Hillary Clinton Optimistic About Peaceful Ouster of Maduro

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is optimistic that Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro will step down without further bloodshed. 

“I think we should all hope for a peaceful transition of power, and it looks more possible now than it has at any time in the past years,” Clinton told the Georgetown Institute of Politics Wednesday at a symposium on "The Future of Diplomacy.” 

Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, didn’t mention President Trump when discussing efforts to bring about Maduro’s departure. But she noted that Canada is playing a prominent role in the diplomatic process, hosting a recent meeting of regional power players and the U.S., the U.K., and the EU, and she expressed support for the kind of “peaceful resolution” to the crisis that the Trump administration seeks. 

“I hope that Maduro and his close associates will seek exile,” Clinton said. “I hope that there will not be the need for any kind of military intervention by anybody, whomever they might be supporting, and it will take some delicate diplomacy to work that through.” 

Trump recognized opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela on Jan. 23, a decision since duplicated by more than three dozen regional and global U.S. allies. The Trump administration has offered to help Maduro craft an “exit strategy” in exchange for a peaceful departure without any attempt to squash the opposition through force. It has stressed it would not provide amnesty to anyone who commits violence against opposition leaders. 

“I'm not sure Maduro's safety in Venezuela can be guaranteed by anyone,” a senior administration official said last week. “Maduro finds the need to have his security be composed of non-Venezuelans, namely Cubans and Russians, therefore I don't think Maduro feels safe among Venezuelans.” 

Clinton, while expressing hope for a happy ending to the “slow-motion crisis” that has been brewing under the Maduro regime, faulted Trump for taking too friendly a posture toward other autocratic rulers. 

“We have an administration that has demonstrated an affinity toward dictators because they can get things done, which shouldn't be a position that an American president or an administration takes,” she said.

Max Magid