Venezuela is in crisis. Although the Trump administration has given a big boost to opposition leader Juan Guaido, despot and dictator Nicolas Maduro still remains in power. It had become one of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s chief initiatives. Progress had been made and it is the hope of all that President Trump will continue his strong backing of Juan Guaido. It is in the interests of the free world to make sure we get to the finish line on this vital mission.

There have been some positive developments, such as Citgo oil and gas having been taken over by friendly forces aligned with Juan Guaido. For the most part, Maduro has viciously attacked the opposition. He controls the military. Anyone outspoken, including Vice President Edgar Zambrano, is immediately jailed. Sanctions by the United States, I am told by reliable sources, are working. These sanctions have hurt Maduro the most just as sanctions have been hurting Venezuela’s chief sponsor, Iran. If Iran is removed from the equation, then Maduro falls. Unfortunately, until the Mullahs in Iran are toppled, Venezuela will remain one of Iran’s prime proxies.

When I worked on preventing an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack on America, one of our main fears was that missiles sent from Iran to Venezuela would be launched from there to produce an EMP strike against America. This is still the case although the Trump administration has successfully hardened America’s electrical grid so that this is less likely.

Iran has sent money and weapons to Maduro to prop him up. Notwithstanding the Iranian funding, I am told that Maduro has stolen $380 billion from the Venezuelan people.

There used to be 25,000 Jews in Venezuela. There are perhaps about 5,000 left.

Although the main base outside of Lebanon and Syria of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah is along the “triple frontier” border of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, Hezbollah has a significant presence in Venezuela. Venezuela acts as a conduit for Hezbollah to other parts of South America. Hezbollah has been helping Maduro’s military.

Iran is the chief sponsor of terrorism in the world today and its actions in Venezuela speak volumes.

Venezuela is salvageable. America can win this one. Sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are working. I am sure John Bolton will now work from the sidelines on this and other matters vital to America’s and the world’s interests. I have faith in President Trump and his administration that they will set Venezuela free.

Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.