Venezuela’s bad relationship with the United States just got worse

CNBC-01Venezuela and the United States haven’t had the best relationship recently. This week, it got worse.

The Treasury Department blacklisted Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami on Monday, saying he oversaw or “partially owned” narcotics shipments of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) from Venezuela, some of which ended up in Mexico and the U.S.

“On the one hand, it’s a drop in the ocean, because it won’t change what’s happening on the ground,” said Dany Bahar, fellow at Brookings. “On the other hand, it would represent a shift to a more realistic approach toward what’s happening in Venezuela.”

“By sanctioning the vice president, the U.S. government is acknowledging that the Venezuelan government has drug dealers at the highest ranks of government,” he said. …

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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 elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. 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, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

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 American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.