Reports have emerged that President Donald Trump disagreed with former National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton over Venezuela, and went as far as saying that Bolton had ‘crossed a line’. Trump is also thought to be angered that Bolton sabotaged peace efforts with North Korea. Bolton was fired Tuesday, with the circumstances surrounding the firing still unclear.
Two news agencies, Reuters and EFE have brought to light reports about Trump’s position on John Bolton’s approach towards Venezuela and North Korea, both areas where Bolton was a driving force advocating for more aggressive, interventionist policies.
“I disagreed with John Bolton in his attitude towards Venezuela. I think he really crosse a line” said Trump. Though, Trump refused to answer whether or not he would meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, now that Bolton is gone.
Trump also believes that his efforts to pursue dialogue with the North Korean government were ‘damaged’ by Bolton’s adversarial declarations against Pyongyang.
John Bolton is known as a ‘war hawk’ and chief proponent of increased interventionism in countries such as Venezuela, Iran and North Korea. He has also presided over a more combative attitude towards Latin America. It was Bolton who labeled the leftist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as part of a ‘troika of tyranny’ as a justification for imposing and tightening economic sanctions.
The Trump administration has significantly ramped aggression against Venezuela during Bolton’s stint as NSA. It was during Bolton’s period that the U.S. imposed a total blockade on the country, and declared that it would cut diplomatic ties with the elected government of Venezuela, and instead recognize illegally self-declared lawmaker Juan Guaido as “acting president”.
A consequence of this decision, was that the U.S. seized Venezuelan government assets in the United States, most important of which was CITGO, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s PDVSA state oil company, this seizure meant that the Venezuelan taxpayer lost billions in public assets that could have been used for investments and paying for imports of food and medicine.
In response to Tuesday’s news that John Bolton had been let go, Iran called for Bolton’s replacement to be a less hawkish figure, President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that “America should understand that … it should distance itself from warmongers.”