Washington Will Impose Greater Sanctions On Venezuela

ForbesWait for it: Washington will impose greater sanctions on the embattled government of Venezuela. President Trump has already announced more names to Treasury’s individual sanctions list, including Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. But more sanctions are right around the corner, especially if October elections look rigged.

In the war of words battle, Washington has been much more explosive of late.

On Aug. 14, vice president Mike Pence called Venezuela a “failed state” and that its downfall “threatened the security of the hemisphere and the people of the United States of America.” Pence was doing what all VEEPs do in this case, reiterate what the Commander-in-Chief said just days prior. On Aug. 12, Trump played his usual strongman hand and said, “by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option.” While this is highly unlikely unless Maduro’s military begins overtly cracking heads in the streets of Caracas, or the government breaks down completely and needed some for of foreign military support to maintain order, the foreign policy press were quick to point out the poison in the president’s words. U.S. military intervention into Latin America is toxic history. If Latin Americans had statues of American statesmen dotting their landscape, they’d probably call for them to be removed. Memories of CIA-backed coup d’etats are not conspiracy theories, and so threats of sending the Marines into Venezuela would drive a wedge between Washington and its allies in South America, as everyone has now pointed out. …

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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.