Monday, March 09, 2015

Another day, another US sanction against Venezuelan apparatchicks

There was a small surprise of sorts today: an executive order from the White House removing visa to a few Venezuelan officials, with possible sanctions to follow of a strictly material nature. That is right, 7 Venezuelans folks who are accused justifiedly of human rights violations have had their travel visas to the US revoked. And they are under investigation for possible assets in the US that will be frozen. That is all, nothing much really, considering that today few chavistas should have significant assets in the US after the Carvajal affair.

Still, that was enough to make chavismo hyperventilate, reaching paroxysms such at Telesur which has totally forgotten what international media is supposed to be all about. I translate for you the tile of an article there: Threatening Venezuela, Obama declares war on the continent.

Just like that.

Of course, as usual, the regime reaction is anything but. But being to stop the shipments of oil to the US. Do not worry about searching for that, you will not find it but you will find plenty of hot air, envoys recalled and what not. When all is said Venezuela will never take any serious action against the only client left that pays in cash and in had currency. Revolutions do not last much on empty stomachs.

This being said why is suddenly Obama toughening up?

There is GOP pressure and that bone will do for the time being. But somehow that is not enough to explain it.

There is the blunder by Maduro of reducing US embassy staff. But the US should be delighted to reciprocate and send back Venezuelans home and close the consulates.

Or simply put the US has decided to assume its role in the continent, to demand that the other countries decide between the US and Venezuela. Enough of looking the other way. Even being quiet the US is being aggressed non stop by Venezuela (and friends elsewhere). Time to demand the cowardly establishment to do its job and at least silence the roquet.

Note: never mind that it sends a message to the Castros stalling the negotiations with the US and on the FARC. Also, did Colombia and Brazil knew about that before visiting Caracas last Friday?


  1. Boludo Tejano11:20 PM

    This being said why is suddenly Obama toughening up? There is GOP pressure and that bone will do for the time being. But somehow that is not enough to explain it.

    Not likely that Obama is responding to GOP pressure, given how he has been more conciliatory to Iran than to the GOP. When Obama said "Punish your enemies," he wasn't referring to ISIS. Al Queda, or the Taliban, but to his domestic political opponents.

    Re sending a message to Cuba- perhaps, as the Castro bros have responded to Obama's opening by demanding ransom money for the years of embargo [When Russia has written off nearly all of Cuba's debt from the Soviet sugar daddy days.]. IOW, the Castro bros want the US to become Cuba's sugar daddy to maintain the Castro bros in power now that Venezuela is bankrupt. But it would have been easier for Obama to simply have the Republican-controlled Congress turn down Raul's demand for ransom money.

    Denying visas to human rights violators- this has already been done. The only change as I see it is to label Venezuela a "threat." A potential failed state can be considered a threat to the safety of the region, so the wording may not be as strong as it initially appears.

    Nonetheless, this still comes as a surprise.

  2. Anonymous12:06 AM

    GOP pandering is not a reason. Obama has his legacy to worry about. The situation is such that we are finally seeing action on a different front. Don't pay too much attention to the boilerplate language. But the stage is set. If Maduro wants us to cut him off, we will oblige.

  3. Anonymous12:11 AM

    The point of no return has been crossed. What Obama did paves the way for weaning U.S. off Venezuelan petroleum. When the WH spokesman said they have "tools" he was not kidding. I hope that President Obama sees this through meaning oil cut-off and unsealing of narcotics indictments.

    1. sounds plausible


  4. Charly7:52 AM

    There are a couple of reasons "to make chavismo hyperventilate". First, even if the sanctioned ones do not have assets in the USA, any transaction involving dollars on the international scene is risky because the US Government has quite a long arm in this respect. Assets overseas, they likely have since this is just a vulgar kleptocracy.

    The second reason is that it is been assumed so far that sanctions would be imposed on the upper echelons of the regime. Not so, the fact that one of the selected few is a judge not even on the permanent payroll speaks volume and they heard the message very well: nobody is immune.

    Very nicely designed sanctions. Obama stirs the hornets' nest with little chance of getting stung back. He just got everyone attention, not only Maduro but the Castros, Evo, Rafael, Dilma, etc. etc. The reaction will tell if it is still their backyard or not. Personally I think it still is. So many of these countries have so much at stake commercially with the USA.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Obama is clearly exagerating, probably on purpose, to distract the public about REAL threats going on : Iran and ISIS.

    Now that oil is cheap, with US Fracking, Vzla means close to nothing to the USA. Certainly less than say Brazil, Chile or Chile, or even Mexico and Colombia.

    It’s just a political flare. That’s all. I love it, though, because now the circus is back in town.. and hopefully, this will further deteriorate the economic relations with the USA, thus aggravate the Venezuelan economic crisis.

    Unfortunately, that’s the only way to get rid of Chavismo: more escasez, more inflation, more inseguridad, menos real en la calle, so that people get finally pissed off and hit the streets. So Bravo, Obama. Hit us with a Cuban style, full-fledged freaking economic embargo, see if we finally wake up.

  7. Anonymous9:38 AM

    This is more like the carrot and the stick. These sanctions against a second row thugs are a reminder to the upper military echelons of what could happen to them if they don't help to get rid of this regime. Help us and we leave you in peace to enjoy your looting. Or else.

  8. Anonymous10:14 AM

    By declaring Venezuela a threat, Obama can abuse his executive powers in the same manner that Maduro abuses his. Without Venezuela being a "threat", Obama would need Congress to pass a law.

    Why bother with elected representatives and constitutional limitations. Its better to govern through enabling laws.
    The US can have its own caudillo!!
    Latin American governance comes to the US.
    Obama is just showing Congress he does not need them around anymore.
    Obama has finally realized the superior style of governance that Venezuela affords.
    Imitation is greatest form of flattery.

    1. Agreed
      His salutary tour through the Arab world in 2009 , presaged all of the coups in 2010 and 2011 .
      This is the beginning -- the beginning of the end

  9. This is the typical protocol , before something serious escalates .
    I imagine that any of Maduro's false threats of CIA interventions in order to "rally the Chavista troops" , will become more REAL than he ever imagined

  10. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Don't forget the recent defection to the US of Venezuelan bodyguards to high ranking Venezuelan officials. Those that quietly stand by while the business of corruption and drug trafficking is conducted have much to tell about what they know and who they know it about. Maybe that was the catalyst that triggered this because now the US has the evidence they were seeking about the depth of the corruption and the drug trafficking of the Cartel of the Sun and Cabello.

  11. Anonymous3:43 PM

    @10:14 Obama's E.O. implements the law passed by Congress in Dec. 14...this law directs the President to impose sanctions against any person responsible for directing violence or human rights abuses against persons associated with the Feb. 2014 protests in Venezuela.
    Don't let the facts get in your way!

    1. Anonymous4:23 PM

      "Don't let the facts get in your way!"

      You were saying?

    2. Anonymous12:43 PM

      My point is that not that the President used his executive authority to impose sanctions but that he did not do so unilaterally as 10:14 suggested - he was directed to do so by Congress.10:14 is asserting that the President acted on his own without consulting Congress - the opposite is true.


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