Times we laughed at the US State Department: “Now is the time to act in support of democracy”

"We’re going to continue to look at ways we can support Venezuela’s humanitarian needs"

Matt Lee, AP reporter and frequent State Department puncturer
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We’ve done a numbered series with this heading. To read earlier unintended humor from Foggy Bottom, simply enter “US State Department” in our search box at upper right.

Frankly, it has been hard to keep up. Another factor in not adding to the series in so long a time is that the State Department’s policies are so often woeful and tragic, leading to tears and sorrow instead. But often, it is just healthy to laugh.

This one is the contrast between the extensive, acknowledged, meddling and US efforts to undo Venezuela, leading up to the we-don’t-meddle in other countries’ affairs punch line. It’s another “you can’t make this up. Without further ado, the howler from Tuesday’s State Dep’t Briefing:

QUESTION: You have sanctioned – or the United States has sanctioned – the state oil company. Is there a concern that you are sort of running out of options to press the Maduro regime, and there’s not as much to hold over the Maduro regime’s head as far as potential future sanctions or measures the United States or world community would take to usher him out? And is there a concern that it’s reaching a static point or there’s a loss of momentum for the opposition or the Guaido presidency?

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MR PALLADINO: We’re optimistic. I think we’re up to – I think I’ve got the latest numbers – up to 54 countries have now recognized Juan Guaido as interim president. The humanitarian response global has been overwhelming. That’s something we’re going to continue to push. And we call – now is the time to act in support of democracy. We think momentum is good. We’re going to continue to look at ways that we can support Venezuela’s humanitarian needs on one side, and we’re going to continue to ask other nations to do the same. [Robert J. Palladino is Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State]

There has been positive news recently of some Venezuelan military and security service personnel standing on the right side of history and recognizing Juan Guaido as interim president. So we’re going to continue pushing. We’re going to continue pushing. And I’ll leave it there.

QUESTION: Following on the Secretary’s visit, is it – I mean, considering that the Israeli election is next month, a month from today, is it likely that he would go there before the election? Does that send some sort of a message?

MR PALLADINO: No message. Israel is an ally. We’re not going to get involved in the domestic politics of another country.

Please, Lalit.

QUESTION: So – no, no, no, let me just follow up on the embassy, please?

MR PALLADINO: We’ll go to Lalit. I’m going to jump.

QUESTION: No, I have – and the consulate.

QUESTION: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. You’re not going to get involved in the domestic politics of another country when that country is Israel. What about Venezuela, huh? Any —

MR PALLADINO: We’re supporting the Venezuelan people and their constitutional —

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