“What the United States is banking on in Venezuela is that stress and strain will break the Venezuelan military. So far it has stood with the elected government in Venezuela and I think most likely members of the Venezuelan military understand that if the American coup succeeds, then the whole country will be back into poverty and will be plundered again as it has been in the past. So they have an incentive to stand with the elected government. Whatever Maduro’s failures, they are very small compared to what will happen to Venezuela once it is back in America’s clutches,” the former US assistant secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and current chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, told Tasnim.
He added, “…Maduro’s failure to arrest this man and all of his supporters and put them on trial will contribute to the military losing confidence in Maduro’s government.”
From early 1981 to January 1982, Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. After his time in government, he turned to journalism, holding positions of editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, the Scripps Howard News Service as well as contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. Roberts was a professor of business administration and professor of economics at George Mason University and was the inaugural William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University, serving for 12 years.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Recently, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Washington is working to build a coalition seeking to replace Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro and his government. The US has also threatened Venezuela with military action. What is your take on this?
Dr. Roberts: The United States government is unable to tolerate any country that has an independent policy. This is the reason the United States government tried to overthrow (Bashar) Assad in Syria and the reason it wants to overthrow the Iranian government. Those governments that do not follow Washington’s rule are unacceptable and so in the case of Venezuela and in many other examples, the situation is magnified by the fact that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world (and) that these oil reserves,