AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth spoke to Voice of America's Encounter podcast about the recent political developments in Venezuela. On Russian involvement in Venezuela, Farnsworth said, "This is something that not just the United States but also the Lima Group have condemned for being unhelpful for political transition in Venezuela and indeed for democracy in the Western Hemisphere."
Farnsworth also discussed the current humanitarian crisis in the country. "Venezuela is a country in full-scale collapse...This is a country that cannot provide for its own citizens." Farnsworth explained, "The rate of poverty today is higher than when Hugo Chávez first came to power at the end of the last century. You are starting to see the migratory patterns show that people leaving the country are increasingly less wealthy."
Regarding what he thinks the U.S. strategy for the restitution of democracy in Venezuela is, Farnsworth said, "[It] seems to be based on the anaconda snakes that you may find in Venezuela: they kill their prey by very slowly constricting. You continue to ramp up pressure through sanctions that put pressure on the regime to either change course and begin to restore democracy or in fact leave the scene altogether and allow a transition government to come into place and then call to elections."
Farnsworth also referred to the meeting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had in Washington with U.S. President Donald Trump. “It was a lovefest. The hope is in both governments that that personal relationship may begin to trickle down into the broader bilateral relationship institutionally."