© Reuters / Brendan McDermid / Marco Bello

US national security advisor John Bolton has been flooding Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino with messages asking him to “do the right thing,” playing the “Good Cop” to his own “Bad Cop.”

Bolton’s most recent “do the right thing” tweet implores Padrino and the army to “protect the Constitutional order from Maduro’s usurpation of democracy” – though US special envoy Elliott Abrams admitted earlier this month that Juan Guaido’s self-appointed presidency was technically in violation of Venezuela’s constitution, until he unilaterally opted to change it.

Gen. @vladimirpadrino: The FANB has a historic role & opportunity to protect the Venezuelan people from violence conducted by Maduro’s ‘colectivos’, to avoid further bowing to Cuba, & to protect the Constitutional order from Maduro’s usurpation of democracy. Do the right thing.

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 28, 2019

“Mr. Bolton, I tell you that we are doing the right thing,” Padrino responded in a televised address. “Doing the right thing is doing what’s written in the constitution. … Doing the right thing is respecting the will of the people.”

General @vladimirpadrino: Venezuela should be the wealthiest nation in the region. Maduro’s greed and corruption has led to pauperism. FANB’s role in Venezuela’s transition to democracy and prosperity is vital. Stand by the Venezuelan people and Constitution, not Maduro and Cuba.

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 29, 2019

Bolton has been tweeting at Padrino all week – and those are just the messages he’s sent publicly. The Venezuelan military’s refusal to throw its support behind Juan Guaido, the opposition leader turned self-appointed US-backed “interim president,” is clearly a thorn in his side.

“We call on the Venezuelan military to uphold its constitutional duty to protect the citizens of Venezuela,” Bolton tweeted in a statement in which he also “cautioned” “actors external to the Western Hemisphere” – i.e. Russia, mostly – to cease their “provocative actions” lest the US be forced to “defend and protect” its interests.

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Padrino does not look interested in Bolton’s love letters, however, denouncing Guaido as “a self-proclaimed outlaw.”

“We, the soldiers of the Motherland, do not accept the president imposed in the shadow of dark interests,” he said.

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