as interim president of the nation until new elections can be held.

“The only American president who has really taken the threat serious, imposing sanctions, is President Trump,” Arria said. 

He feels past presidents recognized Chavez as a buffoon, but not as a serious danger. But as the problems under Maduro worsen, the U.S. has taken notice.

Aria sees new efforts to undermine Colombia representing a further threat in the Western world, and he also sees efforts by Russia and China to develop greater influence by support of Venezuela. These are problems that could impact Americans in day-to-day life.

“We are not a theoretical danger,” Arria said of Venezuela. “We are a real threat to America, especially if you think of Florida being so close. We are closer to you than Kabul and Syria. We are your neighbors.” 

Arria will discuss the ongoing problems in Venezuela, now under control of Nicolås Maduro, at a lecture sponsored by the Sarasota World Affairs Council. The event will be held at the Mildred Sainer Auditor at New College on Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Those interested in the free event can RSVP to 941-487-4603 or info@sarasotawac.org.

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