Lanterns: Trump Can Restore the Monroe Doctrine and Save Thousands of Lives


Trump Can Restore the Monroe Doctrine and Save Thousands of Lives

In 2013, then-secretary of state Kerry said: “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over … That’s worth applauding. That’s not a bad thing.” Why is it not a bad thing? Perhaps because that administration had consistently handed the advantage to America’s enemies. A good example is Obama’s doing nothing about Iran’s alleged building of a missile site in Venezuela, reported in 2011. (See below.)

Abrogating the Monroe Doctrine clearly endorses building such a site, or anything else Iran chooses to do in the Western Hemisphere. The sanctions held the project back, while Kerry was working on the Iran deal; now that it’s finished, it allows Iran to work with ballistic missiles, so this site and others can now be completed.

Meanwhile, Venezuelans face starvation and sickness following the total economic collapse of the country’s Socialist system. Government-control of businesses and its complete failure to provide food and medical supplies to the people “has led to Venezuelans killing flamingos, anteaters, and even zoo animals for food in a desperate search for protein,” said Forbes, adding that “Food shortages have resulted in the average daily caloric intake dropping to well below 2,000 calories per day.”

Inmates at Auschwitz were given about 1400 calories a day worth of food. Forbes also reports:

“The healthcare system has collapsed, with patients dying of simple ailments through lack of facilities, medicines, and basic equipment...” This instability is a danger to neighboring nations as well. It’s difficult to see how we can simply observe this catastrophe unfold, as Obama did because he refused to interfere with a Socialist country.

An affront by Venezuela on a much smaller scale may offer a solution to this intolerable threat while helping the Venezuelan people. An American Mormon missionary, Joshua Holt, has been held in Venezuela without trial for a year along with his Venezuelan wife, on trumped-up charges. It's suspected the Socialist government, an ally of Iran seeks to humiliate the United States and/or may be angling for a huge ransom like the $400 million paid to Iran for “the release of four Americans detained in Tehran.”

Holt met his wife, Thamara Candelo, at an online religious website, then traveled to Venezuela and married her. The couple settled in at Candelo’s apartment, waiting for a visa to come to America with her two small children. In a bizarre twist, [a year ago] they were both arrested…when police said they found an assault rifle during a raid on the public housing complex in Caracas where [they were] staying,” said CBS News.

“Holt's mother-in-law, María Candelo—who was in the couple's apartment on the day of the raid— [told NPR] she saw police slip the weapons into Holt's luggage. She recalls a police agent shouting, ‘Look what we found!’" NPR further reported:

This type of legal persecution happens all the time in Venezuela, says Alfredo Romero, who directs Foro Penal, an organization of lawyers that defends political prisoners.


Facing waves of protests, the Maduro government arrested more than 5,000 people on what Romero calls trumped-up charges since Maduro's election in 2013. Most were eventually released. Romero believes Holt is being held to justify Maduro's claim that the United States is trying to overthrow his government.

This is a replay of the Otto Warmbier case, taking place in our hemisphere's version of North Korea: it's reported that Holt's being starved, tortured and denied court-ordered medical treatment. Also, like North Korea, the entire populace is being starved to death by its Socialist totalitarian government.

A second missile crisis?

The backstory is, Iran has established an ominous relationship with Venezuela that includes launching a project to build intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, reported by the Jerusalem Post six years ago. The peninsula is only 1200 miles from the U.S.—Washington DC is well within range. This dire project has been on hold during the Iran talks, but since their completion in July 2015, it can proceed. We must not allow this.

Fox News had reported in March 2015 that Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society said: “Iran allegedly helped build a UAV [drone] facility in Maracay, Venezuela,” adding that “I believe the Iranian UAV program is a cover for something that is more illicit." "Perhaps something that's sanctioned and most likely involves Iran's strategic programs, its—nuclear program and ballistic missiles."

Last August, the Hill reported that:

Veja Magazine exposed an official document dated Aug. 3, 2009, showing that then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had approved a $1.3-million investment for a joint venture between Venezuela's state defense contractor, CAVIM, and Iran's Parchin Chemical Industries.


The project involved the establishment and improvement of facilities for producing nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine, both key components of solid rocket fuel.


Since the notoriously one-sided Iran deal, "United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the deal, lifted the ban on Iran's ballistic-missile activity entirely…. The infrastructure Iran established in Latin America to advance its missile program during the sanctions era will now make it easier for Tehran to further its program."

So, we may soon be facing a second missile crisis, if something isn’t done. No sane nation would allow the missile threat, and no compassionate nation would allow thousands to perish on our very doorstep.

This dovetails with Venezuela’s kidnapping of the American, Joshua Holt.

What the president should do

  • Give the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro three days to release Joshua Holt and his wife, plus all other American prisoners.
  • If this is not done, President Trump should dispatch an overwhelming force to free all Americans being held and bring about regime change. Note: The country has only a tiny military.
  • This should be coupled with an airlift of food and medical supplies.
  • Work with anti-socialism leaders to purge the country of this ideology, which the people have surely had enough of, and establish a stable government.
  • The understanding must include an abrogation of any cooperation with Iran.
  • Democratic elections—not including a socialist candidate—could then be held.
  • Pre-operation secrecy would minimize bloodshed, including Mr. Holt’s. It should be remembered that a number of far-left members of Congress sympathize with the dictatorship.

Making this bold move would not only save thousands dying from starvation and lack of medical care, it would give us a friendly government to deal with in Venezuela and restore the Monroe Doctrine. A report on the UN’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine contemplates “use of military force by a state to rescue its own nationals on foreign territory.” [See §4.27.] R2P would also obligate us to help the populace once we are there. But it we should not allow the UN to solve problems in our hemisphere.

There is ample precedent for such action. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt announced his “Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine”:

Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may…ultimately require intervention …, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.

We would interfere with [other nations] only in the last resort, and then only if it became evident that their inability or unwillingness to do justice at home and abroad had violated the rights of the United States or had invited foreign aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American nations.

Since then, American presidents have responded to foreign threats in our hemisphere by invasion: JFK’s invasion of Cuba, Johnson’s of the Dominican Republic, Reagan’s of Grenada.

Unlike the dictator in Syria, Maduro presents a clear and present danger to America, while committing crimes against humanity in his own country.

Taking this action would send a message around the world, which could even reach the Korean peninsula.


Written by Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett, a NY-based writer, has written op-eds for the WSJ and a cancer medical journal; op-eds and travel pieces for the NY Post and a cover article for the Jewish Press. He has also appeared with his wife on Fox News, discussing Obamacare.

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