×

Toppling dictators best left to others

Activities such as that which last week embroiled this county and Venezuela in another controversy are nothing new in American history. Though the word “filibustering” is normally confined to politics these days, it had another use during part of the 19th century.

Then, it referred to Americans who mounted their own private military expeditions to topple governments in Central and South America. They failed. Participants often paid for their lack of judgment with their lives, sometimes in front of firing squads. Seldom did our government intervene in attempts to rescue them.

Last week, the regime of Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro revealed it has prevented an attempted military coup. Part of the goal of those involved was to kidnap Maduro.

At least two Americans, both armed forces veterans, were captured by Maduro’s forces. They are linked to a private security firm in Florida.

President Donald Trump and other U.S. leaders say they had no knowledge of the plan and no involvement in it.

Maduro’s regime is kept in power through violence and the threat of it. They have wrecked the once-prosperous Venezuelan economy. The people of their country enjoy virtually no significant liberties.

Maduro should be deposed, for the good of the people he represses. And it is they who, somehow, must accomplish that.

Humanitarianism dictates that our government help Americans in trouble abroad. But the extent of that aid as been, and must be, linked to the level of their guilt in wrongdoing. We do not rescue those caught red-handed in large-scale drug deals, afer all.

So it must be with the Americans who attempted to engage in 19th-century filibustering in Venezuela. There must be a limit to how far U.S. officials go in attempting to help them.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)