Monday, July 16, 2018

How Trump Helps Russia in Latin America

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted to ask Donald Trump to push Vladimir Putin about his support for the Venezuelan government, though for some reason he did not actually tag Trump.

This is how weird U.S.-Latin American relations currently are. The only allies Russia has in Latin America are governments the Trump administration has identified as threats, specifically Cuba and Venezuela. Trump's vocal and constant positive portrayal of Russia is a huge boost to those governments because Putin feels no pressure to reduce his support.

Now we have the Colombian president pleading for Trump to do something. The funny thing here is that Santos is a rock solid U.S. ally but Trump has decided he is somewhat less than worthy. For his own reasons, Trump is desperate to remain on good terms with Putin so will likely ignore Santos entirely.

That's bad news for the Venezuelan opposition, which Trump claims to support. And what it boils down to is that Trump's need for Putin's approval places everything else in the backseat. This is just not how power relations have worked in the past.


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