EU likely to hit Venezuelan officials with sanctions -diplomats

Article originally appeared in ReutersBRUSSELS, Jan 17 (Reuters) – EU governments are set to agree sanctions on seven Venezuelans close to the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday, two EU diplomats said, in the bloc’s firmest response yet to the South American nation’s political crisis.

Those likely to be hit with travel bans and asset freezes include the head of the Bolivarian National Guard, the country’s interior minister, the national intelligence director and the president of the supreme court, the diplomats told Reuters. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.