How to help Venezuelans oust Maduro

The collapse of Venezuela’s electrical grid this month triggered a struggle for power — literally, electricity — by narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro and sent 30 million people scrambling for food and water.

The blackouts underscored the gravity of Venezuela’s ­human­itarian crisis and the threat Maduro poses to ­regional stability, not to mention his own ­people. Which is why the United States needs a tougher game plan for ousting him.

Since January, President Trump’s national security team has helped rally Western support for Juan Guaidó, the legitimate interim president elected by the democratic National ­Assembly. The Treasury ­Depart­ment has sanctioned dozens of Maduro cronies and cut off American payments for Venezuelan oil. The March 8 indictment of Tareck El Aissami, a key Maduro henchman with ties to Hezbollah, bolstered Trump’s get-tough strategy.

Even so, Maduro hasn’t budged. Cuba, Russia and China have helped him hold on. And military commanders have rebuffed Guaidó’s order that they oust Maduro in exchange for amnesty. This stalemate could drag on for months, with critical infrastructure on life support.

Venezuelans rely on the hydroelectric turbines at the remote Guri Dam for about 80 percent of their electricity. The rest comes from thermal power plants around major cities.
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