Thursday, July 02, 2015

Bob Corker and Venezuela

Republican Senator Bob Corker, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is in Venezuela. It's unusual for such a visit to please everyone, yet at least for now it is. It is being labeled by the U.S. media as an effort to smooth relations while the far right labels it an effort to pressure the Venezuelan government. María Corina Machado had the same impression. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government itself says that in a meeting Corker recognized the advances the Maduro government is making.

Corker himself has made no statement, which is not surprising. Why say anything when every player thinks you're on their side?

The balancing act with regard to Venezuela isn't new. Last year Corker blocked the Venezuela sanctions for months, which made people like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen angry. He eventually released it, citing Venezuela's refusal to extradite Hugo Carvajal, who is wanted on drug charges in the U.S. Even while doing that, though, he emphasized the need for regional dialogue.

I'm not really sure why Corker is interested in Venezuela, though it may simply have to do with concern over oil access. Yet while he's a hawk on Iraq, for example, he is much more restrained than other Republicans on Venezuela.


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