Venezuela Leader Makes His Debut on the Economic Sanctions Mound

I must have missed the memo, but this month has to be national sanctions month. It is that time of the year where we all get together and celebrate how badly our enemies are behaving and punish them for their rebellion against the United States government. This week marked sanctions against Russia, sanctions against Iran, and of course, sanctions against everyone’s favorite lunatic in North Korea. However, what was new about this year’s festivities was a new country being added to the roster. Nicholas Maduro, the rookie pitcher hailing all the way from Venezuela, has a mean changeup at his disposal. He apparently has the power to turn a wonderful, thriving democracy into a dictatorship overnight. Well folks, let us not underestimate this prospect. He deserves to be added to the Sanctions Hall of Fame along with other notable figures such as Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin. I wonder if the federal government will coerce Otsego County, New York into opening a facility to honor the great sanctioning of international adversaries of the United States.

The United States government made statements suggesting that Maduro is now a dictator and that he is crushing the will of the people. What about Saudi Arabia? Does that government not suppress dissenters or implement harsh policies against the people? What about the will of the people in Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk? The majority of the people in those regions decided that they no longer wanted to remain as part of Ukraine. Oh yeah, I forgot. The will of the people only applies when the United States government agrees with the movement, or the movement furthers the American agenda.

I am not advocating for Maduro’s consolidation of power, nor his socialist regime. In fact, I am personally opposed to socialism or any other government expansion of power, whether it is domestically or against foreign nations (governments are corrupt and should not be given more power than what is necessary), but what is interesting is the principle that the United States gets to choose the form of government for the people living overseas. If a government is not a perfect democracy like the United States (apparently Congress, the president, and the American bureaucracy believes that it follows the will of the people and that members of the same are not more interested in personal pursuits than serving the best interests of their constituents) and not an ally, it must be removed or punished in some manner.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made it clear that anyone who does business with Maduro’s government or participates in the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), the newly formed body established by Maduro to circumvent the constitution and replace the opposition-led legislature with a more friendly one, could be subject to penalties. This arrogant position will only lead to further involvement by the United States into the civil crisis. Since, like I have argued many times, the United States only uses authoritarianism as an excuse when it is convenient (Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian regime, but it is a key ally and a compliant nation in the world order), we should be concerned about why we have to be involved in a conflict in South America. Much of the continent (or subcontinent if the Americas are classified as one land mass) is already hostile towards the United States due to the manipulation and covert operations in the region undertaken by American presidents and policymakers. Perhaps the United States’ position on this issue has to do with oil or control, but one thing is certain. Economic sanctions will not change the attitude of the ruling class. Further sanctions will only exasperate the situation in Venezuela (brought on by socialism) and push the already-starving people deeper into poverty.

Although the current sanctions against Venezuela are mild, they will likely not remain as such. In my book, The Global Bully, I talk about how the United States may have performed covert operations in Venezuela in the 2000’s. If you are interested in covert operations that the United States has been involved in to coerce other countries or how economic sanctions really just end up harming innocent people, please check out the book. Thanks for reading!
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Published on August 03, 2017 16:44
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