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News > Venezuela

Who Is John Bolton, Trump's Man Behind Plot Against Venezuela

  • Bolton was appointed U.S. national security advisor in March of this year.

    Bolton was appointed U.S. national security advisor in March of this year. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 December 2018

Bolton has been called a "bomb thrower" and "a strange little fucker" even by those who support his right-wing, United States-first views. 

In a press conference, Wednesday Maduro accused John Bolton, United States President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, of plotting to kill him. Bolton, a conservative, is a strong proponent of unilateral U.S. foreign policy and a notorious war hawk who has shown himself to be remarkably boorish and tactless for a diplomat.

Maduro Tells International Media Trump's Advisor John Bolton Plotting to Kill Him

"Mr. John Bolton has been assigned, once again, as the chief of a plot to fill Venezuela with violence and to seek a foreign military intervention," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a news conference Wednesday.

Maduro added that Bolton was coordinating the training of mercenaries in military bases in Colombia and the U.S. His comments came just days after Russian bombers landed in Venezuela to carry out joint military exercises.

Bolton worked under Ronald Reagan and was the former United Nations ambassador under George W. Bush, though he expressed contempt for the organization, as he famously said, “there is no U.N. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interests.”

Bolton has advocated for the U.S. to pull out of the Iranian Nuclear Deal, which the country did shortly after Bolton was appointed earlier this year. He has also referred to Palestine as a “so-called state,” saying that it does not meet the requirements for a legitimate nation.

His view of democratically elected, progressive governments in Latin America --  specifically Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, which he’s referred to as a "troika of tyranny" -- is very much in line with his unilateral, U.S. supremacy worldview.

“Under this administration,” he said, “we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this hemisphere. We will not reward firing squads, torturers, and murderers."

However, Bolton has praised Brazil’s far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who has also been an outspoken supporter of the Chilean dictatorship of Pinochet, saying his election was a "positive sign" for the region.

US: Bolton Praises Bolsonaro, Threatens Progressive Governments

In a speech at Miami Dade College's Freedom Tower, Bolton said that "the recent elections of like-minded leaders in key countries, including Ivan Duque in Colombia, and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil are positive signs for the future of the region, and demonstrate a growing regional commitment to free-market principles and open, transparent, and accountable governance."

The rise of the right-wing in Latin America has been imminent, as the U.S. government has increased its attacks on progressive leftist governments in the region.

The Trump administration has levied several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela since 2017.

Trump said last year that "the military option" was on the table with regards to Venezuela, fueling Maduro's contention that Washington seeks to overthrow his leftist government, which U.S. officials deny.

Bolton is a longtime opponent of leftist governments in Latin America and he announced the most recent sanctions against Venezuela last month as part of a pledge to crack down on Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

Bolton said "this is not a time to back away. It’s a time to increase the pressure, not reduce it." Bolton also announced new sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba, including a ban on U.S. citizens that are trading with Venezuelan gold.

Though the U.S. considers Venezuela a dictatorship, Maduro’s accusations against Bolton come after democratic, municipal elections across the country, in which the governing United Socialist Party on Sunday won the majority of seats. The United States embassy in Caracas made several public statements through its Twitter account ahead of the elections that clearly showed its rejection of the elections and its support for the opposition and anti-democratic factions in the country who have refused to participate in more than six elections over the past 18 months. 

“Our message to the world is: it’s time to defend Venezuela!” Maduro said. “Venezuela will not be a victim of a neo-fascist aggression.”

“We will not retreat, we will not be brought to our knees, we will not give up. We will fight and we will guarantee Venezuela peace … whatever the price." 

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